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Was I just a Tourist - Part V
BookMark - Not Forsaken: Finding Freedom as Sons & Daughters (BOOK REVIEW)
Renegotiating Faith The Delay in Young Adult Identity Formation and What It Means for the Church in Canada
Canadian Theaters Cancel ‘Unplanned’ Movie Showings After ‘Personal Threats’ Against Employees and Their Families
It’s A Wrap – The 2018 Alpha Program Review
Find Your Tribe
News Briefs from The Canadian Christian News Service
The Pastor's Mother and the Usher (HUMOUR)

By Tree Galbraith

In 6 editions of Christian Life in London, we are presenting a remarkable true story about the journey by Tree Galbraith and ten others to Uganda as part of the with "Just Cause Education Outreach". (Tree is short for Teresa - but if you called out to her: "Teresa", she is unlikely to respond as she has not gone by Teresa for a very long time.)

In the first four segments Tree described the eye opening experiences as she visited villages, schools, orphanages and hospitals deep in the jungle - away from the hustle and bustle of the cities.

If you missed the first three segments click here: PART1 PART2 PART3 PART4

Part V

Sunday, Aug 11 was one of the highlight days of our trip. Our new church had Bishop Mattias celebrating his first mass and two weddings. It was a marathon mass - 4 ½ hours! As is the Ugandan way, Bishop Mattias was late as thousands of people waited for him. We were honoured to be among the processional along with the priests, wedding parties and local dignitaries. The entrance into the church was brimming with parishioners and guests and full of energy and song. The choir and drums were in full blast. The church looked so amazing with the plastering almost finished. Hundreds of villagers celebrated outside the church and under canopies.

It was interesting watching the brides (who looked so sad) and their wedding ceremony. Bishop Mattias spoke about Christ's love for his people, family life and love and the need for education and schools. He also posed the question: Are you just a tourist?

After the marathon mass, Just Cause had arranged for a huge feast. All the traditional food was featured. I wandered out back of the church to be among the children and villagers. They were given food as well. I was also able to give Bishop Mattias the poster that said: "I AM DETERMINED TO LEAVE A POSITIVE MARK IN GODS WORLD". He was quite interested that we had run a fundraiser at our school supporting the Uganda trip. During the festivities we gave the parishioners their family photos and frames. They were delighted. We were also mobbed by children while trying to give out the stickers and frames. It was a lesson well learned! After the long day we returned to the main church to unwind. We received the Eucharist from Fr. Dennis and I was honored to give communion to one of the group members who was in a meeting. I will always remember giving communion to Michelle and the unity of our Lord's meal around the world.

The next week went by very quickly. Each and every day was filled with new adventures and memories. We returned to Roses Baby Clinic to help clean and disinfect the tiny clinic. We arrived to see a 2-hour-old baby and mother. We also found out that Baby Florence, whose mom had died giving birth, was surviving and had no diarrhea thanks in part to the baby formula we had brought. I will always remember that I almost didn't pack the formula because I was so overweight in my luggage - again God had a plan. Rose helped us clean and disinfect and she had a few simple requests for baby soap, a squeeze mop and a wheelchair. I will try my best to get her these supplies!

We had an incredible visit to another baby orphanage where we fed and bathed the babies. It was a joyous time for all. We were also able to give the volunteers and staff a well-deserved rest.

Unfortunately, with this joy came some terror. I was exposed to the brutal reality of witchcraft. One of the volunteers was telling us about witchcraft, witch doctors, spirits, child mutilation and ritual child sacrifice. I also had the opportunity to speak to a 13-year-old American girl, Molly and her Grandma Janet who have volunteered at the orphanage for 3 weeks every summer. Her parents have adopted a child and are in the process of adopting the second child who had been mutilated. It was a very heartwarming and heart wrenching talk. Thankfully, I was able to talk to our Just Cause friend Alex about this the next day.

The next day we were back to the Sunshine Orphanage to restore, reinforce and paint a playground purchased by Just Cause. It was a team-building day - both Canadian and Ugandans working together for the good of the kids! We all ended up with paint all over us. While the paint was drying we brought out pencils, crayons and markers and decorative picture frame pages donated by Scholars Choice. The children loved creating treasures and we were able to bring some of them home with us.

Our next day was filled with the experiences of making paper beads with Rose. Grandma Rose (a retired teacher) shared her story of making beads to support her grandchildren's education. She had us make 10 beads (which I personally found very challenging) in order to show the time and skill involved in making the beautiful bead necklaces and bracelets before we were allowed to purchase. Luckily, my buddy Paul made most of my beads! Being a Grandma myself, I knew that my personal gifts would be purchased at Grandma Rose's House. I bought 268,000 shillings worth of necklaces. Each and every bead is a treasured memory. Just Cause brings thousands of these beads back to Canada to support Rose and sell for their projects.

From Rose's we went into the town of Jinga to wander and shop. I was so excited when I saw a hand painted picture that said HOPE. I bought the painting for myself, as well as one for RMC in appreciation for all the Hope they had given to me and the Ugandan People.

We found a great little restaurant called Ozzies where we took a chance and bought a cheeseburger, fries and a milkshake. It was so good that we ate there two days in a row! It felt like home to eat something Canadian. We did however have to use the latrine outback which in no way represented Canadian Health Standards. The one and only flush toilet restaurant in Jinga, called Flavors, is still ranked #1 for their toilet alone!

From downtown we were scheduled to visit Dr. Ambrose at the Jinga Hospital. We were also informed that our Just Cause friend Alex had malaria. I was shocked and terrified and I sent him a text message with prayers and get-well greetings. The hospital was a very grim place and I could not stay any longer than to help distribute the knitted dolls and teddy bears that a St. George Catholic Church Parishioner had so lovingly made. I was comforted by Sean, our young member of the group. He reassured me that Alex would be ok and gave me a shoulder hug just like my own sons do.

We spoke with a visiting medical student who was on assignment from Holland. She told us of the harsh circumstances, poverty and inadequacies faced by the hospital, but we were able to see a glimmer of Hope in the Eye Outreach Clinic. In the past year, a new wing of the hospital had opened up with a Vision Outreach Clinic. The Outreach doctor and staff were very thankful for the many, many donations of eyeglasses and especially the boxes of prescription eyewear from Cummins Optical.