God's story in Africa

We Go, We Go, Uganda Cranes We Go June 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hanbeatty @ 9:13 am

Saturday we got to go to the Uganda Cranes soccer match. It was my first international match or pro match for that matter. There’s really no comparison to the atmosphere. Out of all of the football games I have attended in my life I can’t think of any that compare. It was loud the whole game and people were constantly chanting something. I got to experience vuvuzuelas first hand before, during, and after the match. They’re good during a match, but any other time they’re just annoying pieces of plastic trash. I would like to explain to you how the game went, but that would be boring so I’ll just say the Cranes defeated Guinea-Bissau 2-0. I can’t say that it was the best soccer I’ve seen, but the outcome made the atmosphere so much more exciting. See the slide show below and follow this link to see what I was talking about.
Next week will probably be my last post since I leave for home next Wednesday. It’ll be tough to tell this place bye, but hopefully there will be opportunities to return.

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Farming God’s Way May 30, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hanbeatty @ 2:35 pm

Today Jess, Pat, and I took a break from the Sister Connection project and went out to a rural area around the village of Mwera. EMI did a project for Come, Let’s Dance out there last July. The main objective of the trip was to lay out for them what to plant and where to put it for a vocational school. Come, Let’s Dance got started on this about 8 months ago and graduated their first class today. They graduated 6, but it has potential to explode with students. Once people see what came up out of 2 acres and what will happen when the acreage triples the students will pour in.
Come, Let’s Dance uses a method that’s gaining ground in Uganda and East Africa called Farming God’s Way. Here’s the link for more info. It combines careful and purpose-driven farming with many biblical principles. I’ll spare the details, but it’s pretty interesting and useful stuff. Hopefully it’ll change the ways Ugandans farm and yield more crops reducing the poverty line. Come, Let’s Dance is also pretty great. Here’s the website. Check’em out!

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“You’re very African” May 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hanbeatty @ 8:38 am

Sorry for not posting last week. There hasn’t been much to talk about that’s worthy of wasting your time. Things are running very smoothly for our project. There have been very few, if any setbacks. All that just reassures us that we’re doing this work for God and the widows of Burundi.
Yesterday was the busiest day I’ve had since being in Uganda. I felt like an American or a chicken with it’s head cut off. First Jess and I decided to head to our grocery store for our weekly supplies and lunch. We had to be back by noon so we took bodas back. After greeting my boda driver in Lugandan and shaking his hand the way they do here, he told me “You’re very African. How long have you been here?” I found this encouraging since the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on simple phrases and greetings. My next goal is to learn a Lugandan song.
Jess and I got back in time to load a matatu with some of the staff’s families and head out to Lake Victoria for family photo shoots. Daniel got this idea after talking with a local friend of his that told him that he couldn’t remember what his father looked like since he died a few years back. The friend had no way of remembering him so Daniel got this all organized. We had a great time hanging out with all of the staff and their families. It was fun to see the kids warm up to us slowly but surely. I really like how shy the kids are here. It’s challenging to get them to goof off with you.
We finished up the photo shoot and a few hours later went to Heritage for their school play “Cool in the Furnace.” Many of my players were in it so it was enjoyable. I can’t say I’m much of a play or musical person, but having them there made it good. Unfortunately that might be the last time I get to see many of those kids since we ended practice this week and school ends in about 2. That’s about all I got. Make sure you look down at the slideshow. The pictures from yesterday are in it. Have a blessed week!

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Dixie’s in the Heart of Me May 1, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hanbeatty @ 10:59 am

I apologize for not posting last week. I was on safari in Queen Elizabeth Park in southwestern Uganda and didn’t get back until Monday. We had a great time, a great driver, and a great Toyota Land Cruiser. We were able to get up close and personal with lions, elephants, kob, water buffalo, and warthogs. We also got to see the lions stalking kob and buffalo, but no kills which are a pretty rare thing. I was able to get some pretty good photos which will be posted below and in later posts.

Now on to something more important. Since Thursday there’s been a lot going on. When I sat down in front of my computer on Thursday morning I got a message from one of the interns in Colorado who graduated from Alabama in December. She told me that Tuscaloosa had been hit pretty hard by a storm Wednesday evening and to let her know if I needed her to get in touch with anybody. While in school at Alabama I had witnessed some pretty bad storms (Ivan and Katrina), but there were none where somebody had asked me if they could contact folks for me to see if they were okay. So instantly panic set in and unfortunately the internet at the office was either not working or not fast enough. That hour or so was probably one of the most agonizing moments of my life. Finally when the internet decided to work my homepage, MSN popped up and I saw a pretty gut-wrenching picture of 15th Street and they were reporting over 150 deaths. It gave no detail as to if this was in Tuscaloosa alone or if it was a total for the entire storm. I didn’t feel like wasting my time with national media so I went straight to the Tuscaloosa News’ webpage ( and what I saw was nasty. If there were no captions on the pictures I wasn’t able to identify where they were taken. The devastation was indescribable. There were cars embedded in piles of rubble, fires blazing out of control, and people standing with their heads hung low. It looked like something you would see in those apocalyptic movies where a nuclear bomb had detonated or something. Thankfully seeing these pictures calmed me down for some reason and I was able to get some work done until about 6 a.m. central time rolled around. It was a relief to get to talk to some folks and see the ones I didn’t get to talk to post something on Facebook. I never thought I would be so happy to see some of my friends post things just so I could know they were okay. I was pretty fortunate that none of my family or friends were injured nor sustained any major property damage. That was definitely a blessing, because I don’t think I could have stayed in Uganda had one of my friends been severely injured.

Also on Thursday a candidate from this past presidential election and leader of protests against high gas and food prices was beaten and taken to jail. He was headed to the bank and police and special government forces surrounded his car. He refused to get out because he was only going to the bank. Some little Museveni henchman came up to car and started busting the glass with the butt of his pistol. They then sprayed the car full of pepper spray. When the opposition leader and his crew could no longer take the spray they would open the doors and were instantly ripped out of the car by policemen and beaten until they were thrown into the beds of police trucks. The opposition leader had already been beaten once when he left his compound earlier in the month leaving him with a broken hand and swollen head. These injuries though did not stop the police from giving him the worst of the beatings. After being released from jail the opposition leader’s crew drove him 12 hours to Nairobi where he would receive proper medical attention. This misbehavior by the police led to riots on Friday. People were throwing things into the street and setting up the flaming barricades. The police took even more rash action than the day before and started shooting live rounds into crowds in addition to tear gas. It looks like things might be getting dicey here in Kampala. Hopefully though we’ll be able to finish our semester and enjoy the rest of our time in Uganda. I think the opposition leader will be out for a while, but if he comes back I think things might get pretty violent. I ask that you pray for Uganda and that this violence cease and desist and that no more people are beaten or shot. I think it would be great if Museveni’s heart gets softened and that he sees how his people are suffering because the prices are so high for so many things. I did not write this so that y’all would worry about me. Don’t do that. God’s taking care of us. I think it’s good for people to know how politics are in Africa and while there may be many Christians here it still needs our prayers. I also ask that you continue to pray for Tuscaloosa and do what you can to help (I can get you in touch with people). It’ll be a while before she’s back on her feet.

At the Equator outside of Musaka



Sunset from our room


Sipi Falls and Things I Take for Granted April 17, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hanbeatty @ 9:31 am

Upper fall

Sorry about not posting last week. We had an intern weekend at Sipi Falls and didn’t come back until Monday. My project work has been fairly busy so I didn’t really have time to get something written up this past week.

As I mentioned we went to Sipi Falls last weekend. The day started off with a drive to Nakawa taxi park to find a mataatu that was taking a direct route to Kapchorwa. Otherwise we would have had to take a bus that was stopping in a small town and then try to find someone to drive us to the place we were staying.We were fortunate to find one of the few mataatus headed to Kapchorwa. The only problem was that two of the guys and I were going to have to sit in the front bench seat. This may sound like it should be no problem; however, it’s probably the worst seats on the bus. Most of the benches hold 3 people. Our bench held 4 because the conductor sat up there with us. The other problem is that there is no leg space because the motor sits right in front of you. My leg space did not extend beyond my knees and there wasn’t really any other place to put my legs to get my knees stretched out. So after 5 and a half hours of not moving my knees and having barely enough shoulder space we made it to our destination, Sipi River Lodge.

Sipi River Lodge is A1 in my book. It was pretty nice. We got 3 meals a day, had little huts to ourselves for only $50 a night, and we were right on the river between the middle and lower falls. This was quite a welcomed break from Kampala, especially since I’m not a city girl. We hiked up to the middle fall when we got there and came back for a rest from the mataatu ride. So after a relaxing evening and a great night’s sleep where the only noise you could hear was the faint rush of the middle waterfall we went hiking to the lower and upper falls. We started out with the lower falls in the morning. This was pretty great because we got to cut through some farms and saw some folks working or just hanging out. We also got to go through some caves which wasn’t my most favorite thing since I get a bit claustrophobic. The lower fall was very beautiful and extremely cold. It was also pretty wet down there due to the wind whirling around there.

Lower Fall

 The afternoon hike to the upper fall was by far my favorite. We went through a lot of farmland and through some villages or clusters of houses. It’s really pretty up there and the people were so nice. They actually just wanted to talk to you and weren’t trying to get money out of you like so many are in Kampala. It was such a great hike and just a great weekend overall. Oh, I forgot to mention that our guide took us out Sunday evening to see the sun set. It was awesome. Then it was back to the real world on Monday when we headed back to Kampala. The guy who drove us to Mbale to catch the bus to Kampala overcharged us a bit. He told us he was going to fight us if we didn’t give him the amount he wanted so instead of going to jail we met him half-way and then got on the bus which was better but still not fun. I had a guy sitting in the aisle for the most part sitting on my lap. So this (public transportation) and a dream I had last night about a washer and a dryer leads me to talk about the things that I take for granted back home.

Top of the middle fall

I’ll just make a list since I’m engineer. It’ll make things easier for me.

Things I take for granted back home:

  1. My car. Public transportation is about to kill me. I’m one of those people who only stops when the gas tank is getting low and I like to drive over 70 mph instead of 40 mph. It takes too long to get places.
  2. Washer and dryer. It’s the rainy season now and it takes a day or two for your clothes to dry out. Plus the washer and dryer don’t stretch your clothes.
  3. Televised sporting events. It’s baseball season right now and I can’t watch any games because espn3 doesn’t work here.
  4. Ceiling fans. I didn’t have one in Vicksburg either, but I might go ahead and consider that place a third world country. Haha.
  5. Food. I love sandwiches and Mexican and Cajun food. I wish there were Hispanics in Africa because their food is good and my Spanish is deteriorating. Deli meat is expensive and you never know when the power will go out and the meat spoil.
  6. Radio or new music. I never thought I would want the radio so bad. There is a country station oddly enough in Kampala so when we ride in a hired car that’s what we listen to.
  7. Set prices. People try to screw you here like the driver in Mbale.
  8. People not staring at you. We get stared at a lot. I’ve started asking people “What’s up?” or “Do you need something?” when I see them staring at me.
  9. Running. People try to run with you and have a conversation. Many want a muzungu friend.

In no way am I in a bad mood or ready to leave or whatever. I just wanted to make a list and see how long it got. There are many things that I like here. I love how time is not that important and that they take their time doing things here. I’ve adapted well to that. I love how beautiful it is outside of the city. I love how respectful the children are and how happy they are to go to school. I love how the people love their country and are willing to openly criticize their president. I love how they will let us serve them and how they will serve us while we are working for them. It’s really great here, better than most think. I hope you all have a great week and also a great Easter and remember what it is for us. If there was no resurrection then we’d be a hopeless bunch who should be pitied by all. By the way, next week I’ll be on safari so there won’t be a post until the Sunday after next. God bless!!!

Sunset on the Ugandan plains


Our God is Stronger April 3, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hanbeatty @ 9:14 am

This past week I had been continuing the design work for the Sister Connection. Things are going rather smoothly, which is a surprise since AutoCAD always gives me trouble. I had two soccer games to coach this week along with a V.I.P. invitation to the Watoto Restore Tour: Child Soldier No More. Click here for a link to their website.

Heritage Lions team pic

I’ll start things off with the Restore Tour because it was so awesome and brought things to life for me. I was first introduced to the fact that children were used as soldiers in Africa while I was at Alabama thanks to the Invisible Children group there and last year I read the book “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier.” So I had been exposed to this stuff, but unfortunately paper can only do so much. Basically the show starts off with a video telling the audience how Uganda got its independence and how good things were for a couple of years. Eventually it goes to the civil war and tells a bit about Joseph Koni. This short history lesson is great for someone like me who is really into history, but still absolutely confused about what caused the civil war. After the video the children who are in the group (I forgot to mention that all of the children in the choir/actors were attacked by the rebels and were forced join the camp. They were either given a gun or a cooking utensil) began acting out what many people went through, like an attack on a village, life in rebel camp, etc. There was a lot of really good singing and dancing involved. At the end the children gave testimonies about what they themselves went through and forgave the people who wronged them. How powerful that is! I have the hardest time forgiving somebody who stuck their hand in my backpack to steal something. It just blows me away that the guy who saw his mother’s arms get chopped off and then shot in the back of the head can forgive the ones who did that. It really does show that our God is stronger. Only through God could forgiveness like that happen. If God wouldn’t have inspired the Watoto church to step up and make a difference in these young people’s lives and pretty much the whole northern section of Uganda there’s no telling how bad things might be there currently. Watoto not only helps the folks who went through the ordeal but they’re actually rebuilding the whole city of Gulu. It’s a great ministry God has put together and I encourage you to look them up and see what all they have going on.

On to soccer or futbol as it’s called here. I really haven’t talked about it much, but I’ve been coaching a U-11 boys soccer team since February. I joined up after a week or two after their first game which I got to see. The result was not pretty. They went down 8-0 and did not play as a team; however, throughout the season they gelled pretty well together and won 2 games and had 1 tie up until this Thursday. On Thursday we had a game that we had to win to get into the championship game. The boys played really hard and had an unfortunate goal scored on them on a corner kick so we went into halftime down 2-1. They continued to play hard and be aggressive and got the goal back. Things stayed pretty even until there were about 7 or 8 minutes left in the game. One of our guys was able to break loose and scored the goal to go up. After that we hung on and had some great saves from our little keeper. That qualified us for the championship game on Saturday against the team that had beat them 8-0. When Saturday rolled around the boys were really excited and pretty focused. They gave it their all, but we had some unlucky shots on goal and of course the other team had the ball bounce their way. We lost 4-1, but I couldn’t be prouder of these boys had they won. They made so much progress throughout the season and were willing to listen to the other coach and me. I couldn’t have asked for a better team. That about wraps up all the excitement of the week. Next weekend I’ll be out of town so the next update may be a little late. God bless!



Getting Water March 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hanbeatty @ 5:59 am

Not a whole lot went on this week since we were recovering from the Burundi trip. To make up for that Jess and I made a video about hauling water. It can be seen here.