I woke up to the sound of the village coming alive. I heard Mama getting breakfast ready, the girls cleaning the veranda, women sweeping the compound, children starting to play and roosters doing what they do best cock-a-doodle-doing!
As soon as we were up, it was straight to work preparing for the big day. Today is the dedication of our community resource center. Let me tell you two things…Ugandans love ceremonies and formality and Uganda time means nothing will start on time.
The celebration started at mid-day, the special guests arrived, the parents and guardians came and the children filled the benches. We started by celebrating our first group of girls who have graduated from vocational training. They beamed with pride as they stood before the community. We celebrated with a cake and shared it with as many people as we could. There were speeches, lots of speeches, some of the kids performed a skit and of course, there was dancing…lots of dancing. Even our social worker Eunice, and her husband performed a skit.
Then we walked around the building so our honored guests could see it and then we went to the main door and the chief guest cut the “ribbon” and I unlocked the doors and inside we went. Everyone was in awe of the building, the commented and complimented us on a job well done. We all gathered for a group photo…I told you they love formality, but my favorite part is when the kids came charging in and surrounded me for our own group photo.
After it was time to serve lunch, and I don’t mean just any lunch, we served everyone lunch. Hundreds of people gathered together to share a meal. I was walking around taking some photos, checking on my kids and all of a sudden I heard my song being played over the PA system, they were playing “Giants Fall” (if you don’t know Francesca Battistelli wrote Giants Fall about me and my work in Uganda if you want to see the official video click here) I stood there, in between the 3 main projects we have done over the last 3 years. The playground, the pit latrine and now the building. Listening to the words “let the giants fall” it was a pretty cool moment because I was looking at my dreams that came true, my dreams that could only come true with God.
When lunch was done it was time to hand out the gifts from the sponsors to their children. Bags were piled high, it looked like Christmas morning. The kids were so excited to receive a gift from their sponsor, the smiles melted my heart. The mamas danced and yelled in celebration. Some kids had tears in their eyes and other’s had smiles so big it could swallow their whole face. I watched the kids open their bags, show each other their presents but what I love most is that they share what they receive with each other, especially with the ones that didn’t get a gift of their own.
Once we were done handing out gifts, it was time to head back into town, but this time with my boys, all of them, bigs and littles, we were having a sleepover and movie night. I started doing this last year and its the best. We stay up, we watch a movie, play games and go to church together in the morning. Special memories that I treasure always.
I realized when trying to sit down to write this journal is that nothing I can write will do justice to being in Musima. Some people look around the village and see run down homes made of mud and sticks, they would see their feet covered in red dirt and complain about being dirty, or maybe the thought of using a pit latrine would send some people running away, but for me its home. I see beauty everywhere. I see God so clearly. I see people who give selflessly, who have a joy many will never know. I see a community that works together to have the best life they can have. I see the faces of the most beautiful children in the world. I see the place God led me to 5 years ago, I see home.