Holiday. Three weeks. Rest? Not so much.
In David Family we had gardens to weed. The rains had started around mid-term so we planted. The crops flourished as the rains continued, but so did the weeds.
Once the first term ended the kids weren’t waking before dawn for school, but they were still up early every morning with hoes raised high then aimed expertly at invading roots. Finally, the gardens were declared clean and the reward came.
Four days at New Hope’s beloved Musana Camps on the shores of Lake Victoria!
David Family has a unique legacy with Musana Camps. We were the first family group to camp on the site.
We were there before the papers for the purchase of the land were finalized, before any buildings stood or even plans drawn for them, before the water fall was discovered, before the beach was cleared. David Family pitched tents, hauled water about a half kilometer uphill, chose thick clumps of bushes for guys and girls separate latrines and bath “houses” and explored all over the uninhabited hills and shore. That was 2008.
This year was our fourth visit.
Every David Family arrival at Musana Camps brings ooo’s and aah’s. The development never ceases. New latrines and bath houses, water delivery systems, staff housing, smokeless kitchens, a well-stocked canteen, meeting structures, obstacle courses, game areas, clean and cleared beaches, permanent tents on cement slabs and most recently the beginning of permanent cabins are just some of the things we witnessed this time.
We availed ourselves of as much as we could in our four days there! With bus parked, we ran to every activity! In daylight we traipsed to the beach two afternoon’s for swimming, jumping, volleyball and canoeing. The second afternoon yielded a waterfall hike and the joy of getting doused by either the waterfall itself or a friend! The campfire each night was lively as Aunt Hannah led us in our favorite camp songs, “A Moose Named Fred” (who liked to drink his juice in bed) and “Flee, Fly, Mosquito!” (itchy itchy scratchy scratchy, I think I got one on my backy). Fun and games with Justine, one of our older daughters, and spontaneous dances by others meant the laughter and crazy antics continued until lights out.
Early mornings were spent in personal devotions overlooking the majestic, sparkling waters of Lake Victoria, the second largest body of fresh water in the world. During mid-mornings through lunch both the Dangers and Jacksons led us in the practicalities of living out manhood and womanhood. We didn’t just sit in our chairs for this portion of our week! We became part of the lesson as some girls dressed up in borrowed clothes to communicate certain attitudes for the rest of the girls to identify. The boys learned the hands-on value of working together and supporting one another on an 11 ft. tall, bare wall at the obstacle course.
And a special treat this trip was the addition of Kakulu, Brian and Kakande, residents of our special needs program. They were carried to the beach on ATVs and Kakulu and Brian were helped in their “swimming” by being held in inner tubes. Kakande ran, jumped and splashed in the waves and a smile never left his face. All three paddled out in the canoes hoping to NOT see the reported resident crocodile. (No siting this trip, thankfully.)
Though broad smiles and deep appreciation for an overall great time can still be heard from the kids, the most talked about activity of the week was the “Mystery Dinner.”
The mystery was not in what you ordered, but in what was delivered to the table. We could all “read” the three course menu–it was in English, but we had no idea of the actual interpretation of what we’d asked for until the plates were set in front of us.
Shrieks, laughter, squeals and “ewwwww!” rang out across the dining hall throughout the meal! Each time a new plate was delivered crowds ran to the recipient to either rejoice or moan! Some got their cake first! Sounds great, huh? But, what if your first plate was not just cake, but cake and . . . fish soup! And to eat it you’re given utensil was a knife??? Some fared a bit better, but none could say their meal was “normal.” All had a great time!
There is one thing that quite possibly rivals the Mystery Dinner in the memories of some. The all staff, all David Family WATER FIGHT!!!!! With Uncle Nathan’s generator-powered water hose pummeling human targets no one was either safe or dry! Two hours of running, dodging, soaking and getting soaked made for a good sleep that night!
Our four days at Musana were full and rich. For some it was their first time, but for all it was their best time. Musana Camps uniquely enhances the lives of children who, without New Hope Uganda, would probably never experience such a gem in their own country.
Written by Mary Britton, David Family associate.
Photo credit: Musana Camps. To see more photos visit Musana Camps’ Facebook page. (You don’t need an account to access).