So, the blog:
Busy busy busy. We weren’t sure it would ever happen but the project has really kicked off over the last couple of weeks. As I mentioned before we were lucky enough to get a large donation from Micro Drainage in UK. Getting money into Uganda however is not as easy as it should be so its taken about four weeks for the money to come through! While we were waiting for this, rather than twiddling our thumbs we’ve been busy planning and using the Dando-Binns organisational brilliance to set targets, plan work schedules and decide how best to use the funds to ensure things would go as fast as possible. And its paid off, our manager has really taken on board everything we’ve said. The money came through last weekend so Saturday (22nd) was spent shopping, shopping, shopping; buying cement, sand, mattresses, plates, books, pencils, paint, ordering blackboards, hiring labours to plaster and put a roof on one of the buildings. Something we have been waiting a very long time for!
With all this work now being done we are hopeful that we and the children will be able to move in within a couple of weeks! We’ve been busy designing school logos, motos and uniform this week as well, all very exciting.
For the last two weeks the initial 10 children who will be living at the orphanage have been coming to the centre for lessons and porridge (maize flour mixed with sugar and hot water - a luxury for these kids) for a couple of hours everyday. The first week was quite hard, as literally all we had was an empty room and a ball. But we managed to make some pretty good educational games and work out the different abilities of the children. This last week has been a lot easier since we’ve bought materials, pens, pencils, textbooks etc. So we’re now going to make sure these guys have far and away the best possible start in life.
As the Children will be moving in soon we have been visiting where they are currently living in order to understand a bit more about their background, health and family situation etc. Just like when we did a similar exercise during our first weeks, this has been a really humbling experience. All of our 10 children live in real abject poverty, with relatives or extended family who can’t afford to look after them, let alone pay school fees. One for example is Jackline who is ten years old and lives with just her 85 year old alcoholic granddad. Her grandfather is sick and soon won’t be around, and as they are refugees from Rwanda they have no other relatives in the country. Francis’ mother has a mental health problem and his father has just been diagnosed with TB. They sold their home to try and find a cure for the mother and now live in a mud hut on rented land. God only knows what will happen to his six younger siblings when his father’s illness soon kills him.
And yet while these families have nothing, we have been given two (live) chickens, 10 eggs and about 10 avocados to say thank-you for looking after the children! We have been assured there is much more of the same to follow! I am therefore now adept at carrying live chickens! We also had the freshest chicken stew you’ll ever have. After watching it be slaughtered, I helped pluck the chicken (which was a bit freaky as it was still warm and legs would occasionally kick!) and 40 mins later it was on your plate! But it definitely makes you appreciate what you eat!
Oh and Charlotte and I are just so so cool. I know this because not only has Mona, a volunteer from Germany, come and joined us but now also has Anna, a volunteer from Sweden. So we now have more European volunteers than we do Ugandan staff (one cook & two caretakers/gardeners/handymen)
Others things worth a quick mention, Karaoke came to the village for one night only – but oh no not like England. Karaoke Uganda style is ‘professionals’ miming along to some songs for two hours! And half the village watching while one of the performers decided to pull the white man out of the crowd to dance and grind on the stage! It’s a good job I can truly dance like an African…!! Oh and the gay debate is currently hitting the newspapers big time… Some of the things we are reading are really quite worrying, but there’s nothing much we can do. And finally, we found a brilliant bakery in our nearest city that sells pasties, samoses , buns and pizza! So that’s our Saturday lunch sorted most weeks! Yum!