We fit a lot into a relatively short amount of time in Butangala yesterday. Butangala is a partner village of Hearts and Hope, but doesn’t yet have a permanent structure - so our packet-giving-out system was tested! We were still able to give out the packets in record time, and to spend some time with the kids helping them open them and read their letters from their sponsors.
Butangala has an amazing dance, singing, and drama program, and we loved watching the kids perform for us! Richard, who is now a member of the Hearts and Hope staff, used to be the headmaster at this school - he’s credited with the success of the fine arts programs. We watched several dances and songs, as well as a poem about health and the importance of handwashing. This warmed our hearts, since we recently installed a new hand washing station near the latrine in Butangala.
Julie was also able to announce that Butangala’s partner congregation, Immanuel Wentzville, had raised enough funds to being construction on a semi-permanent structure in the village. As you can imagine, this was met with much celebration!
We had a good amount of free time for playing with the kids yesterday, which is always a blessing. More than any other village, this one includes many children who do not go to school - so we loved giving them some special attention and love while playing with the parachute and frisbees, and doing three-legged races.
Since this was our last sponsored village, we had lots of supplies left over from our activities - so we used some of them to draw pictures with the women of the village. They are some of the most hardworking and loving people in the world, and they always appreciate when we can spend some time with them. The village sponsorship assistant of Butangala helped us pass out paper and markers to draw pictures of their homes. We let them choose if they would like us to take them with them or give them to us, so we received some beautiful artwork that we assured them will be displayed prominently in the US!
In this village, we were able to do two home visits to sponsored kids’ homes. Often, this is a heartbreaking but important part of our village visits that helps us understand more about the daily lives of the students. We visited Bataganya Moses’ and Nangobi Prossy’s home, as well as Nambi Angela’s. Their guardians and parents were proud to greet us and show us their homes, kitchens, latrines, and gardens. We were also presented with a jackfruit, which has proven to be a polarizing taste among the team!
From Butangala, we headed to the Hearts and Hope soccer match! A crowd of kiddos surrounded us while we sat near the pitch, and we gave them hugs and covered them with shiny stickers while we watched the game. It's amazing how much it means to kids to receive some undivided attention and be able to sit on a lap for just an hour.
Today, we’ll stop by Kainagoga for an hour or two before heading back to Kampala. The week has simultaneously gone very fast and very slow. We’re grateful to be able to have some time in the next few days to decompress and reflect on what we’ve seen and experienced.
Jessica Stroder ~ Mission Team Member