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Reports from the Mission Team en Route to Uganda
by iNet News M
Solar Light for Churches of Africa
source: SolarQuest®

Kampala, Uganda •• July 29, 1999 •• SolarQuest® iNet News Service ••

Reports prior to landing in Uganda

Pat Swenson:

I am very excited to get to Africa. We are getting closer and closer. I wish that I wasn't so tired, then I would enjoy it more.

I have met many people on this trip so far. The people I have met are from all across the U.S. Joe, he is from California, and Simon from Pittsburg, Colin from Alabama, and Barbara from Pittsburg amongst others. They are interesting people and I'm enjoying getting to know them. I don't have any questions, or disappointments. My expectations are to have a fun, safe trip. I haven't had any surprises yet, but I don't mind them.

Jack Ssemanda:

We're flying over the Nile River in East Africa. In an hour or two my mission team shall land in Entebbe, Uganda. I am so excited to help the Africans, and so eager to start my mission work. I'm on a mission from God to help the Africans, and to help them install solar energy in their facilities. Questions of fear come to mind; I wonder if the Africans will accept me into there society, if they'll like me because of my different background. I pray to God to show me all of the answers and to help me become a good missionary.

Heather Hutchinson:

I know I haven't, but I feel as though I've been awake for two days. The state of not knowing what time it is, or how much longer the sun will be up is bewildering, I think. I feel alright, through. It is exciting, knowing we are flying over Africa.

Gary Slifkey:


The journey be long!
The dream be bear
The vision be at hand
The wait be an eternity
The day be forever
The excitement be all around
The nervousness be real
The destination be here
The hope becomes a reality
The world becomes conquerable
The culture becomes present
The mission becomes alive

I become " energized"
Before Africa

Jason Wright:

I have been very pleased with the people that I have met so far. It is always very interesting to see how people react when they are forced to get along. I know personally that it can be a challenge. Since I just finished the Police Academy, I have had command presence frilled into my head. Police officers do what it takes to control and be in control of the situation at all times. This situation is obviously different, but it is still a little awkward. I like to watch other people adapt to change. I had to do it through the four years I was in the Coast Guard, so I know the frustrations that can take place. "Life is a series of trade-offs." That's all I keep in mind. It will be interesting to see what I will be writing in two and one-half weeks.

Alexandra Popoff:


First Impressions: Absolutely love it. The people are all wonderful, I see friendships being built and I hope to build lasting ones of my own. Bishop Hathaway is a warm, wonderful, inspiring man. And his son is the spitting image. I love Mary Hathaway, his granddaughter. Too cute! I can't wait for the mission to begin, I think we all have a great experience on hand.

Thoughts and Feeling: It's hard to believe I am actually doing this. Even as the day approached, it still hadn't sunk in, and now, as I am about to deplane into Entebbe, it still hasn't. I have no idea really what to expect, but I'm not scared. Very excited though. I'm itching to start working. I am nervous about the heat, I'm not good in hot weather but I think I will survive. Right now I am extremely tired. I just want to sleep without getting a horrible crick in my neck. Oh yeah, I,m sick of plane food too.

Anyway, I'm praying for good luck and may God bless us all.

Monica Rohrs:

When I found out that we were flying over Egypt I looked out of the airplane window and realized how close we really were. It made it really click that this trip was coming true. The sleepless hours of flying have made me tired but have given me the time to meet and get to know some of the amazing people that are on this trip with me. It's also given me the time to think about what lays ahead. I'm excited, nervous and very curious. I'm interested in finally seeing this place I've heard about and meeting the people that will be working along with the rest of our trip. I can't wait, we're almost there.

Matthew Richardson:

I am really tired now. These last two days have blended together into one. I hope they allow us to get a lot of sleep tonight. I am not really sure when night is anymore. My eys see the sun set and rise and tell me one thing. I think it is trying to tell me that it doesn't care where the sun is, it just wants to sleep. And my watch, which is set to some time zone somewhere, is telling me something else. But, in spite of my tiredness, I am happy to be here and am enjoying getting to know my team members.

Sean Jecko:

I've really enjoyed getting to know all of the mission team members over the past three days. Each person is uniquely equipped to share the gospel of Christ. As we draw nearer to Entebbe, I think the level of anticipation is rising. We all have questions about Africa, its culture, and its people. We are all wondering what type of experiences we will have and what kind of legacy we will leave. The sooner we get there the better. Travelling with the group has been fun, but I also cannot wait to see what is in store for us in Uganda.

Teresa Hansen:

It's nothing like two good 7-hour plane rides to make you get over your fear of flying. Thanks to some skillful takeoffs and landings, lots of motion sickness medicine and a lot of encouragement, my first accomplishment of this trip is that I am no longer afraid to fly.

It's kind of hard to believe that just 24 hours ago we were waiting in Newark Airport bonding as a group and anticipating our arrival in Africa. Now we are tow hours away from our destination and ready for a good nights sleep before a sure-to-be-eventful 2 weeks.

Personally, I can't wait to meet our Ugandan counterparts as they have been called. It should be as interesting to hear their story of coming together as it will be to share ours.

To all my family and friends at home: I love you and miss you!! Keep me in your prayers and thanks so much.

Cassie Nielsen:

Well we have now all been through three days of traveling. With long flights and a 5 hour layover Brussels Belgium. We have all spent many hour's sleepless, busy getting to knowing each other and full of anticipation

I was amazed to see how well we fit together so quickly. I feel we have really begun to bond as a group and am looking forward to looking forward to meeting or other half of our group, the Ugandan's. Right now I am filled with many emotions, anticipation, nervousness, wonderment and many more, but I think I would have to say that excitement wins out. I am so excited to experience this culture, share the gospel, and give these people light.

Barbara Michell:

So for I am having the time of my life! It's been really great talking with all the youth and the shaperrones traveling with me. Even though it was just a few days ago that I met everyone for the first time, already they have made me feel so welcomed and so comfortable.

Now with less then a half an hour before our arrival to Uganda I'm still not really sure how I feel. I'm half excited, half nervous. I'm not exactly sure what to expect, but I am prqayi8ng that everything goes well.

Art Whaley:

It's been more then 17hr's since we left Newark… I don't even want to try to figure out how much time it has been since I last seen a bed.

Most of the past two days have been spent waiting for the plane to arrive for the plane to board for the plane to take off and for the plane to land. But the whole time there is a broader sense of waiting. We don't know whats about to happen, but it's big.

Right now we are flying over Africa. We can't see it through dence clowds, but it's down there. It's strange to just sit and think "WOW THAT'S AFRICA"

Simon Setcavage:


For being on a plane for 15 of the last 24 hours, I feel pretty good. Jet lag hit me hardly at all and now my excitement of actually getting close to Africa and Uganda is covering any tiredness that I should have. After all the months of waiting, at last the time has finally come to step off the plane - the final one and meet the Ugandan Country. All my expectations and hopes and even fears will be recognized in the next few hours.

Charlene Turner:

It is now 1800 hours Ugandan time. Our flight from Newark lifted off about 17 hours and 50 minutes ago. I haven't slept since Monday night. Frankly, I don't feel wonderful, right now. I am very excited though. My brain isn't working well quite well enough to fully take in that I am actually in Africa right now, but I'm sure that after a good nights sleep in the Namirembe Guest House, I'll be ready to go and excited as ever. I've gotten to know several people fairly well and I've gotten to know everyone a little bit better. I thrilled that I'm about to set foot in Africa, but right now, the foremost thing in my mind is sleep. By my calculations, I will have been up roughly 35 hours straight by the time I get to go to bed.

It's so very exciting to see the relationships building with the kids since we left Newark. Everyone is from a different place with a different background, yet I see a team quickly forming and it is beautiful. We are all so ready to be landing in Uganda.

Alden Hathaway, II:


We left at 11:00 AM in the morning, but as I had not slept on the earlier flight it seemed particularly long. I struggle to stay awake so that I may sleep tonight after we reach Uganda.

The kids have been great on this trip, although we have had fewer discussions on this flight because most of us couldn't stay awake on this flight including myself. I am keeping myself awake now by drawing pictures of animals and places we will see for the two youngest members of our group: Mary and Elizabeth.

The weather outside is clear and we have been able to see Crete, the Egyptian coast and the Great Sahara Desert.

Although I should be excited, I am partly uneasy, because I know how much Ugandans will appreciate and honor us, yet I feel we are not doing enough.

Yes, we are the largest US delegation to visit Uganda, particularly noteworthy because of the number of students, yet I cannot help feeling the 75 solar lighting systems we will be leaving is insufficient for the love and gratitude Ugandans will show us. Considering that 97% of all Ugandans are without electricity, 75 facilities electrified is not even a drop in the bucket. It's all we are able to do, but I know materially its not enough.

I suppose my feelings are a bit like the poor widow may have felt at the gates to the temple in Jerusalem when she gave only a single coin, the widow's mite. It was all she had and although it probably made no difference in the budget for running the temple, the Lord knew the gift was sufficient spiritually.

I suppose that is the greater part of the gift we are bringing. Although materially our contribution is small, spiritually we are bringing hope for a nation.

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