Well, I thought yesterday was worth a blog post and then this morning has already had some interest, so I will tell you about them. Yesterday(Sunday) started with a slow waking up and then a knock on the door. It was the farmer's (Michael) son Derek delivering the milk. We felt a bit like slackers until i thought it is only 7.30 on a Sunday morning! Fresh milk delivered to the door - what luxury we live in. Then, as we are eating breakfast we see a boda arrive (what is this?), so go and check - it is the vet (that we have been told by someone else also works as a plumber?! So, he goes down to the farm. We had no idea why he was here. He comes back and wants payment. Not so sure Ron rings to check but doesn't get response from the person who has said he should come. So... Breakfast done, milk boiled up (we've been told we should do this), we get ready for church. We had decided to shower in the morning for a good Sunday. Oh dear, no water... Wait a while. Ah, there is some, phew!
Off to church we go and we had no trouble finding the church. It is a different one to the one the children go to. It is called Miracle Centre Bugembe and is the church Robert goes to. We arrive in perfect time, look totally out of place, arriving in a car and being muzungu but... Robert fortunately arrives soon after us to make us look better. All this is significant because the first service has gone a bit late. The second service was meant to start at 10.00 but at 10.20 the other service comes out but TIA. Then, in we go, get introduced, Ron gets asks to preach sometime - a few sermons coming up! Then, we have the service. It is Student Sunday and the whole service was taken by students. Interestingly, students here means in secondary or tertiary level. Primary students are pupils. More significant though is that these students are so old. Education goes for a long time and it finishes a lot later than in Australia. Hence, a lot of them would have been in their mid to late 20s. It was a great service with lots of singing, dancing and performing as well as a great sermon. We got to stand up and introduce ourselves and then in the notices at the end give a greeting as well since Ron is a pastor! It was great, there were some fans that made it easier and the chairs here have a back - at the other church it is just benches. In fact the three hours flew by and at no time did I think, when this going to finish. The prayer for the young people was great. Included in the service at the end was a notice about bio gas. It was by a guy who runs an international organisation and there are grants available. This stuff is of considerable interest to both Ron and me, so with the service being about youth and the bio gas, we did feel it was a divine appointment. Another fun thing was the calling of the bands for marriage, this was the third Sunday and the couple stood at the front and it was asked if anyone had any reason why they shouldn't be married. Then, the church was all told how if you are a member then you should be contributing to their marriage. A meeting was to be held after the service about the wedding. This is community.
Robert very graciously invited us to lunch. So, since he let a whole lot of extras. So, we thought we could help out. Suddenly we had 7 extras hoping into the back of the car. That was fine until I turned to help and thought one of the children was happy to come into the front. He then let out the most ear piercing screams. You would have thought someone had stabbed in, no just the colour of my skin etc scared him silly. So, we made it safely down the road and they all piled out of the back seat!
Africans are incredibly hospitable. I think the meal that was meant for his family alone was simply stretched to include us. It is becoming a little bit of a worry, I am enjoying African food very much. We had matoki, and beef stew type thing. Very tasty.
We then went to come home but decided that we hadn't seen further down the road we always travel. On Friday we had been for a walk down the road near us but this was on the highway. (btw that walk was very interesting to - we got to the start of the town and at the first shop there were a crowd of people, then we heard raised voices, we made a reasonably hasty retreat - the locals were all gathering, we think it must have been a big domestic - some things are a lot more public here). Down the highway we saw the big sugar mills that process a lot of the sugar. In fact there are places when you drive that you could be anywhere. This was the case, the view of Lake Victoria is fantastic and then the sugar cane growing in the fields nearby. One could easily think you were in Queensland - though this probably looks better than Queensland at the moment! Then, we went through this road, had to get checked and sign to get through - I think it related to the sugar mills. And on home a different way.
At the gate, I get out and hear "Aunt Anne", "Aunt Anne"... The neighbour children rushed to greet me. This is such a joy. I told them to hop in the car and travel down to the main part of the village (probably only 100 metres) and they were very excited. Then, there was playing with the children etc. We are having supper with the children and mamas on a Sunday. So, it was dried fish (that was cooked in peanut sauce) and mutoki for dinner. Mutoki twice in one day! It was again deliicious. So, here you are, two completely African meals in one day - admittedly beautiful ones. After supper the children wanted to sing doe a deer... The sound of music is still a huge hit. That then went into Ron trying to teach them a song about loving God. Then, it was a fantastic free for all. Some of it very very loud - but the little girl Shamina on my knee managed to sleep (and to wet herself and me!). Ron also had Ibra on his knee. It was a great time of fun and fellowship with the children singing, shouting, praising God, playing the drum and dancing. We then had a talk and into the admin centre (home). The day of course was made complete by the mosquitoes in buzzing around - but I was able to have a nice cold shower to clean up!
This morning Ron had to go into town about the container so I decided to take some of the children to see their mother. Their mother was very very sick when they came here and has been able to recover a lot. So, we arrived at the village (that is commonly called a slum) to see her and their friends. We couldn't find her mum, she no longer was staying the hut I had seen her in last year. So, we socialised with others. Well, more accurately, the children from our village left me, and went and saw their friends while I sat with another lady and had children laugh at me. You do have to learn not to be at all self conscious (maybe teaching has prepared me for this). The children were quite afraid, these children do not normally see white people at all. Eventually with hands in the dirt I made friends with the children. I clapped my hands (good primary school fashion), they copied and then we moved on into a song. After a little while of much laughter and screams I had made friends. I am not sure why but they suddenly said "Good morning teacher". So then I traced in the dirt a letter 'a', and told then it was for apple. They were all instantly on the ground copying the 'a' . I thought that my colleagues in Australia were back teaching and I wasn't, wrong!
So, you can see that everyday brings different things. As I type this I am in a room full of people waiting to see Ivan. They are all totally unexpected but he was registering people to put children down to come into the village on Friday. So, more people have heard and come. the children are all dressed in their very best clothes some of which are good and others are a little worse for wear. They all wait patiently and I feel their pain as they long for a better life for children. The visit this morning reminds me so much of what our children have come from. Situations that you cannot possible imagine, makeshift places, rubbish in piles nearby and then the train runs through only metres from children playing (no boom gates or warnings).
On a brighter note is was so good to visit Juliette. This is the lady I wrote about in another blog post with photos. She laughs as she talks about me as her muzungu friend. I feel so privileged to go into these places and make friends with the children. I so so need to know more Lugandan. Juliette is making mats. Please pray for her to have people to buy them as this provides her food and rent. They are good mats but only come in one colour combination white and light blue. That is because they are made from the hard plastic that is used to tie up parcels - the stuff that is so annoying when you want to get into a parcel. Nothing is wasted here - you learn to think about what rubbish you make and what it could be used for.
Sorry about the length of these. Well done if you have got to the end...