Today we headed to the village for the first time this trip! I couldn’t wait to get there to see my Musima family. My favorite Jinja driver, Job, came to pick us up. I love Job, I met him on my very first trip to Uganda, and he has been our driver this side ever since. He is the sweetest, kindest, craziest driver you could ever meet…he is my Uganda Papa!
There is nothing better than a village welcome! As we came up the dirt road, we saw a string stitched across the road with flowers hanging from it…this was where they wanted me to stop. So we did, and a few moments later we heard the sounds of the the songs and cheers of my family coming to greet me. I can’t describe how it makes me feel, it makes me so happy, it lets me know I’m home.
Hundreds of women, men and children came to greet us. I cut the string, and was given some flowers then the processional was on, they lined the road with banana leaves for me to walk on. Everyone was singing, dancing, yelling and celebrating. When we arrived in the center of the village we sat down and the women and children sang and danced for us. I looked around, smiling at all the faces of the people I love. We were hugged, greeted, and danced with. We stood before the group and said a welcome…then it was inside for some tea and fruit.
Only the children who are either still waiting for a sponsor or who are not in the program yet were around, all of our sponsored kids are away at boarding school, and won’t be back in the village until next week. But I kept searching every face, and in every group for one person I was longing to see most..my brother Pande. It has been so hard to be in country for a week and not get to see him yet, but today was the day. Finally, I saw him walking up the road. He had been working on the new pit latrine we are building by the playground. Pande is an amazing young man, hard working and so smart.
We walked down to the playground, it makes my heart so happy to see it because I know how much happiness it brings my kids. We built the playground last summer when we were here. This summer we are building a pit latrine, with 4 stalls down near the playground for the kids when they are playing. Of course I found my friend Emmanuel working…next to Pande is the hardest worker.
After watching the kids play for a bit, and swinging some myself. We headed out to start our home visits. We visit the home of EVERY child who is sponsored in our program, so this Summer we have 127 home visits to do. Today we went to Kalugami side of the village…which is the farthest point and started home visits. We walked over 6 miles, and completed 12 home visits, and also visited the home of 3 children who are still waiting for a sponsor who are desperately needing one.
I love how when we started our journey we had a small group, but by the end we had Mamas, Papas and kids joining us, walking the long walk with us by the time we were done we had over 20 people in our little group. Each child wanting to hold a hand, or help us carry the fruits, eggs and other goodies the families gave us as we visited. I also love how much it means to each and every one of the families that we take the time to come to their homes to visit them.
I also had the great pleasure of telling one of our kids that they got a sponsor, Finah was so happy she just smiled and hugged me and started dancing!
By the time we finished and we were walking back up the road, the sun was setting and we were exhausted. But what made me smile after a long day, was as we were walking up the road I could hear the laughter coming from the playground.
So now off to bed…Sula bulungi everyone! (Sleep well!)