As we packed our bags to go to Uganda we talked about all the plans we had for our trip. The playground was #1 on our list! Karen Sue's Husband wrote up some instructions for us with some silly little drawings. We felt confident it would be an easy and fast project. We secretly thought The kids will LOVE it and think of how great those American visitors were to come over and built us such a awesome playground!
Not so much....
we were shown the piece of land they wanted us to build and we knew there was no way in less than two weeks we would be able to even come close to just clearing the field! We started to get nervous. should we just scrap the whole Idea?
The next morning we got up bright an early and started to at least try. Then something amazing happened. All of the children and teachers come out to help us! We all looked at each other. We couldn't believe it. We were building it for them why are they helping? They all picked up bundles of grass and trees and tore down HUGE ant hills with big smiles on their faces! They were so happy and we got it cleared by lunch time!!!
Karen Sue, Kim, and Father Tom went to the lumber store to by wood and tools. When they got back it was obvious that those great drawn out plans Karen Sue's husband made for us were going to be thrown out the window. In Uganda there is no such thing as 2x4's or electric drills! They had tree logs and hand drills!!! Again we were nervous! This is going to take us all week just to put One hole threw this huge log! let alone 12!!!!
Then God sent us another Angel to help!
Now before I get started explaining to you everything he did let me tell you who he is.
Charles is, I guess you could say, the maintenance man for St. Jerome Cove center. He is pushing 60 years old! His main job is to dig, no kidding 50-60 feet, holes in the ground to where the bathrooms will be built on top of for "storage" (think of it as a gigantic owl house)
Now if that is not gross enough St. Jerome Cove center is located on an old concentration camp and Charles comes across skulls and other bones on a daily biases when digging these holes.
Charles was standing in the background watching us hand drill these holes. He laughed at us sweating and grunting and getting frustrated. He came over picked up his own drill and got to work. All the holes were drilled by dinner time!
He treated the wood to prevent termites.
Dug holes and placed the poles into the holes then added homemade cement.
The next day we had visits and things we had to get done. We were so grateful for the help Charles had done the day before but again we got nervous. How are we going to put the top pole across it all to hold the swings up?
But again God answered our prayers! When we got back it was done!!
[Karen Sue was in tears! Her dream of building the swings set had come true and she wanted to thank Charles for all his hard work. Charles said all he wanted from her was for her to climb a tree with him......... hu? what? We fallowed and Charles took us to the biggest tree on the property and they climbed it. When they got down we paid Charles some money and gave him some new clothes for him and his family. we also invited him to eat dinner with us that night.
When the last swing was hung we all wanted a picture together of the playground "we" built. I like to think about how people tell me how awesome it was that I went there and helped these kids and how I am such a great caring wonderful person. But I feel silly saying thank you because I didn't save anyone while I was over there or really feel like I made that big of a difference. The people in Uganda are very Poor when it comes to their finances and possessions but they are rich in spirit! not once did any of them ask me for hand outs or some kind of help. all they wanted was to help US, spend time with us, become friends, climb trees.
Now of course the entire time building the playground the kids were dieiNG to play. They watched us through the windows. their teachers probably wanted us to stop working during class time so the kids would actually pay attention.
Finally it was time for the children to come play!