The trip was canceled, but that didn’t stop Logan Pope from getting to Africa.
Logan, who has lived in Richmond Hill since kindergarten, was planning to visit Marsabit, a city in Kenya, Africa, with a group from Hinesville. The trip was planned for late July, but Kenyan officials pulled out of the agreement.
“The reason we were given is that they were ‘over-extended,’” Logan’s mom Alyssa Lanier said. “We changed gears and signed on with the Adonai Partners, out of Baltimore.”
Adonai is an African-led network with a vision to mobilize Africans and others. Lanier said the group seeks to minister to the spirit, soul, mind and body. They work to strengthen existing churches, the dental outreach program and medical program.
“One of their main goals is that African children reach their full potential,” Lanier said. “They feed, teach and serve children that have been displaced and/or orphaned by war and AIDS. In Uganda, 2.3 million children are orphaned.”
Logan wants to have a career in a combination of ministry and government when he grows up, and he believed this trip would help give him a taste of what that would be like. It was his first trip out of the country.
“We are incredibly proud of Logan,” Lanier said. “He has wanted to do big things for other people for as long as I can remember and he put his whole heart into making this trip happen.”
Logan arrived in Africa on July 12 – first in Ethiopia and then on to Uganda.
“When I first landed, I was in Kampala – a major city – so people were well dressed and most everything was written in English,” Logan, who attends Richmond Hill Middle School, said. “I didn’t notice a huge difference until we got to the smaller villages. When we first arrived, I was greeted by hundreds of children all at once running down the road.”
The group visiting Uganda consisted of 55 people, five of which were from Georgia. The group was split into several teams including medical, dental, women’s groups, teachers and pastors. Logan was roommates with Nathanial Golden Jr., of Hinesville, who was on the media team.
While in Uganda, Logan worked with children, did some evangelism, helped the medical and dental team and delivered school supplies to students.
“My favorite part of the experience was getting to know the children; they are so joyful all the time despite having so little,” Logan said. “Everyone is so welcoming and friendly. I will never forget seeing the looks on their faces when given something as small as a pack of crayons. They are hungry to learn and love to be taught English.”
Logan got to participate in a soccer game played every year between the Ugandans and Americans. He also tried new food and beverages. He said the group ate dry, white rice and goat almost every day, but his favorite were the mangoes and pineapples.
“They taste so much sweeter over there,” Logan said of the fruit. “Pepsi and Coca-Cola were everywhere, but it’s still in the glass bottles and has a different taste than what I’m used to at home. My favorite treat was a non-alcoholic ginger beer called Tangawizi. I would sit with my feet in Lake Victoria and drink them in the evenings.”
Logan arrived back home on July 24, but is already planning a trip back to Uganda.
“I can’t wait to get back,” Logan said. “I am still getting used to the abundance we have here, and I can’t help but remember the people I met who were happy with so little. I think twice about complaining now. So much is taken for granted.”
Lanier said she has seen a difference in Logan ever since he’s gotten back to the United States.
“There is an undeniable change in him since he has been home,” Lanier said. “He appreciates how fortunate we are here in the United States. I am so grateful to the generosity of the people in the community that donated so generously and allowed Logan to earn funds with yard work. It makes me really proud to call Richmond Hill home.”
Logan was also very grateful for friends, family and neighbors who supported his fundraising.
“Everyone is greatly appreciated,” Logan said. “I had a blast in Africa; it was life changing. The team was able to touch the lives of hundreds as they touched mine as well.”