Char & Jay Say: So it may of taken over four months but on Wednesday (12th) the first ten children finally began living at Kiyumbakimu Children's Village. Some of the building works are not yet finished, and the site isn't quite as pretty as we'd like, but as they say, 'TIA' - That Is Africa...! The last four months of hard graft, frustration and banging our heads against a wall has finally achieved something tangible.
In true Ugandan style they kept us waiting nervously. At 9am we were all ready, egarly awaiting the children's arrival...by 11am, as the rain started to fall, we were wondering what had happened. But then, thankfully, they all started arriving, slowly but surely, carrying their possessions in a small plastic bags – one t-shirt and a pair of shorts – for those who were lucky.
They had seen the place set up a few days before, so knew what to expect, but the excitement was still great; jumping on their beds (the first time any of them have had such a luxury) opening their specail little storage cases, trying on their new clothes and, for the first time, wearing sandals. Seeing ten pairs of brand new, brightly coloured, sandals lined up on the door step was quite a site.
The health difference in some of the children is already apparent. The Mother we have hired is doing a sterling job, making sure they wash and clean their teeth everyday. We've made sure they get fresh fruit twice a day and top it up with Vitamin C tablets. Add to the fact that they now don't have to go out digging all day everyday and can actually have some fun, they are all full of energy.
As a result and with the children being so excitable we've been pretty tired this week. Running around, playing with their new toys and wanting us to join in every minute of the day. We've had no peace, but it's been worth it. The idea to build a small football pitch has definitely paid off as the boys have spent a good 2-3 hours a day playing there – they are football mad! They really are the most adorable and great bunch of kids. We both a little are too attached!
One of our kids- Jacki – as previously mentioned on the blog, was so so quiet after living alone all her life with her very sick alcoholic 85 year old Granddad. The change in her has been immediate. She is becoming full of confidence and playfulness and generally seems much happier.
Last night, after jumping around and being hyper for a good hour, Francis, the most confident & intelligent of all our kids got up in front of all of everyone to tell us a story. Everyone suddenly went quite and listened intently, before three others got up and told traditional stories of their own. Whilst it was all in Luganda, it was brilliant to watch the faces of the other children as they listened and was a real insight into Ugandan traditions. When you've got no toys, no electricity and live in a mud hut, telling stories in how you pass the evening. It's great that even though they now have so many new things and an exciting environment they still are keeping true to their Ugandan culture.
The only down side of all this is that having the children here has really bought home how much work we still have to do to try and get this place sustainable and professional before we leave – in less than two months! Its pretty stressful to say the least. But we can only try our best. And having the kids here is what it's all about!