21 Mar 2011 · Catie
Our ORA NZ Co-ordinators, Jan & Chris Barker are on the road again. They’ve just arrived in Uganda where they will be for a couple of weeks before heading to an ORA International conference in Germany. Check out their first blog post from this trip about the stark contrasts between Dubai, Kampala and the ORA Uganda Base. Check out Jan’s first blog post….
Dubai > Kampala > ORA Uganda Base
We left New Zealand on Sunday evening – two very tired Kiwis – there are so many things to do at home and on the farm before embarking on a trip like this. Our first stop was a 24-hour break in Dubai, staying with a most generous and hospitable Kiwi! Thanks Christine! Ah, the luxuries and opulence; man has taken a desert and created an oasis, both with amazing architecture, engineering feats and landscaping, and with a safe and secure multinational society. What you can do when you have lots of money!
We went to dinner in a restaurant overlooking the amazing Dubai Fountain. There must be several acres of fountain, and every 30 minutes it plays choreographed to a different song. Can you imagine water dancing and waving, with spouts of water higher than you’d have ever seen! It’s such an amazing engineering and artistic feat. The scripture that came to mind was the one about the trees and rocks of the field clapping their hands to praise God! No need to imagine –click here to see!
Even in a society like this there are the underprivileged e.g. immigrants working in construction and as maids. We heard stories from those with a passion for these people, a passion that has hands and feet, and a voice insisting on better living and working conditions for those that don’t have a voice for themselves.
Two hours off the plane in Uganda, we were in a meeting at a babies’ home; beautiful babies, so sadly abandoned. Later in the evening we briefly met and heard the story of a young woman who had grown up in an orphanage and is now the director of a large agricultural project. This is the sort of hope we are giving to the children in the ORA Uganda sponsorship programme. Hopefully I’ll be able to write about some of them over the next few weeks.
The next day, caught in Kampala’s notorious traffic jams and seething mass of humanity, with a taxi driver who did not know where the bus terminal was, we missed the 1pm bus and had to wait for the 10pm one. However the most dramatic part of this whole story is that Chris hopped out of the taxi thinking that he could get to the 1pm bus before it left. Unfortunately he waded in the tide of black masses in the direction that the ignorant taxi driver sent him, and promptly got lost. It wasn’t too hard to find him because everyone kept saying, “There was a white man here.” “There was a white man there.” In the meantime, however, the taxi driver panicked at the thought of losing a white passenger and left the other passenger, that is ME, alone in the taxi with the windows down, the key in the ignition, surrounded by the above tide! After some brief moments during which a few seedy looking characters descended on the poor maiden in her chariot, two shining knights in ebony armour came and stood guard until the dumb white fella turned up.
I had always known that Chris would SO not be impressed to be taking the bus – he’d so much prefer to be fly! But just before he managed to catch up on a few zzzz’s on the bus he commented, “Lord, thank You for letting me out of Kampala!”
To think that only a few days ago we were in wealthy Dubai, and today I sit and write this in a mud hut with a thatch in a rural village in West Nile, Uganda. Arriving here, we brought the first rains since December with us; rain is so important to this people who depend so much on the food they can grow year to year to survive. If the rains failed just once many people would perish. And how can I describe that I feel so much more at home here than I did in Dubai? I’ll try to do that in blogs over the next few weeks.
To follow the Barker's blog please visit http://www.barkersbrief.wordpress.com
And don't forget to check out our facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/oranewzealand
11 Jan 2011 · Catie
I'm posting this a bit late now but in November 2010 the ORA New Zealand team moved from the 'home office' out at the Barker's farm to the lovely new Business Edge Centre in central Hamilton.
It feels like home already. Check out Jan at her new desk!
03 Dec 2010 · Catie
We were so excited to see that ORA was mentioned in the editorial of the January issue of Your Home & Garden magazine!
17 Nov 2010 · Catie
Kim's latest blog about life at the Luku Yesuni Project in Uganda.....
"It’s been a very busy productive last few weeks here at the ORA base. Two weeks ago we were blessed with 3 amazing visitors. Catie and Sam Wilkinson and Phillipa Moffit gave up their luxurious western lifestyles, time, money and annual leave to spend 12 days working alongside us, and the rest of the ORA Uganda team."
17 Nov 2010 · Catie
Sam Wilkinson was part of the team that recently travelled to the Luku Yesuni Project in Uganda. Read Sam's blog about his trip from a football perspective....