Tuesday - Day 15
On Tuesday a few of us went to ASCO (Moses' street kids project) where we taught the children the alphabet (or tried to…it took me about an hour to teach Michael the letter 'M' and he still couldn't write one by the end!). We also taught them colours and used the rainbow song to help them learn. We realised that one of the older children Thomas was actually very intelligent and could read and write well and later Sarah found out that he had actually completed P7 before his family's money ran out and he ad to drop out. We also taught them the parts of the body in English and they told us what they were in Lugandan. John, who has a very bad open wound on his foot, which might have to be amputated if it becomes worse, was meant to go into hospital but he refused to because he didn't to leave his friends with one less person o n the streets at night and I think he felt a bit guilty. After a local lunch of rice, poshu, matoke etc in what looked like someone's garden don a little back alley we all crammed into the back of a people carrier in the boiling heat with five of us to three seats at the back. After several cyclic journeys in a very hot and sweaty car we arrived at a Pig Farm set up by TAORP (The Aids Orphan Rescue Programme) to help the village become more self-sufficient. We then went to Valley View Primary School to show the guys what it was like and afterwards went to visit the Widows at the Widows Project, also run by TAORP. Finally we headed to Massesse where many of the street children are from and where they walk from into town every day (it's about 3km out). It was a real shock as it was the poorest village that I have seen so far. When we got off the coach there were children EVERYWHERE and then, as if out of nowhere hundreds more came upon us - quite dirty and ill looking but really cute! I think Dom had a clan of about 20 hanging off him at one point! We went to see Peter' sister who was wearing the dress that had been given to her and which Peter had sacrificed new clothes for. After the children had swung on our arms for a bit and literally fought to hold onto our hands we headed back up the hill which was not made easier by children hanging off us. In fact Dom came down on his front leaving all of us and especially the children in hysterics! When we left the children grabbed onto us for dear life and ran after the car- one guy even jumped on, pulling off the windscreen wipe and making it quite a way with us before letting go. When Lib and I returned back to see the street kids in Jinja they immediately, without prompting started scrubbing our feet and shoes, which were filthy from the village because it had been raining. I don't think my feet had been so clean since my arrival - in fact I don't think they had ever been that clean! After dinner we met Sarah and Laura for a couple of drinks in Spot 6, but the spirit was slightly dampened by the sight of one of the street kids - Kaniyke who had been missing for a while and was very high and smelling of paraffin. It was really upsetting to see a child so young - only about 7- under the influence of drugs. We all moved inside but left pretty early, a bit depressed by what we'd seen.Wednesday - Day 16
On Wednesday we went to help with the street kids at ASCO again and I finally taught Peter how to write his name properly as he always wrote it as Peteb. In the afternoon Rachel, Joe Ollie and I got into the car with 'Hassan is me' to a Primary School and HIV Clinic, which he had a link with. The primary school was called 'Deseret' and was in a beautiful rural location we had a very warm welcome. All the teachers (there were only about four) introduced themselves and then we introduced ourselves. After being given a bottle of water and some glucose biscuits we sat down for some entertainment from the school choir. The singing was really good and the soloists all sang a little section and inserted our name into it - so I was welcomed as 'Sister Olivia'. The songs were really upbeat and one was about their love for their homeland Uganda, however the last song choice was a little depressing as it was about AIDS and HIV. I get the impression they like to teach the children about HIV from a very early age and through drama and song. After the singing the girls did some traditional African dancing for us which was incredible to watch and even the really young girls of only about 6 or 7 could already dance really well and move their hips in ways I didn't think possible! After telling the head teacher the times that we were free to teach and after a quick tour of the classrooms we waited for Hasan who had disappeared momentarily.We then went to the HIV clinic down the road where we were given another bottle of water. The group at the clinic meets every Wednesday to support and chat to each other and some of the women make traditional jewellery, hats and bags. Hasan kind of put us on the spot and asked us to tell the group about ourselves and then ask them any questions we had but I don't think they understood much of our English. The others went inside but Hasan told me tat one of the women wanted to speak to me so I sat down with her and she told me about how she lived nearby and did have children but had lost most of them, I don't know whether it was to HIV or not but it was very sad.Thursday & Friday - Day 17/18
I spent Thursday and Friday mornings with the kids at ASCO and on Thursday afternoon I went to Sunrise for the first time, which is a little orphanage just outside of Jinja. The children at Sunrise were so adorable and really well behaved. People had warned me that leaving covered in sick and wee was pretty much standard procedure but luckily the kids didn't leave their mark on my visit! There were four little babies, which Jen, Soph and I spent most of our time with. There was a little boy called Mark who everyone loves because he always has a massive smile on his face and looks constantly jolly. There were also two really cute little girls called Brenda and goody as well as the tiniest baby I have ever seen called Moses who was just 8 weeks old and recovering form Malaria. Mark constantly wanted to be bounced about and have his eyes on what was going on but when I held Goody she fell fast asleep and I did with her before one of the women who worked there had to wake me up! Sunrise is supported by TAORP so Moses and his brother Joseph as well as Sarah were all there. The orphanage obviously had a lot of love and a few workers but what I noticed was the lack of toys for the children who range form new born to about five. We were also told that the children could no longer go out and play in the garden without lots of people watching them, as recently there had been several cases of a local tribe abducting children and sacrificing them in very brutal manners, which sounded awful and very deranged! On Friday night we went to some kind of stand up comedy thing at Mayfair Hotel which was odd to say the least but the Ugandans seemed to find a man walking around on he floor as a goat absolutely hilarious. Afterwards we headed to Viewers for a bit of a dance and eventual got back into the guesthouse after being locked out for a while as Patrick-our 'guardian' did not want to stir.Saturday - Day 19
The boys went off to play rugby again in Kampala on Saturday so the rest of us went to Nile Resort to relax by the pool. We found out that the boys had won their match and were heading over to two Friends for a meal and to watch the rugby so Lib Marianne and I went to Flavours for a burger and a brownie. We returned home thinking that the guys would be really up for a night at Sombreros to celebrate their victory but they were all absolutely exhausted form playing in the boiling heat and travelling in a small stuffy matatu for 4 hours that day! So it was decided that we would have a girls' night out. We all headed to the campsite where the AV lot were staying at weekends and met Benji and a man called 'Dr Nash' there. After many heartfelt attempts to get a big group out were left with just Lib, Brooke and I agreeing to go out along with Benji and Dr Nash. We got into Nash's car and decided to make a detour to the guesthouse to see who we could get to come out with us. We all stormed in trying to rouse people fro their slumber but only Dom who had just go into bed and was wearing a sleeping mask, agreed to come out which was quite impressive! Sophie and Marianne surprised us when they also tuned up at Sombreros and we had our best night out so far and stayed out until about 4.30am when Nash and Benji dropped us safely home!
Sunday - Day 20
We went to the pool again on Sunday and even though it was really cloudy we all burnt very badly as the UV rays here on the Equator are so strong. I ordered a chicken sandwich, which took forever and a day to arrive and was really not worth it and probably not chicken. We came back home to freshen up before playing some drinking names and in turn getting to know each other a bit better with some unexpected revelations! We then headed to Why Not for a drink before Viewers but we opted out of another night of Ugandan stand up comedy! The boys were acting a bit oddly all evening and Joe and Dom came to Why Not bout an hour after the rest of us after some secret discussions with the rest of the guys. When I returned home I saw lib's bed covered in the song lyrics from Hero and I had the Queen of Hearts with a poem to me written on the back left on my pillow. It soon came out that, as it was Valentines Day, all the boys had picked a girls name out of a hat and had to do a Romantic gesture for her! We were all really shocked at the amount of effort put in and it was a really nice surprise to come home to!
Monday 15/02/10 - Day 21
People have started to get more of a concrete timetable now (apart from Lib and I as Wanyange don't seem to have any organisation capabilities and are extremely laid back) and so things have started to become less hectic and more predictable! I spend most of my time at the moment helping out at ASCO teaching the kids a bit of Literacy and Numeracy and taking them for daily showers and to the local clinic most days to bandage their wounds and check them for Malaria etc. We have also started to paint the rooms at the Street Kid's project and the aim is to get some desks and cupboards and beds and to eventually make it into a hostel so that the kids don't have to sleep on the streets at night.
Tuesday 16/02/10 - Day 22
On Tuesday we started to scrape the old paint off the walls at ASCO to prepare it for paining andthe day was pretty uneventful until the evening when Lib came back to the guesthouse after using the Internet in town and told us that her purse with all her cards and driving licence and about £150 in cash had been stolen from her bag! Lib and I therefore headed down for our first visit to the local police station. It was an experience to say the least. After explaining at the front desk that a purse had been stolen, we were sat in a very packed and busy room where we waited for a fair amount of time to be seen to. We were, however, distracted by the events which were unrolling before us. A group of Boda boda drivers wielding a rather large knife came into the room and started shouting a lot and getting quite angry. We couldn't quite work out what was going on, but I think a Boda boda driver had been threatened or something like that. It was quite unnerving to see such a big knife being passed around the room though! Eventually Lib was called in to make her statement, which, if I'm honest, looked like it was jotted down on a piece of scrap paper. As Lib sat at the desk she looked over at me in with an alarmed expression and pointed to a document on the table. She later told me that a file with a man's name and branded "CHARGE: MURDER" was just lying on the table in front of her.
Wednesday (17/02/10) & Thursday (18/02/10)- Day 23/24
We continued to paint at the project for the next few days but we had to stop letting the kids join in as paint was flying everywhere and not in the right places so we sat them all down with a film - Kungfu Panda - which they loved. On Thursday I was at ASCO again and went shopping with Thomas Moses and Rachel to get some of his things for Lordsmeade as he was starting school with Rachel as his sponsor that day. He seemed very nervous about starting school and I think this was amplified by the guilt he felt, as his friends at ASCO don't yet have sponsors and the opportunity to go to school. At about mid day, Lib came up to me and told me that she had met Helen out of the blue on Main Street and we had been invited to go to the village to surprise Tom and Marrianne! We had to be ready to meet Helen at about 4pm so Lib and I left ASCO at about half two to pack a toothbrush and change of underwear into a small bag and head off. On the journey down we sped a long listening to cheesy music and stopped off in a small village and bought 3kg of meat and had banter with the butcher to ensure no fat or bone was included in the weight! After picking up a few too many beers we arrived in Lugazi and were given a tour of the school where Tom and Marianne stay by the very friendly headmaster - John 1 (called such because there was a lest prominent figure called John 2 at the school). We were told that Tom was playing football with the locals and so we went down to the pitch to surprise him but he was so focused on the game that he didn't notice us walk past and stand at the end of the pitch. We decided, therefore, that the only thing to do was to storm the pitch and jump on him. The look of pure shock on his face was hilarious. He played the rest of the game and then came over, perplexed, asking what we were doing there. Marriane came down as well looking just as shocked and then we all headed back up to our room and to get ready for dinner. We all sat around outside and had some Poshu, beans and matoke to start with whilst the meat was cooking on the 'Bry' - barbeque. Mr Fred cooked the meat and we sat around with some of the workers at the school including James and Winnie who are like Tom and Marrinne's brother and sister out in the village as well as the headmaster -John1. The meat was worth the wait and was marinated in some kind of herb and Winne gave us some of the nicest tomatoes I have ever tasted but she would not tell us her secret recipe. We eventually went to bed and tried to put up all our mosquito nets, which is very difficult and not advisable after a few beers! Needless to say we couldn't manage to put the mosquito net up and so I ended up sharing a very small single bed with Marrianne and I fell out of bed several times throughout the night.