David Paparelli's Blog

Matthew 19:26

“You will have a story to tell”

with 7 comments

In my last post I wrote that adjusting to living in Uganda was easier than I thought.  This does not mean that it has been completely uneventful.  There have been some ups and downs.  As Elijah tells us frequently “you will have a story to tell.”  Well, here are some of those stories.

We are living in Pastor Elijah’s house.  It is under construction still and we do not have running water, but we do have a toilet over the hole in the ground we go to the bathroom in.  The hole is called a pit latrine.  I have not had the experience of using one with out a toilet over it so I can’t tell you what that is like.  Frankie described a technique based on his experience so you may be able to ask him.

With no running water there is obviously not a shower.  What we do is fill a bucket up with water and splash water on ourselves to bath.  None of this is nearly as bad as it sounds and we have acclimated just fine.  Vera and I have been comfortable and the trip has been great.

A highlight for me on every trip is the best meal I have.  Vera and my first morning in Uganda we were introduced to our alarm clock.  Ruth (Pastor Elijah’s wife) has a chicken, a few chicks, and a rooster.  Watching the chicken followed by her chicks is cute and quiet.  The roosters are neither.

One morning the rooster was sitting right outside my window crowing constantly.  At that moment I prayed that the rooster would not crow anymore.  The prayer worked.  That evening one of Pastor Elijah’s sons stepped on the roosters legs and cut its head off.  Ten minutes later the rooster was plucked, gutted and put in a pot.  Our dear friend was on the table to be eaten within a couple hours.  That was by far one of the best meals I have ever had.  It was prepared by Ruth, whose food never disappoints, and it was followed by many nights of good rest.

With the exception of the rooster, the food we have eaten here has been pretty normal.  It usually consists of chicken, pork or beef and nearly always includes rice, beans, plantains, and potatoes.  I have rarely seen anything eaten that is out of the ordinary.  Everything may be cooked slightly differently but it is cooked with familiar ingredients.  My thinking that I was familiar with Ugandan food was proved wrong when Vera was helping Pastor Elijah’s youngest son with his homework.

Little David Williams was working on the food pyramid for homework.  Vera found it weird and pointed out to me that bugs were listed under the protein part of the pyramid.  I had a good laugh and left it at that.  Later on that day David was playing with Joshua (a three year-old staying in Elijah’s house) and he yelled and pointed at a small cockroach.  Joshua ran over and picked it up and rinsed it under the rainwater tap.  Right before he could put it into his mouth Vera shouted at him to stop.  David ran over and grabbed the roach out of Joshua’s hand.  As Vera was giving him praise for keeping Joshua from eating the bug David tossed it in his mouth and ate it himself.

So it turns out that bugs are not just on the food pyramid for show.  They are actually eaten and I assume that they are a good source of protein.  I don’t think I will be trying them any time soon, but David Williams said he likes them a lot.  Despite what you must be thinking at this point in the post we have been doing more than eating and studying food.

In the last week we traveled for the third time to the orphanage out in Namadhi.  The orphanage is a four hour drive from Elijah’s house and we were going to need to be there for two days so we stayed the night in a hotel.  We got there on Monday and the kids welcomed us by rushing the van and chanting welcome.  It was great to finally be there to work with the children not just tour the school.

Our goal for the two days was to enter as many kids’ names into the organization’s new database and take photos of the kids to match with the names.  In two days we finished every single child at the orphanage.  We thought it was going to take two weeks to complete all 420 kids.  Everything went by incredibly quickly and smoothly.

It was great to be finished with this first part of data entry and to finally start putting faces with names.  On Thursday we did the same thing at the Kiteezi orphanage located about a mile from where we are staying.  In one day we almost finished the entire orphanage.  Now the database has 619 children with matched photos.  This was a miraculous amount of work to get done in a week.  Vera and I are now starting to enter in the stories of each child.  Getting to put a face with a name and a name with a story is connecting us to the children and really giving us a much better idea of the situation in Uganda.

One of the children joined the Kiteezi orphanage after being found breast feeding on his dead mother’s breast in the bush.  I am not sure how common this is but I do know this child was lucky to be found.  He is now alive and happy.  I am blessed to have been able to spend time with him.

Another child’s father was killed by being sacrificed and her mother died of aids.  This left the child abandoned and alone.  Yet another one’s parents were in an accident with him and both of them died.  This little one was left alone and frequently wakes up crying from night terrors about the accident.  There are millions of these stories in Uganda and Hands of Love has collected some of the children who have succumbed to this kind of trauma.

This organization has provided food, water, and shelter to these children but more importantly they have provided them with a future.  The future will come from the love and education the children now receive on a daily basis.  Seeing the desperate condition of the children as we are traveling to the orphanages and then seeing the hope in the smiling faces of the children at the orphanage is sad and yet incredible.  The transition in the physical and emotional condition that we have seen and the kids have experienced is truly amazing.

This is a video of me and Vera playing with baby Joshua:


Written by davidpaparelli

September 20, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Posted in Uganda

7 Responses

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  1. My favorite post so far- thanks for sharing a little more about your day-to-day routines there and your recent work. Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks!


    September 20, 2010 at 3:48 pm

  2. Your descriptions are vivid (funny, too, sometimes) and you have plenty to report. It’s really wonderful that you are doing the grunt work of removing the anonymity from these little faces. That will be an effort that will have positive results in a big way, I’m sure.
    I’m really happy you are getting such good food and warm company. I looked up some of the natural sites in Uganda and some were very beautiful, like the Bujagali Falls. I’ve seen people eat bugs on some of these exploration t.v. shows. Termites were a delicacy which an African tribe (forget the country) hunted down for Anthony Bourdain (No Reservations show). Of course, he ate them to be polite. I prefer the land of spinach and protein powder, myself. Thanks for all the great photos. You are certainly in a place where you don’t have to search out good subject matter.

    Aunt Janet

    September 20, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    • I’m sure we will get to see some of that natural beauty before we go. We have been to the zoo, which was its own adventure that I will have to tell you about sometime, but I am really looking forward to seeing the source of the Nile. We have crossed over the Nile six times now and yet we haven’t had time to stop and see the natural park.

      Thanks for the encouraging posts. I hope you are doing well.


      September 20, 2010 at 7:16 pm

  3. I Love the pictures! What a precious sight to see – I love to see you and Vera but the children are so adorable. You all look so happy. Give hugs to everyone for me especially Ruth, Pastor Elijah and that precious little boy that falls asleep on you.


    September 20, 2010 at 4:09 pm

  4. I miss you. Keep writing. Love dad

    Charlie Paparelli

    September 22, 2010 at 7:53 pm

  5. David, I really enjoy your doscriptions of your trip. It must be hard to see such poverty and know you can only help a few. I think you are very brave to try to bring some comfort to a people in such despert circumstances. You are very special and I am very proud of you. Love, Grandma

    Sue Neslund

    September 24, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    • Thanks Grandma! It has been an eye opening trip and definitely frustrating at times. I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Love, David


      September 25, 2010 at 7:13 pm

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