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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Musana Camps (1 of 3)

Our great friends, Keith and Laura Beth McFarland, who we knew from our college years (but hadn't seen since then, until we moved here) have lived and ministered in Uganda for a long time with New Hope Uganda.   They are an amazing family, and New Hope is an incredible organization!  We've absolutely enjoyed the visits we've made up there, and only wish we could get up there more often.  In addition to their main "campus" in a village setting up north of here, New Hope has also been gradually developing a beautiful property that they acquired overlooking Lake Victoria.  It's called Musana Camps, and it's a simple, but very functional and gorgeous Christian camp that they use for many purposes.

We were blessed to be invited to join the McFarlands for a little family get-a-way to the Musana Camps back in November.  (Above, the first sunrise we enjoyed over the lake from the front porch of the house we were staying in.  We only wished we could have stayed a bit longer.  Unfortunately we weren't able to get Britt out of school, so we were only able to stay the weekend, but it was SO relaxing and fun!

Below is a picture of both of our families--lots of kids eh?!

The drive there was grueling!  If they had an airstrip there, I could have flown us there in about 6 minutes.  But they don't have an airstrip...yet.  And most of the road going there is murram (dirt) and it had rained torrentially for several hours, and was still raining for most of the drive.  So it took us about four or five hours to navigate the slippery, muddy, deeply rutted roads to the camp.   Fortunately (miraculously) neither of us got stuck, or slid off the road anywhere.  Shortly before we got to the camp, there's a nice overlook up on a rocky hill.  By then it had stopped raining and the clouds were finally thinning, so we stopped and had a late picnic lunch.   The kids were very happy to get out and stretch their legs and climb a few rocks!

Not too sure if Britt was happy to get a kiss from mom, but hey, he's still smiling. :-)

The drive was worth it!  This was the house where we stayed--as you can see it sat atop a hill overlooking the gorgeous lake!  Yep, the sky and water were really that blue--the result of all that rain clearing out the dust in the sky.  Take note of our newly "painted" van--the lower half is usually white/grey, not red/brown.  Most of the time it looked even worse than that, but the rain cleaned much of it off before we arrived.

We enjoyed a variety of activities while there, including a short hike through the "jungle" to this beautiful waterfall.  

Gifty was having a blast and was desperate to get his turn climbing up to the top of the waterfall.  So after I took these pictures, Britt and I helped him climb up to the very top.  I wish I had a picture of that.  He was SO very excited to be up there, waving and wanting everyone to see him.

We ate simple, delicious, Ugandan-style meals in the open-air cafeteria/meeting building, also on a hill overlooking the lake.  There were a variety of fun backyard-style games around for the kids to play while we ate and hung out.

Basically, we all just enjoyed the beauty and freedom of the open space, the constant breeze and fresh air, and the peace and quiet of our surroundings.  Gift found a wagon and spent most of his time pulling around anything and everything he could find.

Down at the waters edge is a beautiful little man-made beach.  There are tubes and canoes and stuff for the kids to enjoy.  Just a few weeks before, some guys in the next-door village had killed a croc in the lake, but there's not too many of them around this area (as compared to parts of the Nile where they are prolific and huge!), and our chances of getting eaten by a croc are probably far less than of dying in a traffic accident on the crazy roads of Kampala.  So we weren't worried.

The kids swam and tubed and canoed for hours and loved every minute of it!

We also enjoyed some good worship together...

...and started the advent season with some readings geared towards children.

Check back next week and I'll show you some more of the great scenery around there!

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