Bussi Island, Uganda
By the end of our time with Pastor Timothy the team had been through so many new experiences. We knew we would have a day off when we reached our next destination and we were ready for it! The next stop was the city of Entebbe where we meet with a couple named Brent and Virginia Earwicker. They are a young couple who are in their late twenties and have lived in Uganda for 2 years as missionaries. They just had a son in the past year, his name is Josiah. Their ministry is focused on reaching the islands of Lake Victoria.
Our first night with Brent and Virginia was a full of luxuries. The first thing we all did was line up to take a shower. The shower conditions is Katosi weren’t horrible, I had experienced taking bucket showers in Honduras on another trip, but water wasn’t so easy to come by so we managed for as long as we could with wet wipes. Four days without a shower was pushing a bit. After showering we had pizza… yes pizza… amazing pizza at that! Then we went to an internet café where I was able to call home and talk to my mother and grandmother. It was great to hear from home, it always is. We ended the night with ice cream from the Shell station across from the café. We spent the night vegging out before we left the next morning for the islands.
We loaded all the supplies that we were going to need for the next 10 days (packs, mats, tents, cooking supplies and food) into the long wooden fishing boat that would take us to the island. After a 45min ride the shores of Busse Island was in our site. Brent told us that Jesus lives at Bussi Island and he said that we would understand when we got there. Bussi Island is the home of Osanidde Orphanage. Osanidde is pronounced “oh- sunny-day” and means “God is worthy” in Lugandan – the national language of Uganda. We were greeted while still about 15 yards away from the shore by about 60 children singing and dancing for us. Once we reached the bank the children rushed to unload the boat carrying all our belongings on their heads to the campgrounds. Children the age of 7 or 8 doubling up and carrying our packs which were at that point well over 20 kilos each on their heads! What a welcome!
The orphanage takes care of 161 children. Out of all the orphanages and schools that I have visited this was by far the most cared for establishment that I have seen. There are 10 mamas who run the heads of the houses, and then there are 4 uncles who function as teachers, fathers, nurses and any other thing that needs attention. I guess I should say that 3 of the uncles are married to 3 of the mamas and the other single uncle lives in a separate cottage. One amazing statistic is that 80% of the population of the islands of Lake Vitoria is HIV positive, but only one of the 161 children who came to Osanidde has tested positive for the virus. The men and women of Osanidde have given their lives to these children and have been in constant prayer for their health and well being. I believe that it is not just a coincidence, but that many of the children were healed by God.
I wish that I could share how it feels to be around these children, but it is only something that can be experienced. The kids at Osanidde are special, they know how blessed they are to be so loved and for that reason they show the same love in return. Throughout my entire time in Africa I have yet to find a group of people, including adults, which have such a heart for God as these children. One thing that blows my mind is that they assemble themselves, the older one assisting the younger ones, each morning at 5:30am and again at 6:30 in the even to have “chapel.” They gather together in the dining hall to pray and to sing, not just out of obligation, but out of their amazing love for God. The first night we were there for chapel I just sat and cried uncontrollably in the middle of all these children as they poured out their hearts to their Father. It was the closest picture of heaven that I have ever seen or will ever see.