uganda pt 2

I have had this journal entry saved as a draft for a while, but yesterday I found out that Sylvester passed away so I rearranged this post and wanted to get it up to celebrate his life and to thank him for welcoming us into his home and life. This first image below is Sylvester. He built the house he is sitting in front of in 1972. He is blind and donated the land for the well in the village Kisindizi. He had one of the sweetest spirits of anyone I have ever met and a chuckle that I can still hear. I was really looking forward to seeing him again next year but I am really grateful I was able to meet this man on my last trip. 

The woman below is Margaret and she is holding Suzanne. Margaret lives in Kinsidizi and has taken both of these girls who are orphaned. She is a kind, gracious and beautiful woman. The girl below them is Juliet

the pictures below are some of the beautiful people of Alimugonza. This was the first village that SoulThirst Africa installed a water well. We have been back to visit this village multiple times now and the people there have become our friends. To see the joy on these kids faces as they played in the water is an image I will never forget. 

The photos below are from the village of Katumba. In the first picture you can see the water that they are currently using for drinking, cooking and hygiene. This is the next village that SoulThirst Africa plans to install a water well. 

uganda pt 1

I just recently came back from my third trip to Uganda with SoulThirst Africa. Each of the trips I have previously been on have been extremely eye-opening and moving for me.  This trip was no different. The most shocking thing upon returning to the US is the poverty here in the States. The poverty I am talking about is spiritual poverty. While the material poverty in Uganda is shocking and often overwhelming the thing that blows me away is the amount of joy and peace the people of Uganda have. Here in the US we have everything (materialistically) we could ever  want yet there is discontentment and a lack of joy that is obvious. In Uganda the physical need is everywhere but there is still a sense of peace and joy that is palatable.

What I have decided to do is journal about my photos in groups. This first set of photos is the village of Kyriampunu and the road outside of the Kabalega Resort where we stay for the majority of the time we are in Uganda. A year and a half ago the people in the village of Kyriampunu did not have access to clean water. The water that they were previously using for hygiene, cooking and drinking was stagnant and often times dead animals could be found floating in it. They would remove the animals and continue to use the water. This village now has access to clean water from the water well constructed by SoulThirst Africa. The health of the children and the adults in this village has dramatically improved since the well was installed. 

In the mornings before or after breakfast I would often wander out onto the main road near where we were staying and just start walking. I really enjoyed this part of the day as I would often have spontaneous conversations and get to meet some of the locals. It was also a way for me to witness everyday life in Masindi. Below are some of my favorite images from my morning walks. The two boys featured first are Joshua and Patrick. They were riding this bike together across the road from me. They saw me and made a beeline across the street over to me with these huge smiles on their faces. They were waiting for me to say something. I said "hello" and their smiles got even bigger. They reached out their hands to shake. They spoke a little English but not much. They had so much joy and happiness and that is what has stuck with me ever since I met them. The two young children in the bottom photo are Asati and Ramadan. They lived in the house next to our hotel. Their mother did not want to be in the photo but asked that I send the photo to the manager of the hotel so that he could give it to her. When I showed her the photo of her children, she started to cry. These are some of the moments that I'll never forget. 

Anthony

I had a chance to go and take some pictures for my good friend Anthony Celia's album release show the other week. He had the release party at Frisco Crossfit where he is also a trainer.  He is the worship leader at Water's Edge Church in Frisco and is about about to start Seminary in the Fall. Anthony was one of the first people that I really connected with when I moved to Dallas. Though I don't see him as much as I would like to anymore, when I do get to hang out with him it is like no time has passed at all. He is one of the most genuine and humble people you will ever meet. You can download his new album "Flesh and Bones" here.

Juliana

A few weeks ago my niece had her final dance for the McKinney Cotillion. I had the opportunity to fill in for my brother as her date.  I originally thought cotillion was just about manners and which side of the plate to put your fork and napkin on so I was just expecting to have a nice dinner.  A few minutes before I walked out the door my wife Emily commented that I should be prepared to dance and I was completely caught off guard.  At that point there was no turning back.  I picked Juliana up about 15 minutes early so I could take some photos of her in her dress.  I was able to grab a few quick shots of her before the dance.  We had a lot of fun and she was a great model.  I’m pretty sure that I embarrassed her horribly at the dance due to my severe lack of rhythm. Luckily, there was another dad there busting out the running man and the robot during the Viennese Waltz and I bought her a chocolate milk shake on the way home to make up for any emotional scarring.