Journey- An adventure with God
Since a while we have been having the wish to discover Uganda once „by foot“, walking. Five of us volunteers of Vision for Africa wanted to put this plan into action in the region of Mount Elgon situated in Mbale district. When planning the trip we had the thought to just let God fully take over and guide us on the tour. That means, planning nothing ourselves but trust him fully that he has a good plan for us. The only preparation was prayer. All of us together we had the impression to take 200.000 UGX (50€) per person with us. With a backpack, water, a few changing clothes and a great portion of trust in the Lord we started our adventure.
Melody, Moritz and Noemi travelled from Kiyunga and Johann and Simeon started from Karamoja. The goal was to meet in Mbale. None of us knew the town but we were all certain that we would find each other quickly. And indeed, in the middle of the city we saw us standing in a roundabout and then we met us a few minutes later.
With a Boda we drove to the beginning of the mountain where we had found a roofed chapati place. It started exactly in that moment when we sat under that rusty roof and ate Chapatis with fresh bananas. God has provided to us perfectly with this „restaurant“ at that very moment. Refreshed and full of motivation we began our journey after the short rainfall. Between Matooke palm trees, Eucalyptus trees and other tropical plants the slippery path went curvy through the refreshing green. Already after a short walk we had a beautiful view on Mbale. The small pathway ended eventually on a muddy mountainous road that we followed together with a crowd of children.
The first night
Around 5:30 pm we started thinking about an accommodation and asked God to show us something or someone. Simeon suggested to look for a place to sleep at a spot with a nice sunset view. When we walked in this direction a big Ugandan family called us to them. After a short talk we told them about our tour and asked for a roof to sleep under. Therafter they brought Godwill, the pastor of the close-by church. He was very happy about our visit and received us with the words: „Whoever welcomes a guest in my name, welcomes me."
Immediately he offered us to spend the night there. He told us about the church and how much it has to fight against witchcraft and the rejection of the islam. Hence we prayed for him and the church right away. After a Chapati-dinner with candle light a security boss called us outside. Apparently he needed our documents to grant our security for which we had already sacrificed 10.000 UGX. A little worried that they now called the whole village for a gathering around the church we just remained in constant prayer. Trusting on his protection we layed down on the hard soily ground and expected a cold night.
After a surprisingly quiet night we got amazed by an amazing view the next morning started the day with a devotion by Noemi. With gratefulness in our luggage we continued up the mountain.
Whilte Godwill told us that the Sippifalls are still a 2-hours walk away, we were told by ranger, after about two hours walking that it would be impossible; he wouldn't give us way through the National park without a guide or money. We returned and took a different route.
Up on the mountain we first took a break with Mandasi. There we were welcomed by a muslim chairman. He immediately started a religious discussion and wanted that we get converted to Muslims. We told him instead of our faith and were even allowed to pray for him.
The first „Bazungu“ (whites)
continued following the pathways which have - supposing - never been walked on by white people before. Hence we were the main attraction for the locals in the surrounding villages and especially for the children. In almost every village we were welcomed by the chairman. When the evening hours started we asked in a village for an accommodation and were transferred to the chairman. In a small idyllic village at the bottom of the mountain we were welcomed by a friendly chairman and the counsellor of the subcounty. They offered us the church and also another room for the night. When we entered this warm cosy room with sofas, we immediately decided to stay there. We even had a bucket shower and the wife of the chairman cooked rice for us. While we were thinking how we could get most comfortable on the floor they even brought us mattresses. What a blessing!
After a warm and cosy night our host woke us up and wanted to bless us with a breakfast right away. But because it was pretty late already we wanted to get moving quite soon.
When we wanted to give this family money for accommodation and food, our host rejected it to our surprise. None of us had ever experienced such beautiful hospitality before! At the end the lady host asked us to bless this house and so we were able to thank the Lord and speak out His blessing over the house.
Full with new strength and energy we walked through forests and villages. Still not knowing the distance of our destination we started climbing the so far steepest part of the mountain. Despite the perfect hiking weather we arrived dipped in sweat on the top of the mountain. After a short break taking deep breaths it started pouring rain but gladly we had found somewhere to hide from the rain already. We continued happily and yet another rainfall caught us on the way. This time we hadn't such comfort but it didn't hinder us to make a capella worship in a cow stable measuring one square meter. The continuous way was accordingly muddy which made it tricky for the way down. Back at the bottom of the mountain it was starting to get dark and we were very exhausted. Everyone just wanted to get to an accommodation as fast as possible, but God didn't give us peace to stay in this village. So we continued marching another twenty minutes until we had reached the „center“. It was already dark when we were searching for the desired lodge. But the room that was expecting us was just a pit hole. To reach it we had to walk through a dark room with only our phone lights, which door was hidden behind a shelf. Rubbish was everywhere. The rooms had no doors but were just separated by old curtains. We still wanted to make the best out of it and tried to prepare the room for the night, while our hosts went to get bedsheets. When they came back they told us they had a better room for us and brought us to a near-by clay cottage. We sighed gladly. Although the five of us had to squeeze in one small room, we still preferred this to the other one.
The next morning we took breakfast at an idyllic tiny river which we discovered behind the house. Our destination, the Sippi Falls, were still quite a few kilometers away so we decided to take a boda that takes us there. In this touristic place we appreciated the freedom of the last days. The relaxed tour to the different water falls was exactly the right measure of exhaust after the past days. Back in the civilization we also got to enjoy the local coffee.
The last accomodation
In prayer we had the impression that we should look for our accommodation in a certain direction. On the way there an African came to us and spontaneously invited us to a holiday apartment with a warm shower, beds and electricity which would only cost 6$. Quite unbelieving we followed him on a humpy pathway down a steep hill. Absolutely stunned by such a simple but innovatively constructed shower with warm water and a self-built toilet seat we got a completely new picture of Africans. Also the meal was typically african and yet was so different and such a welcome contrast to our last days' chapati meals, which had been inevitable.
The evening was ending with a camp fire, great fellowship and prayer. We enjoyed the night in each our own beds very much. In the morning we were surprised by an amazing view on the Sippi Falls as well as an amazing breakfast offering a variety.
We started our way back to Kiyunga. Before we stepped back onto the Land of Hope (VfA) we ended the journey as we had started it in Mbale: with a prayer circle. We are full of gratefulness for what God has done in the last days. God has provided for us every day what we needed and with even more than that. We were experiencing that it is well to rely on his plans because he has the master plan and the overview. As an example, we were able to bless different people financially and still were able to buy ourselves something and made it at the end with the exact 200.000 UGX.
It was just amazing to see how God had prepared everything and how we could walk under his divine protection.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this! Psalm 37:5
This verse had encouraged us and we were allowed to see how it came to pass. Trusting in him is always worth it.