Today has been a big day in all sorts of ways. Being a Friday there was no school. While I waited for Lucy to arrive, I wrote up the start of a document to send to people who have supported the orphanage we visit. Then, off to the village to give a hand to the team. I met a friend on the way, as you do here, another teacher from schook. It was great to hear that she was a lot better as had been a passenger in a boda accident and had nasty wounds to her legs (thanks to the keyboard that nearly said kegs which would have been very rude). She invited me in to her house to bless it. It seemed such a lovely place, it is a real encouragement to see that a widow here is able to manage with her children. It included some nice design features in the part I saw too. We had a pleasant chat, I discovered that a gift from her school at the end of the year might be a punja (matchete) or a hoe or bedsheets! Then, on to do some work with the team once I had changed. Of course I changed into work shorts and tshirt. I was amazed to hear that I looked smart! It even continued into how young I looked. Believe it or not I still looked smart when I was covered in dirt and got back to the house! Let me go back to the work on the house. It has been great to have this team come and ‘fix up’ the two houses. It is not a glamorous job in that they will not go home and say we built a house but it is invaluable and not very pretty work. It is exciting for us though because the houses will be really ready for the new mothers and children which should be coming in a few weeks! The team has taken up the challenge to make them look good and I am looking forward to the results – I have not managed to get back to help them unfortunately but hope to make it again.
Lunchtime, David arrived and was already packed ready to go off to university. This might seem strange for me to talk about but it is life changing. His mother has struggled to educate her children but has been successful and this last born child completed Senior 6 last year. He received his results and achieved recently a place in a diploma course in Clinical medicine and community health but due to finances was not able to take it up. Tuesday, today was the deadline but it did not look good. However, one of the team hearing about his plight, despite his age and limited resources decided to pay his fees, using extra money he has earned by having a gap year. Thank you God for your timing, a young man is now helping another young man. So, in less than 24 hours David’s life has been turned around and he is now in western Uganda making his way at university.
Then, off for a visit with the lovely Gladice, to the orphanage that we have had a bit to do with that is not related to Hopebuilders who we are mainly working with. Well, first a stop at the bank and purchasing the food stuffs. It was a reasonably uneventful visit though I was not that excited by the fact that it had rained and so the roads were very slippery. I continue to be thankful that Ron (and I) were prepared for this adventure with 4-wheel drive experience – Ron in driving, me as a passenger! The children were so excited to see us. A couple of the older girls instantly whisk me away. Then, just want to hold my hand – so special and such a responsibility. One said how she had prayed that we would come – they needed school fees paid which thanks to Australian generosity we were able to do. They also needed school jumpers, we might think it an extravagance but people here really feel the cold. It was so good to be able to facilitate this as well. It was a short lived visit though as we needed to be back in town.
We got back in time to meet the team at the lovely Gately restaurant (only naming for those who know the place). The grounds are so relaxing and then we had a great meal. The beauty of going with a team is you get to see a variety of meals and learn other things to order on future visits. (I have to make the most of the opportunities as we do go out here but only rarely in Australia.) The evening was very pleasant though the Australian who is looking after the place was a bit ‘interesting’. Then, home at last. Due to the darkness and us being more local we drove both the vehicles. Hence, for the second time in a week I drove in the dark here in Jinja. I think God must send angels to clear the way for me as it was not too bad at all. It can be quite terrible driving in the dark as you have to look out for constant pedestrians, cyclists without any lighting, bodas coming at you on the wrong side of the road and then of course there is the normal taxis and cars and then extra trucks parked for the night on the side of the road. But, home safe and sound, just another day in Uganda.