Travelling into the lush mountain area of Hoima district to Kitoonya public school.Our morning journey takes us off the main road, down a dusty, winding and bumpy road. The road is narrow with lush vegetation on both sides surrounded by mountains of the Rwenzori Range. We all marvel and admire the "Pearl of Africa" landscape with the blue sly and blazing sun starting the day.
We turn a bend arriving at Kitoonya Public School with parents and children lining the driveway waving, chanting and dancing on our arrival.We disembark to a sea of colours surrounding and welcoming us. Our kits have already arrived and assembled and ready for our distribution. A jubilation follows with everyone clapping, chanting and dancing to show their gratefulness for this wonderful day in this remote location. Blowing soap bubbles with the children, dancing within the crowd, along with singing, allows us to share in the celebration.
Then the distribution team is ready and all the children are attired in their red, yellow, green dresses for girls and blue shorts with red, blue and green tees, what a sight as they line up. Two hours later all 585 kits have been distributed - a job well done by everyone. Now it is time to pack up the bus and head back to rest.
Well the Inner Wheel Group had another surprise for us on the way home, to complete our day. A home visit to one of the individuals receiving our kit that day. We arrived at the home of a young 24 year old woman with two children and four other step children from her new husband. We arrive at the humble abode hesitant to disturb this family with everyone attending but wanting to view their humble lifestyle We are truly taken back by the meagre necessities.
The mother was cooking supper on an open fire with a blackened steel pot. Supper consisted of sweet potato and pinto beans which she grew in her yard. ,She had walked her daughter who received the kit, three km to the distribution, while the other children were at home with an older child. The girl receiving the kit was still dressed in her yellow outfit while the other children were dressed in very sparse essentials. The house was constructed of mud brick and some cement with dirt floors. The small dwelling was divided into a bedroom for the parents, a bedroom for the six children, and a storage/living room. Outside was a cooking hut, as well as a small area protected by bamboo stalks that was used as a bathing centre. A rudimentary outhouse was also on the property (a dug hole in the ground). We left with a lot of respect for this 24 year old mother who was doing the best she could at such such a young age with the limited resources available.
We are all very thankful for what we have and where we live.
By Bill Helmer
Team Uganda 2018
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