Friday, August 12, 2011


We had a great reunion with friends at the airport and then at our house. The flights in were great. We woke up to leave Uganda 44 hours before arriving back home. We slept in London for 4-5 of those hours. What a wild trip home. I could not be more proud of the family though. With every new obstacle they were flexible and resilient. They just took each new chapter in stride and without complaining. The two little ones acted as if they were just content to be together. They slept when they were supposed to and were generally quiet when they were awake. I know that in a few weeks and months time it will all be a blur, but  now we want to stop and remember what an incredible summer we had and journey back home and be grateful. Thank you for walking with us in bringing Zeke home and our summer work in Uganda.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Travel update while we are stuck in London

Here is the scoop for those of you who are glad you are not walking in our shoes.
*British Air was 1.5 hours late this morning
*I immediately got on the phone to the US United flight people at 7:30 a.m., talked with them, but the phone went out and I had to board. I was able to tell him the problem and he was working on it when the phone went out.
*We arrived in London 10 minutes before our United flight took off - goodbye USA.
*Zeke does not have a visa to enter London - questions about letting him so that we could arrange new flights. Called manager. Manager was born in Uganda - said: "give him 24 hours and put my name on it."
*I pleaded with the BA manager to show some mercy - he had none. Said to go take it up with United.
*Picked up our luggage and boarded the subway to go to the United terminal.
*United was closed for the day - no more flights anyway.
*We are tired, but everyone seems to be doing just fine.
Now it gets better...
I pursued until I found someone from United who was in the building.
She turned out to be an angel. In fact, I asked her if she was an angel, she blushed so I guess that means she was not one? Do angels blush? Well this one did.
*After much effort, she was able to locate us in the system and informed me that someone had already changed our tickets and we had flights out in the morning. My Uganda to America early morning phone call actually worked! SHOCK!
*This sweet lady said: "let me just come down and talk with you." She held our hand to find a place to store our bags, she reserved us a hotel at a cut rate, and walked us to the bus station and showed us which bus to get on. She was a gift from God I promise you.
*In conclusion: We are supposed to fly out tomorrow morning at 7:55 and will arrive in Chicago at 10:08 a.m. Then arrive in Greensboro at 2:45 p.m. on flight number UA3414S

Boy do we feel your prayers. Zeke and Zuri were amazing today and the rest of the kids weren't bad themselves! God's favor is upon us I keep reminding us. Now, I have no idea how much I am going to have to pay United tomorrow morning as I did not finish that conversation in Uganda, but nevertheless, it looks like we will be home soon instead of stuck in Entebbe or London.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

And the fun CHANGES begin-oh africa....

Arrived at the ticket counter with our tribe and mound of luggage. Entebbe British Air cannot access United Airlines tickets? On the way here it was fine. Now, we, and our bags, are ticketed only to London where we will have to claim our bags, go to the check in process again, and then go back through security, and all of this in less than two hours...

[moments later]...Scratch that. Our flight to London is now delayed at least one hour. So, we have less than an hour in a perfect world to go through that process. Needless to say, we are staying on London longer than we thought when we awoke this morning and we actually have no idea what flight(s) will get us back to Greensboro, Raleigh, Charlotte, Seatlle, WA.?

Who knows what the future holds? We may be in Greensboro when you awake and read this? We may be there in time for Labor Day Weekend? Nevertheless, we are together (all seven of us) and that makes it all worth it.

[hours later], this has been tough. My comment about the adventures of the Entebbe airport are coming idea what time we will be home, but we are about to board for London.

SURPRISE change of plans - we'll be home Thursday a.m. (anxiety is in the air)

Our plans have changed because we found out a few hours ago that Zeke will indeed have to acquire a visa to stay in London for a few days and there is no way for this to happen when we leave in 12 hours. We were led to believe that this would not be a problem, but thank the LORD I checked today just to make sure and I found out this new information. This change is unfortunately costing us a great deal of money and I (Jimmy) have been on a boda boda in Kampala riding around like a mad man trying to change our tickets and wrap up everything here in Uganda. United does not have a representative here.
So believe me I am thrilled that we can fly out tomorrow because if we miss this flight then it will be DAYS before we can leave here because it is high season. So this is the good news. We are so thankful that we were able to secure flights to connect in London and take us to Greensboro. This was no small feat and I am so very thankful. For a while, we were either going to be stranded here or stranded at customs in London.
The bad news is:
*We have to travel for 18 hours with a two hour stop in London with Zeke and Zuri who both have diarrhea.
*We have to spend the night in Newark.
*The past 8 hours have been our worst in Uganda and Jimmy is exhausted and worried about the cost of our return trip.
*The good news is that we are going to be in Greensboro on Thursday at 9:50 a.m on UN 4386.
Please pray for our journeys. We leave for the airport in less than 3 hours. 
**Not to be an alarmist, but also pray for Jimmy's leg as he has sustained some sort of bug bite that is causing him difficulty. We have believed that it is an African ant bite, but the swelling and pain has not changed in 48 hours. It is not spreading, but it is not getting better either. Many of you believe and have seen God heal physically. I ask you to pray for this and that it not be something that is alarming. 

Thank you for walking with us in this journey.
Jimmy (for the Renslow tribe)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mac Writing...

            The Lord has overwhelmed us blessings I could not fathom before this trip began. I did not think one family could go through such unique experiences on such a short notice. I did not even know we were planning this trip until less than a month before.  Our family has been so thankful for everything the Lord has given us and we will continue to praise Him for his great gifts. We have had experiences from high-speed 4-wheeling along the Nile River to relaxing rides along the Ugandan plains, watching giraffes feed on leaves and bushes. Riding bodas into Jinja to 10 hour car rides to some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen and probably will ever see. This trip has been completely surreal. The average day has been relatively boring, consisting of reading, watching movies, throwing lacrosse, played cards, and throwing football. Occasionally, we take the 40-cent boda ride into Jinja to eat at Ozzie’s and do some souvenir shopping at the local shops. I have changed a substantial amount spiritually with a whole bunch of time to read and be alone with the Lord. I am currently halfway through The Shack and have loved it so far. We have been blessed with two nice houses, my mom as a cook, and houses full of movies. It has been amazing seeing Zeke grow in our family and completely open up with his personality. At first, he was a stone. No one could faze him especially while he is eating. The more time we spend with him, the more he laughs, plays, and chases Zuri around the house. Zuri has loved being the older sister, babying him and talking in a high pitch voice, saying “hey Baby Zeke.” God has really given us a blessing that is constantly unfolding in new and exciting ways. My family and myself will always be thankful for this gift that keeps on giving.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

                  Boe writing….

First of all, what an experience this has all been.  What started out as a what if, or man wouldn’t it be amazing if scenario has turned into one of the most life-changing experiences a fifteen-year old can go through.  It is not possible to spend time in a country like this and not come home as a different person. Throughout these two short months I have seen some of the most beautiful sights this earth has to offer, the waterfalls on the Sipi River and the Nat. Geo. worthy plains of Murchison Falls have a feel like God could reside right around the corner.  These places have a magical and holy feel to them but when you look right around the corner, you find people saying goodbye to loved ones who are dieing from preventable and stupid reasons.  It’s easy to avoid eye contact with a bearded man who roams the sidewalks of Lee Street. What’s not as easy is trying to ignore a child who clings to your arm and pleads for just some scraps from your meal because his parents don’t have enough money to buy him food for himself. I have been forced to look into those eyes and apologize because I can’t (or not willing to) cure his hunger.  There are two sides of this beautiful continent, you just have to decide if you are going to hide or if you will take your blinders off and face the reality that, I can help.  For the past month I have traveled into town and walked the streets of Jinja, I can pick out the kids who sit there day after day pleading for some food from the Mzugus (white people).  Can I walk around with a bag of Shillings and bread and pass it out at random? No, I can’t, but is it worse than just ignoring them altogether?  This is the Dilemma that I, and many others face daily.  I have loved every minute of our trip here, these moments though make me think, wouldn’t it be easier to avoid and hide inside my comfortable home back stateside.  This is necessary though if you really want to understand how comfortable and spoiled we are.  Every thanksgiving I make my little list of things that I have been blessed with this year, never though, have I ever thought about comparing that to one of these children that I have become accustomed to these last few weeks.  I hope that my thank-you list comes with the thoughts of these precious boys and girls who spend their days sitting under the tree in the sidewalk, waiting for the tourist traffic.  Now does this describe the whole country or all of my experiences? No, not at all, in fact the beauty of these people far outweighs the ones who rely on people like me for their survival.  These people are absolutely fabulous; everyone who visits is overwhelmed by the friendly and hospitable vibe that Ugandans give off.  If people in America could copy the attitude of Ugandans, I know that this world would be such a better place.  This is a place where everyone stops to talk as they pass each other in the streets, who come over just for afternoon tea, and are just more all around friendly and open.  As westerners we seem to hide in our own world and only admit people who have to gain your complete trust, here people want to help and help you enjoy your time here.  I get asked every day “How do you like Uganda?” and my answer is… “I wish I lived here, I just can’t get over how beautiful it is.”  Many people would ask, “Why would you live over there when you such a wonderful life here?” and I would answer, “ Well why don’t you just take a visit, to the pearl of Africa, then you can understand why I want to stay.”  Do I miss my PS3, clean water, Direct TV, friends, Ice Cream, Air-Conditioning, Papa Johns, and cleanliness? Yes, I do, tons actually, although I know that as soon as I get home I’m going to miss getting up to looking out to Lake Victoria and the Nile River, going over to Ozzie’s for a famous Ozzie burger and Mirinda Fruity to drink, and the great friendships that have developed over these two months.  These could have been the quickest two months I can remember.  Not only will I come home as a different person but I’ll also have another younger sibling.  If I had the option to stay longer, I would take it in a heartbeat but at the same time I keep seeing things that remind me of home and I get exited all over again.  There’s no doubt I am a different person completely than I was two months ago. It’s easier to be a Christian on this half of the world, the attractive teenager count so far is at one (and at this point I don’t have the toughest requirements), the amount of people I can compete with for popularity I can count on my left hand and the people who attempt to dismantle your faith or question it are few.  I may not have developed my left hand passing (Lacrosse) as much as I had planned but what I didn’t plan for is to be a more mature, aware and experienced man of God.  What a wonderful country and experience this has all been, and it has totally flipped my American culture and lifestyle around.  God has truly blessed us with this opportunity an experience, and for that we can’t thank the Him and the friends involved in helping enough. 

Thanks for reading(:,
Boe Renslow

Friday, August 5, 2011

On Thursday, we traveled to the east of Uganda, tightroped the border of Kenya, and visited Sippi Falls and New Hope Orphanage in Busia. Both of these experiences were tremendous. Check out the subtitles in the pictures of the orphanage and check them out on the web. They have 110 kids, many of whom were abandoned, and two more arrived while we were there. I held a two month old who was healthy and beautiful. Meeting these people was one of my highlights of our entire summer. We left at 6:00 a.m. and retuned at 9:30 p.m. and did not stop. By the way, I know you will think from these waterfall pictures that we escaped to Hawaii, but I assure you that we are still in Uganda. 
Sippi #1

Behind Sippi fall #2

Sippi #3

Some of the brilliant kids at New Hope in Busia

This is just one room and there are 39 in this room.
Many of them sleep two to a bed. Yes, that is right four per bunk
bed and many do not have mosquito nets. This should be fixed immediately.