Tuesday started with a bang – literally! We awoke to the most mammoth tropical storm. The garden outside our room had turned to a river, heavy heavy rain sheeted down, pelting onto the ground, and loud rumbles of thunder were pierced through with scarily close bolts of lightning. One hit the ground just 20 yards from reception.
So morning prayers started slightly late as we struggled through the downpour to the restaurant. Caroline hadn’t actually warned us about the possibility of rain; most were prepared with jackets, but my tropical rain solution was to hitch up her skirt like a dhoti and cover her head with a towel! We meet as a team every morning to settle our hearts and commit the day to God. It’s a valuable moment of stillness before busy days. Breakfast here at the White Castle is a joy to behold. It’s laid out in the dark dining room as a buffet, with the addition of a ‘fresh omulet’ stand where you can order an omulet of many flavour. Starting near the door, there’s fresh fruit juice, yoghurts, cereals, fresh coffee, hot water and tea, platters of fresh fruit and then sausages, curried beef, savoury noodles, and baked beans. Delicious!
Today the team was split in several directions. Danda took off with Eric the driver and Isaac, Joseph’s aide de camp, to spend the day in Imvepi camp. She wants to shadow a family for a day to get a feel for their every day life. Caroline and Jamie went to the diocesan office to do admin and planning while Jeremy set up the new computers we had brought with us and sorted some complicated IT issues.
Fi, Pippa and I were leading the two conferences we are holding this year, me on Parenting for Faith (equipping parents and carers to disciple their children), and Fi’s teaching on working with children who have experienced trauma – which of course many many children have as a result of the war. A slight communication issue meant that we were dropped at the Arua Teacher Training College, where the conferences were two years ago, only to discover after the wonder van left that they weren’t expecting us! So we spent a happy half hour with the lovely Gladys the principal who explained about the work the college does. They not only train teachers and offer ongoing training to school staff but they work in the camps. Gladys said that she had a real heart for refugees because she herself had been a refugee in the Congo. There had been a recent emphasis on the importance of early years education, and Gladys sends teams into the camp to educate the parents and care givers so they can give their children a better start in life.
Soon enough we bid farewell to Gladys as Francis came and rescued us (but not before Pippa had taken a snap of the BEST SIGN YET in a land of amazing signs).
So the conferences began late, which was actually beneficial as many of the delegates had been delayed by the rain. Some good learning took place, and the delegates had to work very very hard. In the office, a good day was had by all. Danda arrived back at the hotel at 8.30pm, having spent the entire day filming at the camp, happy with what she’d managed to achieve with the help of Isaac and Eric. We’re so excited to see what she produces when she has time to review and edit the mammoth amount of film and photos she’s taken!