What I am able to do in a developing country like Uganda is nothing short of miraculous compared to just 10-15 years ago. In terms of the political climate, Uganda is relatively safe. I can move around many parts of the country freely without any real restriction. Just over 30 years ago murder and civil war affected much of the country. Especially in areas very close to where our schools are now located.
There had been some concerns about my traveling to Uganda while they are still under lockdown orders, but this actually didn’t really impact my trip. I did, however experience some political unrest while we were there. The government has seized and in prisoned the opposing political parties presidential candidate and riots broke out throughout the country. This happened the day we traveled to Jinja … below is a photo of passing through one of the towns where the riots were taking place. After a few days things calmed down and the riots ceased, though over 20+ had been killed in Kampala because of police response to the riots. This, however has been the first encounter I’ve experienced during my travels to Uganda. Despite a government that can be restrictive to the movements of its people, especially while their lockdown is still happening, it has remained open and welcoming to outside visitors and support for NGOs. This is one of the reasons we’ve been able to so support our schools from afar.
Where we stay in the country has become so convenient and more accessible now than ever. When we stay out in the village Pastor Steve has a wonderful house where we stay. I have my own bedroom (below), running water, electricity (for lights), etc. I even have a large battery (below, right) I purchased to be able to charge my equipment during my visit. The first mission teams that came back in 2008 didn’t enjoy such accommodations.
During our visit we stayed at a rental house on the Nile river. It had wonderful amenities including WIFI and an office area. Below is a picture of my office setup while we were there.
In terms of technology, I have the ability to pack just a few bags with all the cameras to document this beautiful land. What I am able to document with my gear would have taken a whole film crew to capture. I know because my Dad used to do just that. He travelled all over the world, documenting stories for CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network). The struggles they encountered and the challenges they overcame were incredible … and make for really good stories now. I was packing the last bit of my gear in my bag as I was leaving to go check into my flight. Pastor Steve was watching me and said, “After everything, you really aren’t far from your father’s shadow.” I looked at him confused and asked him what he meant. He explained that I was basically doing the same thing that my Dad had done in his career. Hauling equipment around so that I can document what the Lord is doing in other countries. I was first just impressed that he remembered that my Dad had done that, but when I thought about it I realized how right he was. 🙂
Whether it is getting a beautiful drone shot to show how remote our schools are or the ability to charge all my gear in 1 night … I do not take for granted the blessings I enjoy while traveling and realize the struggles of those who came before me.