I have now been in Uganda for 16 days and I have learnt a lot already. 😃 I feel so very blessed for this opportunity to be here and learn their ways and to teach them some of our ways back home in Norway.
The family I live with, the Ssempijja´s, have welcomed me with open arms and for that I am very grateful!
My Norwegian, Ethiopian, Philippine and German travel companions left me last Tuesday to back to their respective countries, so now I am «all alone», But not really! 😛
My new home here in Kamuli is in a Bungalow on Ssempijja´s property. This property is not enclosed with a fence as the one in Bukavu, DR Congo (which I am used to). But nevertheless – I still feel safe here! There are watchdogs that walk the area at night time so that´s good (and a bit scary – it´s scary to hear their barking just outside my door at night).
The people here are very welcoming, and everyone wants to greet me whether it be the streets, at church, at school, you name it. I guess I have to get used to it as it happens every time I leave the house. It´s not like I can blend in with my fair Norwegian skin colour… I will forever be a «Musungu» (white person) here, no matter how dark of a tan I have.
As many of you know Make Possible is the foundation which is supporting and helping the orphans at The Children’s Home, MAPU, by having donors and sponsors back home in Norway. The definition of an orphan here is a child without a father (which is the one who works to get the family´s income so they can eat etc.), or a child who has lost both parents and may be cared for by a relative or the child lives on the street. These children are amazing! I have to tell you! Even though many of the children here have sponsors we still need many more. Some children need two sponsors to cover school fees as they are in Secondary School, which usually are boarding school. This is because as they get older and go to Secondary School (ungdomsskolen) the school fees increases and they need more support.
Those of you who are donors back home is truly a blessing to every child here! Thank you to all of you.
Becoming a donor/sponsor on a monthly basis isn’t for everyone and I understand that. I want everyone who is thinking of becoming a sponsor to really think it through as there are things to consider..
Please e-mail me if you have any questions regarding this! 😃
The Home (orphanage, MAPU – Make Possible Uganda) is enclosed with high walls for the children protection. They also have a man who secures the gates both at day time and at night!
There are three houses where the children sleep and can take a shower or use the toilet. Each house has a «Mum». They are all widows who have lost their husbands. These Mums are responsible for the children living in their house, and it is divided into a girls and boys separately. Here they get food, a safe journey to school (they have a school bus), playmates within the village, and a better life than they would have had if it weren’t for these people wanting to help. ♥
We have visited the Home a few times now and they have been given some gifts such as footballs, volleyballs, reading books (Please e-mail me if you have any English books for kids/teens that you want to get rid of/donate!), clothes, shoes, music instruments, stationaries, different games etc. I just hope that we can establish a culture for taking care of the things so that they can last a long time and no one runs off with it to their friends or relatives.. *fingers crossed*
It is so amazing to see the joy and appreciation they show when they receive something. They are very good at saying thank you and to give short speeches of appreciation, something we Norwegians can learn from!
I will be spending a lot of time at the Home to try and help them with school work, have some social happenings like game nights, maybe show a movie once in a while. If you have any fun games you want to share with me so the children can, please send me comment. 😃
Another thing I want to try and help them with is growing herbs and vegetables. The soil here is so fertile and the landscapes are green as long as the eye can see. One of the problems here is that they don´t have enough knowledge about what they can do with some of the herbs/plants growing here (wild) etc. The Philippine girl, Cristina a.k.a. Tintin, which came on the trip with us seemed to know everything about every herb there was. So I am looking forward to keeping in contact with her so that she can teach me and I can bring the knowledge to the people here. The wish for this place is for it to be sustainable so that they don´t have to go to the market to buy a lot of the food they need to feed the children at the Home.
MAPU also have Home in Mubende, which is quite a drive from Kamuli (It´s not far on the map, but the roads are horrible and you need to go via Jinja (another town) because of the roads. Last Sunday we visited the church which MAPU Mubende started a few years a go. After church we went to have a look at the goat farm which they have high up in the mountains. The drive there was really something else. The roads were very bumpy (luckily the front seat had a seat belt!), and in some places there weren’t even a road to drive on, only a small pathway, which we in Norway would a «sykkelsti». Imagine driving a big 4×4 truck on those roads… BUT we made it to the farm. I think they started up with 5o goats and now they have over 250 goats, which is really good! Here they can provide the children with meat.
Today, Monday 6th November, I went to the school, Bezallel Primary School, Kamuli. This is a private school for orphans mainly. Fred Ssempijja, the reverend, is one of the people who started this school, so all the MAPU children attend this school. Here I have been asked to help the teachers at the school, primarily in P4-P6, which is equivalent to 4th-6th grade (4. – 6. Klasse). But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the children are of the same age (which in many cases here they are not). Any of the children didn’t get the chance to start school when they were young/old enough because of the different circumstances in their lives. This means that everyone starts in P1 if they haven’t gone to school before, regardless of age. This can be a challenge for the older children, as you can imagine. Let´s hope they all do their best! 😃
The wish from the headmistress Mrs. Beatrice is to set up the library (no easy task I´ll tell ya), and to get the children to read for both pleasure and to learn (educational). I start having a groups in reading already this week. This is so exciting!
The issue with the school in Uganda is that the free ones (municipal) have a bad reputation when it comes to the student´s grades on exams and tests, whereas the private schools get better results as their classes are smaller and therefor the teacher can help more students in that class.
I am very much looking forward to working with the kids and see their progress 😃
Until next time