It is Wednesday evening in Uganda. We just returned from two days in the Kamuli area where we had no wifi and very little phone service. We packed a lot into the two days!
Yesterday we left Jinja and headed north to Kamuli. The road has been under construction for several years and is almost complete. A ride that used to take 3 hours took us on 50 minutes; this is a great thing!
We arrived to a loud, energetic greeting - something we've come to expect from our friends in Kamuli. The children provided entertainment for awhile and then it was the women's turn to pump things up a bit! And, yes, Crystal, Andy, and I all got in on the action. A pact has been made that no video will be shown.....
We met with the sponsored kids and handed out their packets. They are so respectful and we loved every minute of watching them open their treasures from the sponsoring families. After a couple of projects and a meeting with the women, it was time for lunch. It is always interesting to watch the kids line up for this meal - the only meal of the day for many. Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays they typically have beans and rice; Tuesdays and Thursdays they have porridge. The cooks are some of the hardest working women you will ever meet!
We had time in the afternoon to hang out with the kids a bit - always a favorite thing for me. It is such a treat to hear their stories and laugh with them. One boy, Alex, wanted to know if my phone was an iPhone 4 or 5! He considers himself our personal tour guide on every visit and is SO entertaining. He suggested I bring him a skateboard next time we visit. I'm laughing at the thought of him trying to use a skateboard on the roads in Kamuli!
We enjoyed some more entertainment (including a mini-concert by some guys playing homemade string instruments!) and then had the chance to make some home visits again. Two of the sponsorship girls are sisters and the family rode with us on the bus to their home. It is an incredibly long walk for these kids to get to the Hearts and Hope primary school in Kamuli - really unbelievable! It was a great visit; again, we learned so much seeing where these kids live.
Next we visited the home of Frank, who was in an accident 3 months ago that broke his femur and dislocated his hip. We are going to send him to a hospital for x-rays and determine if there is a way to assist him in his healing. Some girls from the St. Tereza's Academy were walking by during our visit and joined us for some fun pictures. Their purple uniforms are beautiful!
After we checked in at the hotel in Kamuli, we gathered on the back lawn for a night of nail-painting, goat roasting, and dancing. Quite an evening! Several of our friends from Kamuli joined us and it was quite the celebration.
Another productive, tiring day but so worth every ounce of effort put into it. It is a joy to see the school in Kamuli functioning so well, with an incredible staff. We appreciate their efforts!
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.