Locals “Choose Joy” at New Hope Uganda

Since 1988, New Hope Uganda has cared for over 1,000 orphaned and abandoned children, building family and bringing home through the love of Christ.

By Laurie MacKay

Posted July 27, 2012

Since 1988, New Hope Uganda has cared for over 1,000 orphaned and abandoned children, building family and bringing home through the love of Christ. In 2009, New Hope Uganda’s desire to bring the fatherhood of God to the fatherless and prevent the creation of future orphans birthed a new venture … Musana Camps. Located on the shores of Lake Victoria, Musana Camps works with children’s centers, churches, schools, and other organizations caring for fatherless children. Musana Camps strives to see people encounter God’s truth and live transformed lives.

Sid Sparks and his family live at Musana Camps. He is originally from Bowman, ND and is the son of Donald and Judy (DuCharme) Sparks and grandson of Cliff and Ruth DuCharme of Baker and Goldie Sparks of Plevna. With this local connection, so begins the story of Musana Camps of Uganda, Africa, and the Trinity Lutheran Parish of Baker, MT, USA.

After Sid and his family were invited to come and speak at the American Lutheran Church about his mission and dream of Musana Camps, an idea of Pastors Bruce and Reba Kolasch began forming of an adult mission trip to Uganda, Africa. It didn’t take long for the dream to catch fire, and so after many inquiries the idea became a reality.

June 13, 2012, at 5 a.m., twelve members of the New Hope Uganda Mission Team left on a bus to Denver, CO to begin the long flight halfway around the world to Africa. Members of the team were John and DeeDee Geving, Pastors Bruce and Reba Kolasch, Laurie MacKay, Robin Menger, Buster Pickett, Rod and Patti Morris, JoDee Pratt, Roy and Melissa Rost. Many left with excitement mixed with a little bit of anxiousness and hope that they could make a difference, in their hearts.

Part of the mission was to transport large plastic totes filled with many things that would help with construction as well as personal items needed at the camps in Uganda, but not easily accessible. Along with the team members’ own luggage, 25 totes/boxes/bags were also loaded on the chartered bus headed to Denver International Airport.

The flight from Denver to London was delayed from 8:00 p.m. to 3:45 a.m. the next day because there was a medical emergency so the group with the team theme, “Choose Joy” in our heads, had an additional seven hours to find a comfortable position to sleep. (Not sure why they put arm rests below seats in airports, as it makes it impossible to lay down except on the floor.) We arrived at Heathrow Airport in London to very cloudy and foggy skies. We made our connecting flight by about 15 minutes before boarding the next long flight to Entebbe, Uganda. There is nine hours difference from Baker to Entebbe so we left Denver at 3:45 a.m. June 14 and landed at Entebbe at 7:15 a.m. June 15.

We loaded into Sid’s Land Rover and a chartered bus, which was a bit delayed due to the driver going to the wrong camp before picking us up. We experienced our first taste of the wonderful fruit in Africa at breakfast at the Airport Guest House Hotel.

On the way to Musana Camps, we traveled through Kampala which is a very large city made up of 3.5 million people. There were many small businesses and markets which lined the streets. In the streets were bicycles, cars, buses, motorcycles, and many people walking. We exchanged our currency there and picked up a few items at the grocery store at a small mall there. There were many styles of dress in the city, most wore very nice clothes. It was noted that many wear their nice clothes to work and then change into work clothes when they arrive and reverse it when they return home at the end of the day.

We left the city and as we traveled through the more rural area, we began to notice children yelling, running toward the bus, and waving at us. They were saying mongoloos, which means white people. They were very friendly. Later, we found some of us were waving by closing our hand, which means come in Lugandan, the main language of the people. Most of the houses in the small villages and country did not have windows or doors, and had dirt floors. Most were made with either a mud stucco-like substance or handmade bricks which were formed and fired in handmade ovens which we saw along the roads.

The roads to the camp were very rough with large washouts.

We arrived at the camp after dark. It gets dark there about 8:00 p.m. Our hosts served us dinner and gave us the use of a hot shower the first night. It felt good after the hours of travel, approximately nine hours on the bus, 18 hours on the plane, and another five hours on the bus. We settled into our tents for a night’s rest.