|Fishermen doing some morning work on Lake Victoria|
Namiti is like a second home for Shepherd's Heart. Last June we "officially" re-opened a medical clinic in this very rural place. Also, a couple of members have made their homes there, raised their families and invested many hours on Namiti and the surrounding islands through various ministry outreaches.
Folks like Pastor Samson and Oraygi are from elsewhere in Uganda (like the eastern part), but feel called to serve the islands as "missionaries."
Namiti is a "southern" island in the Buvuma group and one crosses the equator from north to south to reach it, if traveling from Jinja or Lingira Island. Unfortunately, I am not sure where that equator "line" is since we are traveling on the water.
Our original departure time from Jinja on Tuesday was delayed by a storm and as we waited in the boat to leave, the sky seemed to only darken. Yet, we set off. Five hours later and after much "rockin' and rollin'" through heavy winds and waves, we landed wet and tired at Namiti Island. (Sorry, no photos of the trip there!)
|One of the few trees on "Namiti" - the "tree island."|
My purpose for visiting Namiti was to meet with sponsored students and their parents, and if possible also visit the students in their homes. The group meeting went well, though as usual, started about an hour after it was planned. :) (Meetings or other activities rarely start on time here, mostly because people trickle in slowly by slowly.)
Some village homes are as small as an American bedroom, with mud walls and floors, thatched roofs or the occasional tin roof. Narrow, meandering "streets" or "alleys" separate the homes in the village, with some huts so close together that you could stand at your doorway and touch your neighbors' abode.
The sun was setting as I entered my last home for the day - Fauza's house.
Fauza, who is nearly 18, has become quite dear to me. I met her in 2010 - the year I came to Uganda to work with SHIM on Lingira Island, and the year she started studying at Lingira Living Hope. Last year I began one-on-one discipleship with her as I sensed her genuine desire to walk with Christ and to know Him more. She is coming out of her shy, reserved shell - even now singing in the school choir and wanting to gain more boldness as a Christian.
I watched as amazement as Fauza laughed and talked freely with her family and friends as I sat in their small home, enjoying orange soda, matoke (cooked bananas), peanut sauce, cassava and fish, prepared for me as a "visitor."
Fauza is the only born-again Christian in her home, with a Catholic mother, Muslim step-father, and siblings who align themselves with either of those two faiths. Yet, Fauza's quiet walk with Christ is strong and growing. Despite her reserved personality, her love for Jesus is becoming clearer and more evident.
|Student Betty, right, and her lovely mom standing in the door of their home.|
We awoke before dawn on Thursday morning to catch the boat, which we were told left at 6 a.m. After a couple of hours of patient (or sometimes impatient) waiting at the shore, we boarded our boat at 8 a.m. and headed back to Jinja. We were grateful for bright, sunny skies and smooth waters - much different weather than our journey to Namiti.
|Fishing boats at the shore|
|Note the phone number on the side of the boat.|
|Fisherman takes in the lake|
|Sanyu ("Joy"), a little cousin of one of my students. (Isn't she adorable?)|
|Island woman carrying basin of small fish|
|Scattering the small fish for drying|
|Our "bus" coming in for the ride back to Jinja.|
|Clouds over Lake Victoria. I love the clouds here!|
|Looking back on the Namiti shore.|
|Mama Joy with three of her girls|
|Fishing boat on the lake|
P.S. If you would like to see more photos of this trip, take a look at my Facebook album, found here.