June 10, 2008. 5:09 p.m.
We’ve been on the rosa (small bus) for at least 2 hours now, and were not even halfway back to Kampala yet. On Monday we woke up bright an early at 5 a.m. and got on the bus at six and drove about four and a half hour s to Fort Portal on the west side of Uganda. When we finally reached Fort Portal we dropped off our stuff at the Tooro Resort where we would be spending Monday night. The resort was nice, and in my room, which I shared with Michelle and Renata we had hot showers. After we dropped all of our stuff off, we went down the road to visit at Tooro High School. Idah, who is the Ugandan director of Global Family Rescue and her husband Henry, started Parent’s Concern, an organization that takes care of orphans.
At the high school we were warmly welcomed with a song and dance by the students. Wherever we go, the people are so happy to see us, and make sure we feel welcomed, which we always do. The school choir sang a few songs for us too, including the Tooro High school song. After visiting with the students for a while, we left the school, and went out into the community to visit to families who recently had a new home built for them from the money GFR sponsors gave to them. The houses were very nice, and a definite improvement from the house they had before.
My favorite part of our visit in Fort Portal was the first annual football game! GFR vs. Tooro High School. This game was intense, and man are these kids good at football! The GFR team decided to all wear red shirts, and we were the mzungu team, we had a few Ugandan’s to help us out too. They definitely were the stars of the team. The game ended in penalty kicks somehow, even though the Tooro team won for sure, but I think they just wanted to have some more fun with us. They won in PKs 3 to 2. The crowd was huge; it was the largest crowd I have ever played in front of. The school came and watched, along with the people and children of the local community. I think the best part of the Tooro football team is that they allow girls to be on the team too! Since being in Uganda I’ve seen the boys and girls playing separately so it’s nice to see the girls given a chance to play if they’d like to.
On Tuesday, we woke up again early at 5 and headed out to Kamwenge to visit two families, one that Bill sponsors, and one that my parents and I sponsor. We had to split up, so the boys went with Bill, and the girls went with me. It was an hour and a half drive on a dirt road to get to the town, but it was such a gorgeous drive. We went through forests and up mountains, and even saw and fed some baboons bananas. Once we got into Kamwenge, we met with Hassan and his directors, and took a 10 minute walk to visit a widow who is not yet sponsored but is in desperate need of sponsorship. She is very ill will Malaria, and is taking care of three children. Her house is falling apart, and she doesn’t have a bed, not even one blanket.
We had to leave the widow after a short while to go and visit my family. Mary Tumwesigye is head of the household, and is taking care of 4 children, Gertrude who is 6 years old, Grace, 11, Lestidia, 14 and Henry who is 17. As we were driving to Mary’s house, we saw signs welcoming Jim and Sue Tris (I wish you were here to met them!) The sign was posted all over the house as well. When we got there they had the community gathered around Mary’s house, and a place for us to sit down while they did some presentations, and sang songs and danced for us. Mary then took me on a tour of her house and her property. Let me tell you, she is doing so well now! She has made improvements to her house, and has beds, and mosquito nets. She also planted maze, and is saving money to plant more banana trees. She also has saved her money to buy a goat that already has had a baby, and by the looks of the goat, there seems to be another on the way soon. She even tithes to her church and shares with her community. The saddest part of the tour was when we went out off the back of the house, is the grave of Mary’s husband. Since he has passed away, Mary has had to be the head of the household and learn how to manage her money, and she has done that very well. She plans to build a shelter for the goats and carefully manages her money each month. The four children are now well fed, and dressed, and all four of them go to school.
We also were able to exchange gifts. My family I gave them a care package of soaps, toothbrushes, and some other things, along with a football, clothes, and a jump rope for the girls. They were so thankful that they gave to me beautifully wrapped gifts addressed to my parents. These people have very little compared to us, but will do anything to show you how thankful they are, it’s quite amazing.
Gertrude, who is six years old, had a smile that was so contagious and melted all the girls’ hearts. She was quite adorable, and was very excited to have a new pink dress. I wish I could take her home with me!
I have loved these past two days. The country of Uganda is absolutely beautiful, as were driving right now, the hills that we go through with the luscious greenery and the blue skies are something I will never forget. Why can’t Illinois be so beautiful?!
We have a day off tomorrow, and then on Thursday we are going to Gulu, and then Friday and Saturday we’ll be going on a Safari! I cannot wait!
PS! Remember how I mentioned passing out stickers to the children in Namyoya village on Friday. We went to their church service on Sunday, and some of the children still were wearing their stickers I gave them =)