Sponsors Visit – April 26 – May 7, 2024


This April I had the awesome experience of hosting 4 friends traveling to Uganda, meeting their sponsored children and seeing MCM Uganda personally. My last sponsor visit was in October of 2019 so it had been a number of years. We had a wonderful time and I’m so grateful to report everyone traveled safely, not one injury and no health issues!

My people -Mike Charlier, Patty Plant, Ruth Clements-Gottlieb and Alley Kammer were great travelers…a no-complaints, ready to go, easy, joking, happy group. Mike, my cousin who first introduced me to Africa in 2003, was the only one with previous travel experience to Uganda. Patty Plant, is his dear friend, who was interested in hearing, seeing and experiencing what Mike is so committed to. Alley and Ruth have served with MCM doing the Ugandan budget and MCM Website respectively for many years. All these friends are also sponsors and between them have sponsored 15 children! These are the folks I go to when I am needing encouragement because they are in it for the long haul. I LEAN HARD into their love and listening skills! So, from the beginning it was a visit I was looking forward to!

The journey is long – an 8 hour flight to Amsterdam from Chicago, a 9 hour flight to Entebbe and a 7 (turned 12) hour drive to Kabale to get to MCM. In addition to the travel getting there, we also drove up to Fort Portal (9 hours), further up to Murchison Game Park and Falls (8 hours), then all the way back to Kampala and Entebbe (8 hours) during the course of the stay. THAT, my friends, all done in a van, on often not-so-great roads in Uganda. So when I say “uncomplaining” it is a BIG deal! As if that is not enough they still had two more long flights home after that. The JOY of this is the extended time to really see and hear and taste Uganda in all her glory and in all her difficulties. It is also an opportunity to get to know your fellow travelers. Thank God we all got along well and really enjoyed each others company.

Our time in Rutooma, home of “MCM World Headquarters” (as we joked), was only a short 4 days. We arrived at “Miracle”, Ivan’s home and stayed at “God’s Refuge” the guest house behind Miracle that temporarily houses abused children who suddenly find themselves without a home. On Day One we visited the local sights of our Village…MCM Offices, God’s Joy Library, Kihanga Boy’s School, Deliverance Church and in the afternoon 5 sponsored children home visits. Day Two we headed to two of our boarding schools in the town of Kabale then onto Lake Bunyonyi for a beautiful lunch on the lake. After, we grocery shopped for the graduation party…an accomplishment in and of itself considering we fed over 500 children! Day Three was the Graduation Party from early morning set up, to after dark taking everything down. Day Four was two more sponsored children visits, Kihanga Girls Primary School, packing up and saying goodbye as we hit the road for Fort Portal where we arrived after dark.

We traveled and stayed in Murchison Falls and Game Park three days. There we thoroughly enjoyed an early morning Safari seeing lions, giraffes, elephants, water buffalo, wart hogs, baboons, monkeys and MANY varieties of animals and birds. The afternoon was filled with a boat cruise on the Nile River featuring hippos, alligators, heron, egrets and many more. Pakuba Safari Lodge, where we stayed had a beautiful pool overlooking the Nile and we ate our meals and even swam in the pool with a full view of the Nile. Wild animals joined us after dark…which was both exciting and nerve wracking.

Our final day we journeyed to Murchison Falls, “source of the Nile” a breath-taking waterfall complete with beautiful rainbows and misty vistas. Then, after seeing many more animals on our way out, we returned to Entebbe. Our final day we shopped the local craft marts, ate fresh fried Talapia on the beach of Lake Victoria, re-packed and finally returned to the Entebbe Airport to say our goodbyes. On a trip like this you have 4 travel “flight” days (two getting there, two getting home) and another two driving to and from Kabale. Out of 12 days total, that is over half coming or going somewhere! It is also a “time travel” adventure as Uganda is 7-8 hours ahead of we folks in Michigan and Illinois. It takes a good 5-7 days once you are home to recover those hours and your body/sleep patterns once again feel “normal”. In short, it is a lot!

I have already written 6 paragraphs and I feel as though I have not even scratched the surface of our experiences. All I have given you is the basic travel agenda…not the heart, which to me was the sponsors visiting their children. I do not have the gift of writing required to put into words the deeply profound encounters which change ones life after having spent time with the Ugandan people, especially as guests in their homes. It is shocking, really shocking to see and to smell and to have the little arms of Ugandan children surround you in love and gratitude. The lack of material resources alone is enough to blow us away, but combined with the people’s joy for life, energy, huge smiles and warm, genuine welcomes cuts one to the core. How can those who have so little, barely enough to survive, love us, who have ridiculously more than we need, so much our trash cans are filled with food? We are indeed humbled by the injustice of it and the lack of bitterness, resentment or jealously from these beautiful peasant farmers. Instead, we met with only blessings and gratitude and warmth. Words fail to describe that phenomena. It is God’s grace. It is life altering. It moves one to action…THIS, I say to myself, is WORTH all the time and energy and resources and efforts to change. THIS has lasting value and is what I want to devote the remainder of my life to. I can honestly think of nothing more rewarding and simultaneously heart wrenching. Oh! The paradox!

It leaves me today, hoping for all of you who bother to read all these words, the SAME. Something larger than your life. Something which touches your heart and calls you to action. Some cause, some person, some group, some injustice which tears you apart and pulls you together and leaves you with peace in the end that you TRIED and you made a difference! Many people measure life and success by results, numbers, size…the outwardly computed. As for me, I can only see the one child in front of me, one life, one thing I can do in that moment. To minimize him or her is to miss God’s face. She is enough, he is worth it, I am sure of it! May you also be blessed by making a difference and the fullness, the pure joy it brings to your life.

Many blessings ~ 

Michele Pageau

(Check out the photos and videos below!)