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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Special guests from Kenya

Yesterday we had the pleasure of meeting with our long-time friends from Kenya, Sr. Anne, Sr. Gretchen and Father Francis. They traveled from Nangina, Kenya to greet us and to receive items for the girls of St. Catherine's Primary School. In Dallas, we collected backpacks, underwear and shoes for the students of St. Catherine's, many of who are orphaned. Sr. Anne was very happy to receive the items on behalf of her students and she thanked all of Ursuline Dallas for our continued support of St. Catherine's school. Father Francis was also extremely grateful to receive and Ursuline laptop and he reminded us that his dream is to visit us in the USA. We hope that day will come soon!

The YES center community

Upon our return from the safari, we made our way to the YES (Youth Encounter the Savior) center to see Father Joe and to reunite with many old and new friends. We were touched that so many people came to see us despite how late we were in arriving (we were scheduled to arrive for Mass at 9am, however, because we were stuck at the safari lodge, we did not arrive until 2 pm). Among the attendees were our old friends from Empower African Children, the Sisters from Nsambya Babies Home, students from St. Peter's school, the Yes center staff & choir and several of the family members whose homes we visited earlier in the week. This festive gathering included time for prayer, singing, dancing and lots of laughs and conversation. It also gave us the opportunity to distribute several of the refurbished computers that we brought to donate to college students and those with new businesses. The recipients were thrilled with the computers and they are excited to use them for their studies and work. While we were happy to give these gifts the best gifts, of course, were the ones we received - the gifts of friendship, of time and of hospitality.

As you may have heard, Pope Francis will be visiting Uganda at the end of November. We are honored to know so many of those who are working on all of the details of his visit, including our very own Father Joes (the Tall and the Short). The extraordinarily gifted choir of the YES center will be singing for the Pope and Father Joe (the Tall) will be the MC for two important meetings with Pope Francis, including his meeting with the youth. We think that Pope Francis will be touched, as we have been, by the talent and warmth of this faith-filled community. Here are a couple of videos which will give you a little glimpse into what Pope Francis will experience:


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Safari at Murchison Falls National Park

Greetings to all back home in Texas! We have returned safely from our safari. When the ferry that we were scheduled to take across the Nile broke down last night, we were forced to spend an extra night away and had to make many changes to our schedule. As a result, we all learned a lot about patience and lack of control when it comes to international travel. Still, despite the inconveniences and unexpected challenges, we had a fantastic experience on safari! We took a game drive in the evening and took a boat safari along the Nile in the morning. It was an awesome and beautiful experience to see the animals free and in their natural habitat. We looked and looked for a lion but we were unsuccessful. Nevertheless, the baboons who live all along the road leading to the lodge provided a great deal of entertainment as we arrived and as we departed. The safari was a grand experience and it gave us more insight into the spectacular beauty and uniqueness of Africa.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Volunteering at the Babies' Home

Today in Uganda, our students volunteered at a Catholic Babies' Home for abandoned and orphaned children. The girls helped by folding and hanging laundry, cleaning the playground, washing windows, bathing the infants and, of course, playing with the babies. They had the time of their lives, as you can see, but all were exhausted by the afternoon! As always, Father Joe came over to check on us and our work and he and Father Joe "the short" surprised us later in the day by joining us for dinner. Another spectacular day!

Note to all - We will be going on safari for a couple of days so we may not post for a little while. We will be back in touch soon, no worries!