Monday, August 13, 2012

Masaka Day One, Two - A Different Reality

Monday morning we set out for Masaka and arrived later that afternoon. We stayed at the Bishop's house in the Kkindu community where Aunt Margaret and Sister Julie took care of us and made the most delicious Ugandan dishes for us. To say it is a different reality is an understatement.  The community is very poor, there is little electricity, and to get your water you must hike a good distance to one of a few water sources they have. To "shower", you fill a bucket with water and get creative. The bathroom, or "pit latrine" is nothing more than a hole in the ground. It truly makes you appreciate the comforts that we take for granted in the states.

Tuesday morning we went to church. While I am not a religious person, I do appreciate the sense of community the church provides and the hope it gives its members, especially in a place where having something to believe in can make all of the difference. Father Emmy, who they call Owakabi meaning "the coolest", is exactly what his name implies. He is a young and motivated individual who works hard to help the people of Kkindu. He is extremely personable and even invited us all over to his place to get to know us all better and welcome us into the community.

For the remainder of the day the plan was to head towards the Hopeful School. Hopeful is a private school that is funded by Fields of Growth (FoG) and is run by John Kakande. John is another amazing individual in the community. He is originally from Masaka and worked extremely hard to go to school and become a teacher. It wasn't just university that he had to work hard to attend, it is difficult (like I mentioned before) to afford and attend primary school. I talked to John for a while about his background and his dream to start the Hopeful School. He told me that when he was younger, he wanted an education so badly and there was no one there to help him. He fought hard to get that education on his own and does not want other children to not have the help they deserve. Many of the kids in the Kkindu region do not have the money to pay for schooling and they are also too far from the few government schools to attend every day. Hopeful solves these problem by being within a walkable distance (although many still walk 5k each way) and is paid for by FoG. He is so passionate about the school, the community, and about creating opportunities for these children. They will be introducing lacrosse next year with a youth program!

Now on to the fun stuff- the kids!! First off, we arrived on boda bodas, small motor cycles that they use for transportation. It was my first boda boda ride and it was awesome! We could not have received a better welcome than we did when we arrived. All of the kids ran right up to us with the biggest of smiles. They were simply radiating. We all introduced ourselves and then one by one we were each given an African name (so cool, I know). There are many different clans within the different regions of Uganda and so Francis and John had a kid from a clan come up and name each of us with a name from their clan. My name is Nakafuja. From there, we got in one big circle to play some games and sing some songs. I had the smallest little boy next to me named John. On the other side of me was a little girl named Toepiesta. They were my buddies from that point forward. I gave them a few of the bracelets I had (by the end of the trip I didn't have any of my bracelets left- even my livestrong!) They had so much fun with just the simplest games. Once we ran out of games, we went into the classrooms and they let us teach. I was with the youngins and we did some ABCs and numbers. I really enjoyed teaching in the classroom. It wasn't really something I had done before and I was given free reign to do what I wanted. It was very rewarding.

The best part about working with these kids is their enthusiasm and how excited they are for you to be there. They all want to hold your hand, spend time with you, and they are ALWAYS smiling. I love smiling, so naturally I feel right at home with this crew. When we were leaving, we made sure to give each kid a piece of candy. These kids are fiends for the sweets. I didn't want to leave,  but I knew we would be returning the next day.

On that note, I am heading to Jinja in a minute so I will finish my  blogging and picture posting later! If we have internet in Jinja I will do it then, if not- updates will come Wednesday

My three: bonfires, dancing, and Ugandan bread


my bud, Toepiesta

love these kids 

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