Sunday, March 9, 2014

Journeying to Gulu, Uganda with Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe - Day 2 - Patricia Smith

Day 2 –

Going  Thru The Rushes Like Moses at the Nile River in Uganda.

What a Moment!!!.....
I actually got to see the Nile River----was having a biblical moment……with Sister Rosemary.  I recalled the many inferences to the River Nile in the bible.  This made the long journey to Gulu more than worth it and will always remain one of the memorable moments of the day and my life.  It was just breath-taking / beautiful and will forever be branded in my mind and heart!

The trip from Kampala began that day with the roosters crowing at 3:30am at the priest parish---didn’t need an alarm clock there to wake up…..the rosters crowed right outside your window…..  J

I could hear the priests walking and singing as early as 6am.  This was just like you see on television.  So, this happens for real at these parishes / monasteries.  After Sister Rosemary had gone to the chapel to pray and have breakfast….she met and introduced me to several of the priests and brothers that called her sister and friend.    They were excited to hear about her journey to the U.S. -----as well as to hear about the book and documentary----“Sewing Hope’.  They congratulated her for her sharing of Uganda’s plight of the children and families -------and thanked her for having the heart to bring up awareness of the many children still being affected by Joseph Kony’s period of terror.  Sister was so right when I had heard her share in the United States----that the war and sound of guns may be over…..but the effect on the children and the devastation of the war would be felt and remembered forever!  I listened quietly as their shared / talked about Sister.  This tied “Sewing Hope” and heightened the importance of Sister Rosemary’s trip to the United States and its success in making the world aware of the plight of the children / people in Gulu and the entire country of Uganda. 

We began our long journey on the road to Gulu which is in Northern Uganda. We were leaving behind the city life----and headed northward. It normally is approximately around a 6 hour drive.  We were delayed by many road accidents blocking traffic to include a couple of 18-wheelers----also a bus that had passengers on it was involved in an accident.  This was a 2-laner road / highway-----sometime paved or at times dirt roads with bumpy holes between the towns of Kampala and Gulu.  This journey took almost 9 hours.  It was hot----Sister and I slept---talked, laughed and more as she relayed the history of where I was and about the culture of that particular area.

Enroute---we passed many children and families hauling water back to their homes from water pumps on their heads, on their boda boda’s (motor bikes) as well as bicycles.

We stopped several times to buy cool drinking bottled water ---- in addition to the traffic stops because of accidents….We sat a couple of times longer than 30 minutes to wait for the roads to be cleared and opened back up.  I kept thinking---that this had been a tiring trip for us----but at least we had a comfortable vehicle to ride in and could purchase cool drinking water in bottles!   There were a lot of people walking.  The roads created dust storms on the unpaved portions that covered the PFA vehicle with a film of powdered dust.  That same film of dust covered the individuals walking and those riding the boda boda’s as well as the bicycles.  It was another moment to be really ‘thankful’ for the vehicle and for clean drinking water-----hmmmmmm!!!!

Other stops were made to buy fresh pineapples and other vegetables / roots for the school.  It was so exciting to hear / watch Sister Rosemary barter with the locales for the best price and quality of items. I got to taste one root called cassava that had to be eaten hot.  Sister Rosemary made sure that she received ‘hot cassava’ for me to taste / eat.  I felt like I was in a movie and actually had to pinch myself to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming about this entire adventure. People from Uganda that were at the market stops would run up to the vehicle to offer their wares to include:  cooked goat meat kabobs, vegetables, fruits, clothing items and more!......I didn’t take as many pictures.  Sister told me to take pictures only when we were moving.  She didn’t want any locales to be offended.  Also----she teased me that my telephoto lens may scare the children-----cause it was so large.....She said that it could resemble the nozzle of a gun!!!  J  I took great care when using the camera…..Didn’t want to offend or scare anyone…..

A refreshing stop that was the highlight of the day was as we approached the crossing of the bridge at the River Nile.  As, we were approaching ---- I could see and hear its roaring waters passing under the bridge.  It was guarded by 2 security guards.  One was an officer.  Sister Rosemary told Jeffrey----our driver to pull over and she spoke to the officer and told him that I was from America and was ‘coming back home’ to Africa for the first time ever and wanted to know if I could take photographs of the river.  I guess no one can turn down Sister Rosemary---the soldier agreed and smiled and accompanied us.  I was more than excited……This was a photographers dream of a lifetime!!!---to photograph as well as to be photographed alongside the biblical Nile River.  The officer was so kind.  He also agreed to pose with me there also. 

The long journey ended as we pulled into the town of Gulu-----not like Kampala at all.  The streets are not paved and shops didn’t have Samsung or Polo on it.  Gulu reflected the culture that I had seen on the road travelling.  Life is totally different here in Gulu compared to Kampala.

We turned to the gate that I recognized from the pictures that I had seen in Sister Rosemary’s book --- “Sewing Hope”.
She had taught me my new word of the day----

“Afoyo” which means ‘Welcome’!!

Sister and I was greeted by the other Sisters and children----
Everyone made me feel soooooo at home----I observed how everyone was so pleased to have their beloved Sister back at the helm of St. Monica!!


Day 2 ended in prayer with a late prepared dinner in the convent where the sisters resided.  I was taken to my own thatch roof house ----and to my delight and surprise----It was one of the bottle houses that I had seen that Sister had built.  I was so humbled and welcomed!


Children from Uganda came to welcome Sister Rosemary home from her visit to the United States.

Sister Rosemary is a 'Real African Hero' song by the children in Uganda  -- See them on the youtube below:

Pictures of this continuing journey can be found on the following link:

Please show support of Sister Rosemary / her children in Uganda by liking the Sewing Hope facebook page:

"Sewing Hope" book can be purchased on the Sewing Hope website:

The book is also available in hardback cover or e-download at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.  100% of all monies received support Sister Rosemary and the children in Uganda.

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