Life here is very different from home. The electricity comes and goes as it pleases. The weather is too hot at times and we´re not even in the hottest season yet (getting there though). The bugs (animals as I refer to them :P) are everywhere. I have many scars to prove it already. Anyway..
One of the exciting news here in Kamuli is that we have been sponsored by Helgeland Sparebank to buy sewing machines for the mothers at the Kamuli Children´s Home. You can imagine my excitement. The main reason for the sewing machines are so that the mothers can learn how to mend the children´s clothes (both the school uniforms, which they have to buy and maintain, and the clothes they wear outside of school). This will hopefully help save some money instead of having to go to a tailor for all of the children (over a 100!).
This is just amazing! I am so proud to be a part of this!
Another reason is to engage the mothers in something useful while the children are at school. If all goes according to the plan they will also have a garden to tend to with tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, passion fruit and so on. This will be planted in the back of the children´s home in February. I have started to grow the seeds here at the Ssempijja´s house where I live. It is very exciting to see it grow in my ´backyard´, but I am very much looking forward to see the reason behind it all: that the children and the mothers don’t have to buy these groceries, vegetables and fruits because they have it in their own backyard.
At the MAPU Ministries Uganda, which is supported by Make Possible (MAP Norge), we have a goal to be completely self sustainable when it comes to food. This means that we are growing most of the food the children eat in our gardens here in Uganda. In Kamuli we have several mais fields (corn fields) where we harvest mais (corn on a cob). We also have fishponds filled with catfish (which are delicious by the way) and they are now soon finished with the fish farm (fiskeoppdrett) of even more catfish. See picture down below. Cabbage, sweet potato, beans, chickens and pigs are more of what we produce here. They are doing an amazing job here!
In Mubende, another village in Uganda, we have another project where we herd goats. We started out with about 50 goats and now we have over 250, which is amazing! Well done to the people in Mubende for doing such a great job with the goats! There is also a children´s home in Mubende which Mr. Prosper is responsible for. Him and his wife takes care of the orphans and make sure they get their basic needs fulfilled.
This is just what the foundation MAP does in Uganda. We also have projects in other African countries such as Malawi, Tanzania, Etiopia and Kenya. They are doing a great job building schools, taking care of HIV/AIDS infected mothers and so on.
I feel so unbelievably blessed to be able to be in this position where I can help and try to make a difference. As I have written before I feel very welcome here in Kamuli by the Ssempijja family and the children at the Children´s home. I have also been blessed with the opportunity to help at the school in which all our children at MAPU go to who are in the classes Baby Class, Top Class, Primary 1-7. The older ones, or the ones who have finished P7, go to Secondary school, which are boarding schools outside of Kamuli town. So as you can imagine the school fees are more expensive when they finish P7 (equivalent to the Norwegian 7th grade). One of the many differences at the schools in Uganda is that they don´t start in a specific class in regards to the child´s age. If the child is 8 and has never learned how to read or write the child has to start in P1 (1st grade). So in the different classes you will find children of different ages, though not too big of a gap. As I am a teacher by profession I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with the school´s library and to hear the children in reading.the library is not an easy job because the school has a lot of books, but there is no system.
The reading program is to try to create a love of reading, Reminding them that reading (and writing) is important. You might have heard the expression “Education is the way out of poverty”. This is what many of them live by. When Jan (the founder of MAP – Make possible Norge) and several others visited the school we had a ´sit down´with all the MAPU children to hear about their wishes for the future. This was a very interesting session where you got to hear what their goals and wishes were. Some wanted to become a lawyer, some a pilot engineer, some musicians, many doctors and nurses and pilots. These kids are so grateful and full of life, you can not help but to cheer and pray for them.