MTO MOYONI UGANDA - RIVER IN THE HEART
On the banks of the River Nile, about 2 kilometres from the source of the Nile as it flows out of Lake Victoria, in Uganda, is Mto Moyoni. It is a retreat centre literally on the banks of the river. The beautiful gardens stretch down from the collection of bandas, that make up the accommodation, right to the waters edge. It is a haven of peace.
To get here involves a rather challenging journey from Entebbe International Airport through the sprawling jumble of modern Kampala which has no understanding of town planning or roads suitable for modern Africa. On a good day it takes about three hours. The senses are assaulted in every way on the journey. Noise, traffic, pollution, crowds of people, animals tethered by the road, women carrying every conceivable bundle on their heads, bicycles loaded with produce and firewood. Bodas (motorcycles taxis) carry whole families, trucks billowing out filthy exhaust, pot holes that you could lose a bus in, police road checks, convoys of official vehicles roaring down the middle of the road at high speed amid sirens and blue flashing lights, this is modern day Uganda.
On arriving in Jinja we turn off the main road into a side road, then on to an unpaved road into fields and scattered houses. Suddenly we are there at the gates of Mto Moyoni. We pass through a bougainvillea covered arch into the tranquility of the retreat centre. The centre has been built and is operated by our friends Ingrid and Winette, two dutch women who have been here for many years.
Mto Moyoni means "river in the heart" in Swahili and expresses the vision these ladies have. They run courses and seminars called Transformation weeks and Fatherheart Encounters. They also make the centre available for people needing rest and relaxation. We are here to lead a Fatherheart Ministries School with 40 people from all over Uganda.
This is arguably one of the most beautiful places where we have led schools. It is set spectacularly amongst God’s other book. In the ten days we have been here I have seen over forty different species of birds from the gloriously dramatic fish eagle to the eccentrically named red-cheeked cordon blue, which is a tiny, wren sized, blue bird with a red spot on the side of its head. Troops of red tailed monkeys regularly swing through the garden on their way up river to raid a local village’s gardens. Otters can be seen swimming along the banks of the river and there are even occasional sightings of seriously venomous cobras.
The people that come here have stories of lives of hardship and trauma that are typical for so many in this blighted land once called by the Pearl of Africa by Winston Churchill. It is a land torn by years of dictatorship, of rebels kidnapping children and turning them into child soldiers, of every family being touched by HIV and Aids. 60% of the population are literally orphans and 75% are under 25 years of age.
During the week many encountered the Father’s love. One girl, raped only a few weeks ago and now pregnant came ready to kill herself. She left with new hope and trusting her Father to care for her and the precious life she carries within her. Another young man, who announced himself at the beginning of the week as an orphan, left knowing he was a son of his heavenly Father. On the last day he celebrated his 23rd birthday. The first time he had ever celebrated it.
The river of God’s love is flowing in Africa. The transformations weeks continue and the Father encounters. In January there is a month long youth school which will include ex child soldiers and street kids. For more information about Mto Moyoni, here is the link to their website. New Website