Mocha Club member Stephen Proctor is blogging from Gulu, Uganda on the Mocha Club trip from September 22nd-October 2nd. Please help us spread the word and check back for updates!
Three flights & four airports… that’s been our life for the past day. But after enduring the long flights, catching up on in-flight movies we’d not seen before, and experiencing a taste of Europe in the Amsterdam airport, we finally arrived in Kampala, Uganda on Wednesday night.
Signs everywhere were welcoming us with the East African phrase “Jambo!” (meaning, “Welcome!”) It was all very surreal; were we REALLY in Africa? It didn’t feel like it. Still, we were excited, wide-eyed, and exhausted. The only downside, one of team members had lost her luggage. But other than that, we had made it safe and sound.
It was a dark journey to the hotel. The first thing I noticed was the night sky. The stars and the crescent moon were brilliant! The ride to the hotel was exciting…random people darting across in front of us, passing cars and barely dodging oncoming traffic, being cut off on every turn…it was the all-too-familiar experience of 3rd world driving. No stop lights. No stop signs. And lanes? Well, those are just a suggestion. My favorite part of the experience was hearing the shouts and squeals of those with us who had not yet been blessed to have this type of traffic experience. We’re not in Kansas anymore.
As I’m writing this, it’s Thursday morning, and most of you are fast asleep waiting for the day that we’ve already begun. I woke up earlier than normal (6am) but have enjoyed the peaceful morning. This place reminds me of my trip to Papua New Guinea…the sights, smells & sounds are very familiar to me. You really can HEAR the day waking up…exotic birds chirping and cawing, roosters going ballistic, and a baby crying in the distance. I can’t make out the smell, but it’s that fresh Saturday morning scent you smell when camping, laced with a little smoke. It’s refreshing. And the morning sky…wow…one of the most dynamic things I’ve seen in a while.
The hotel we’re at is a “guest house” so it’s a very communal experience. The coffee is amazing, and the aroma from the kitchen down the hall makes your mouth water. The ladies working here have made this tortilla bread style something-or-other with egg wrapped up in it…I put honey on mine. Oh yeah.
I’m not a morning person…but this place could turn me into one.
We’ll hang out here a few more hours, waiting in hope of the arrival of Genevieve’s missing luggage. Then we will depart on the five hour journey to the town of Gulu in Northern Uganda. This will be our main destination and the home of Village of Hope and Home of Love. Most of our days will be spent painting murals in the children’s home and teaching art classes for the kids. And with a team full of musicians, I’m sure there will be a few impromptu concerts.
I’m very expectant here. I don’t have specific expectations, but I expect God to do great things. He has always proven faithful when we make ourselves fully available to Him. My eyes are wide open and I am ready to experience both the beauty and tragedy in northern Uganda. My only exposure so far has been through the stories of “Invisible Children.” I watched the original documentary years ago with some very close friends, one of them who is with me on this trip (Nate Griffin, my business partner). During that same time, our friend Barrett Ward had started Mocha Club, and we (Nate & I) started supporting it right away. So it is very exciting to finally travel with Mocha Club to Northern Uganda!
We cannot wait to meet the people of Gulu and to love on the missionaries and children at the orphanage. But more than that, we cannot wait to be changed and to experience for ourselves that we really do need Africa more than Africa needs us.