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Waterfall does wonders at source of Nile

Marty Jones/Special to the Daily

Marty Jones, owner of the Wildflower Farms and Garden Center in Edwards, recently spent three weeks in Uganda visiting the child he sponsors through a Denver-based organization called Christ Aid.

He sent several e-mails to his wife and four daughters, family members and other child sponsors at the Gracious Savior Lutheran Church in Edwards. Most of the children in Christ Aid’s programs have lost either one or both parents to AIDS. Jones and three others, including the organization’s Ugandan-born president, David Mporampora, arrived just after Christmas with presents including goats and bicycles.

A goat can be particularly valuable to a Ugandan family as one female animal can be used to start a herd. The male animals can be eaten and others sold. The bicycles are a key form of transportation in Uganda, Jones says.

“They use bicycles like we use light trucks – and they carry almost as much on them,” Jones said.

Christ Aid’s goal is to build schools so the children can get an education and move beyond the region’s subsistence economy, Jones said.

“The goal of the group is to be transparent,” Jones said. “They let you come over and take pictures of your child receiving a goat or bicycles.”

Those interested in Christ Aid can call Jones at 926-5504 or visit the group’s Web site: http://www.christ-aid.org.

The following are excerpts from Jones’ e-mails. Other excerpts will be published in the coming weeks.

– Matt Zalaznick

Day 2

We returned last night from the source of the Nile. What a wonderful day.

We loaded 24 kids and six adults in a bus that seated 24 with no air conditioning. We drove for two hours picking up more children along the way, singing songs and having a good time.

We got to Jinja, the town closest to Bujagali falls. The fall are on the Nile downstream from the source. We had lunch at a local restaurant which we overwhelmed.

We had what must be the national dish – we’ve had it so much: oxtail soup, steamed green bananas kind of like squash without the flavor and some corn flour stuff which was white. A thinner version of it for wallpaper paste.

Outside the restaurant I was accosted by six or eight street children. They were in filthy, torn clothes and were begging for money. David (Mporampora) advised against giving them any or we could have a real problem on our hands. It was hard not to feel for them, however.

Back on the bus, Buks, one of the adult Ugandan volunteers told me that most of our kids would look like those street children if not for Christ Aid. Our kids had clean fairly nice clothes, were going to school and believed in Jesus. I hope to include some pictures.

One of the children we picked up was named Prince Awazi. He was about 7-years-old and was a charmer. He sat o my lap the rest of the way to the falls and didn’t say much.

Big leap

When we got there we were greeted with a raging river with three waterfalls. None of them were real high, but they were powerful none the less. We took lots of photos of the kids.

There were some young men who would jump in the river for a small fee, and float the rapids and water fall while holding on to a 5 gallon, plastic jerry can as a float. They would disappear for what seemed like a long time then pop up at the end. It actually looked like fun, if you’re a teenager.

We packed up to leave and the kids offered to carry my camera bag, which is quite heavy, and my tri-pod. The young ones grabbed my hands as we walked back to the bus.

We left the falls and went up stream to the source. The source is a combination of Lake Victoria and an enormous spring. The two would come together in a torrent to form the River Nile which stretches 4,000 miles.

It takes three months for water to go from beginning to end. We took all the kids on two small boats out to an island which was right at the confluence of Lake Victoria and the spring. It was pretty awesome. The kids loved it. They had never done anything so touristy.

Soccer smile

We then went to a small park next to the river and gave them gifts.

David preached at them hard about the importance of working hard in school. None of the kids we adopted were from Kampala so I gave them some of the generic things I brought along, T-shirts, shorts, candy, etc. I bought Prince a soccer ball in Jinja, which he cherished. It brought an enormous smile to his face.

Now it was time to return home. It was a long bus ride with a very skillful driver I might add. He had to dodge potholes, people, motor bikes and oncoming cars and still maintain a moderate speed, which he did most excellently.

There road maintenance leaves a lot to be desired. I’m not sure there is any.

We got back to the guest house where we are staying at 8:30 p.m. and had some dinner. What we had for dinner and lunch the previous day was the same with one exception. There were the typical steamed green bananas, peas and lentils, beans and carrots and BBQ chicken(the task is to try to find the chicken between the bones).

The oxtail soup was replaced with chunks of rather tough beef. It was different but I opted for a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich. I ordered a cheese bugger (that’s the way it was spelled on the menu) but was told that the chef was only making sandwiches – which meant they didn’t have any cheese buggers.

Mosquito nets

The guest house we are staying at is a Christian house and many of the people here are missionaries and the staff is wonderful. The accommodations are sparse but clean. We have mosquito netting that comes down over our beds at night.

David suggested that we tuck it in all around the bed once we’re in, which I do every night but insects have not been a problem at all so far.

David keeps telling us that we haven’t seen anything yet and to wait till we get to Fort Portal. We will be leaving for there on Sunday. Today we are going on some home visits to the children that were with us on the trip yesterday. It promises to be a heart-wrenching experience.

Will write tomorrow if possible.


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