Sunday, 3 June 2018

Uganda: Thank You & Farewell Uganda!

Yesterday the team enjoyed a well deserved rest day after 12 straight days of bedkit distributions.  It was a day for a leisurely breakfast, a swim, a nice walk in downtown Kampala and some shopping for local crafts.  The day ended with a delicious evening meal at a patio restaurant.  Also a day to have some laundry done!

Today is ‘Martyr’s Day’ in Uganda.  Homage is paid to the memory of 20 young men who chose to die in the late 1800’s rather than denying their religious beliefs.  Throngs of people walk to the historic site at this time every year to remember the sacrifices made by their ancestors.  A number of us went to a church service this morning to experience the culture of this special day.

This afternoon we joined with the executive of the Inner Wheel Club of Kampala to formally debrief our shared experience of 12 distributions that provided bedkits to 7000 joyous children.  Everyone agreed that it had been an amazing journey with excellent outcomes.  At each rural centre we were welcomed by excited throngs of children and their parents who greeted us with dancing and songs.  The Inner Wheel members and the SCAW team from Canada worked hand-in-hand to ensure that 7000 children received their precious bedkit and that a photograph was taken of each happy child.  This debriefing session enabled us to jointly assess the whole distribution experience and to make suggestions for the future.  

Afterwards our overseas partners, the women of the Inner Wheel, treated us to a celebratory dinner hosted at the home of this year’s SCAW Chair, Winifred Biraaro.  We laughed, hugged, sang, danced and enjoyed a delicious buffet meal prepared by Winnie’s daughters.  What a grand way to end this year’s SCAW distribution - celebrating as  a unified team who had achieved so much over the past two weeks.  

It has been a privilege to serve as the Team Leader for Team Uganda 2018.  Working together with the amazing women of the Inner Wheel was delightful.  Our joint team was strong, dedicated, flexible, energetic and wiling to do anything to make the project successful.  Thank you to the thousands of donors who made it possible to improve the lives of so many children.  100% of your money was utilized to provide Ugandan children with the gift of a better night’s sleep and school supplies to support a brighter future.  

Team Uganda is now signing off….

Lois Wey
Team Uganda 2018
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Uganda: Signing Off!!

We got on the bus early arriving at Korongo Anglican Public school by 8:30am. The Inner Wheel team had been there since sunrise preparing for the distribution. Beside the school was a large Anglican Church - one of 17 in the area under the priest who acted as this writer’s translator for the recipient interviews. He walks beside the hardship and struggles of his parishioners.

In just a few hours we had given our LAST Bedkit.

We did it !!!!

12 distributions in
12 days

7000 bedkits distributed
7000 grateful families
7 tired SCAW Uganda team members
11 tired Inner Wheel Ladies
18 hearts full of love and gratitude for the opportunity to bring such important gifts to these needy children on behalf of our many generous donors

Donors are the lifeblood of SCAW. Thank you!

Their generosity supported our ability to increase the number of bedkits in the distribution this year in Uganda . When you see the children who were unable to be bedkit recipients, you know how vital this annual distribution is in Uganda. 

We are now on the bus which has been our home for 12 days, making the four hour trip back to Kampala.

Tired, sleepy and content with a job well done.

Janet Helmer
SCAW Uganda 2018 team member

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Uganda: Kyabigambire

Refreshed and ready for a new day we headed a short distance to our distribution site in Kyabigambire. We were met by cries of ‘yayayayayaya’ a sound of appreciation by the women of the area, we shook hands and felt very welcomed by their community. The children were all dressed and ready in their colourful clothes from the SCAW distribution. The children had been waiting patiently then slowly moved towards us in a wave of colour. When we started blowing bubbles they laughed the carefree laugh of a child as they tried to hold the bubble in their hands, like how I will hold this trip as a memory, a fragile thing that is there and then it is just a beautiful memory. All set and ready to go we sang some songs with the children. We concluded the singing with the children singing the ‘National Anthem of Uganda’ followed by us singing ‘Oh Canada!’ Many times I have sang this song but I will remember this time specifically as we sang as a group of seven Canadians seeing the watchful eyes of these innocent Ugandan children. We went back to the front where we were entertained by the women dancing to the sound of the drums. The distribution went well, a light rain fell. Afterwards we sat under the stool shade of a large Mango tree with members of the inner wheel as we concluded our visit to this community. We watched as children with bedkits and family members dispersed from the area.

Tonight the recipients will replace their papyrus mat with a new foam mattress, the mosquito netting will cover their bed tonight and protect them from malaria. The children will use their new lunch bucket tomorrow to pack up their matoke or rice and vegetables for lunch. The sandals provided in the kit will be treasured. The children will examine the math kit and be excited to think they have 12 exercise books to use for their lessons. The others items will also be very useful to them, including a blanket, 2 sheets, a wash basin, boxers, a water bottle and a backpack.

We waved good bye and set off down the road, so thankful for the wonderful organizing of our Inner Wheel friends, as things are going very smoothly. The children will have a good night’s sleep for many nights and even though we know that there are many more who need our help, we head home knowing what we did ‘for the Children.’

By Margo Leonard
Team Uganda 2018
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Uganda: Kitoba

Every day we have so much to appreciate. We had our closest distribution site so far. It was a short half hour drive to Kitoba.

We were met by a sea of smiling faces and joyful singing. The mattresses and bedkits were ready to be taken to their new homes where they will be treasured. Our photographers scouted around while the rest of us blew bubbles and greeted the parents and children.

A unique background was chosen. With everyone at their posts, the Inner Wheel ladies made the wheels turn well. With the background music playing Happy Birthday, we started our distribution. I was fortunate to see every face of these amazing children as they sat for their photos, tall, short, colourful outfits of yellow, green, blue and red. Some children had shoes, others did not, sometimes adding a small necklace, curious eyes, frightened eyes, shy, timid smiles, giggles behind hands, downcast eyes, and a heartfelt curtesy from the girls as they accepted their kits.

As the distribution nears its end, we watch as families leave, thanking us again as they start perhaps the several kilometres walk home in the heat of the day. The sun provided the warmth of the day, but the children provided the warmth in our hearts as we packed up our belongings. After another successful distribution with so much help from our Inner Wheel friends, we loaded the bus and thanked the volunteers from the community, in particular Margaret Atuhairwe, who was the liaison for the Hoima area distributions. Each time as we drive away from a site, the area nearly empty of people, we leave of bit of our hearts here. 

We are happy that we are able to help 585 children a day. 

By Margo Leonard
Team Uganda 2018
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