Uganda team mission (May 2023)

May 28, 2023

This was my second trip to Uganda this year, but this time I am returning with a team from Center of Praise Church in Sacramento, California. It’s their first mission going as a church by themselves and we had a team of 14 people. I was there to help make sure everything went well and ran smoothly. I was also in the middle of working on various projects. This is a bit about what the trip was like from my perspective.

Though it may not seem like a big deal, I normally carry 2 backpacks when I travel to Uganda. I was able to consolidate everything into 1 large backpack. For me, this was a huge win by not having to juggle 2 different bags.

When we arrived in Uganda we were able to be picked up in our new tour bus! We purchased this bus last year, but it was the first team a missions team was able to use it. It was a very comfortable, reliable vehicle for us the whole trip!

The first day we drove out to Gomba and got checked into our hotel. I got to stay in the same room that I stayed in last year. It was great returning to the familiar view of the town.

Heading out to the school on our first day was great. The kids saw us coming and started chasing our bus.

Still enjoy taking photos of kids at our school. The smiles and the joy on their faces never gets old to me. Gotta love the eskimo jacket this kid is wearing.

This is an aerial shot of our tiny school that is in need of much development and love. You can see our first brick classroom block in the bottom center. You can also see the small village just around the corner of the school.

We held our nightly crusade in the middle of the town. Great turnout. Our team did a great job stepping up and sharing the gospel and loving on the community.

I was able to capture my first sunset in Gomba. The weather was beautiful, in fact the lighting and colors were amazing the entire evening. I kept pulling out my camera to capture something new.

While the team was conducting their VBS and conferences, I was trying to get some of my projects done. There is no real place to work, so Kyakuwa (my friend and our admin) and I sat under a mango tree and got to work.

We got to travel out to Kikyusa to visit our friends at Wonder Afrika. It was exciting to see the new school campus they have built, and some of the new projects they are working on.

Ayla and I started reading The Chronicles of Narnia – The Silver Chair while I was traveling. We’d read a chapter on our own then talk about it the next day.

The second half of the trip we traveled to Toggo. The team was so excited to see our schools and get a glimpse of what investing in a community for over a decade looks like.

Whenever I am back in Toggo the kids who live in the area always come around. Whether it’s when I’m flying my drone, wandering through the village taking photos or playing football on the lawn in the evenings they are always around and I love it.

The weather was so good I had a chance to go do some night photography multiple nights. It’s definitely my happy place, and where I feel the most at peace. I’m always so grateful we get to serve in a community in the part of the world that is so beautiful.

On the weekend we went to Kampala to go to church and then the craft center after lunch. I visited my friend Lawrence whom I had commissioned to paint me a black and white painting of a cheetah running. That’s it on the left. It turned out so great that he ended up doing a few other similar paintings … which I also bought.

The last part of our trip was a safari to Murchison Falls National Park in northern Uganda. This is our group at the mouth of the falls.

This is Brandon, Kyakuwa and I from the top of the falls. Yes, this is the only photo of me and serves as proof I was actually in Uganda. That other waterfall is actually the water that flows around Murchison Falls. It is not visible to anyone who visit the falls. I was only able to get a shot of it with my drone.

This is a view of the Victoria Nile river. It is flowing just down river from Murchison Falls, the most powerful waterfall in the world.

A Mommy and baby elephant and Mommy and baby hippo. The Mommy hippo didn’t take her eyes off of us the whole time.

We were treated to a beautiful sunset as we got back and settled into the lodge for the night.

Early the next morning we set out to head out on the “game drive”, the main part of the safari where you see the animals. The goal is to set out early while the animals are still up and about.

We were blessed with great weather and excellent tour guides as we set out on the trails.

If you’ve ever seen a Ugandan flag you’ll recognize this bird. It is called a “Crowned” Crane. They call it this because of the beautiful gold-colored feathers haloing their heads.

We had the opportunity to see a couple giraffes right as the sun was coming up behind them. However the best part of this image is the little freeloader hiding in the corner.

I love these little deer-like animals. They are called “steenboks”. They are very little and look like babies, even when they are full grown adults. They are also so peaceful to watch. The also are known for mating for life. Even if their partner dies, they remain single.

My main objective on this safari was to see a mature male lion. In that, we failed. However, we did get to do a little off-roading and see a moody teenager male lion. It was cool too. It was probably the same one I chased last year with my drone.

We got to see a good number of animals and beautiful views that morning before we made the long 5+ hour drive back to Toggo.

The next day we left for the airport to fly back home. Everyone had a wonderful trip. I was so glad to be able to go. I am blessed by every trip I take. I’m so excited that I will be going back with my wife in July!