>So, now that we have been home for a little while, I am starting to put my thoughts and feelings about Uganda into something more than a jumbled mess! Buckle up and here we go! I figured that we would start at the most obvious place…the end, makes sense right? Just warning you ahead of time there are going to be a lot of pictures! It is easier to show you what I experienced. Trust me. When I found out about the trip I most looked forward to meeting our Compassion kids, and well…it wasn’t exactly what I expected. First, let’s meet Charles.
p.s. sorry about the picture quality; I had no control over the lighting and I was MUCH more concerned with being all there, not the quality of the photos!
When we left Kampala that morning to drive to Soroti, it was pitch black! This was our view about an hour into the drive!
These are the typical homes in the area that Charles lives in, but as you will see in a second, not the way his home looks anymore!
This is me excited…sort of. The trip had taken a couple of hours longer than originally planned and we were late and I was super nervous. Gotta fake it sometimes.
Compassion sponsors…you know how sometimes you get photos from their Christmas presents and Birthday presents…this is how they keep track of it! Our Charles is up there somewhere!
This is the Compassion kids schedule while they are at the project. It is broken up according to their ages.
This was our menu of our breakfast and lunch at the project. We arrived at the project at around 11 and somehow fit in breakfast and lunch…Because we arrived so late, they spent the whole time trying to catch up. Honestly it made the visit a little strained.
This is the first photo I was able to get of Charles. Meeting him was a little underwhelming. We
interrupted toured the classes and all of the children stopped their lessons and stood up and had 30 second recitations that they had learned in English to greet us. We got to Charles’ class and I was looking around for him and the guy leading our visit points to a little guy right in front of my feet and says, “This is Okwalinga.” (Charles’s last name) Then class resumed and we got NO time to talk to him.
After visiting the classes they rushed us off to Charles’ home. If you look at the photo of him on my sidebar you will see this chicken! The wooden bucket next to her is FULL of eggs. Hallelujah! The Christmas gift we gave is helping to provide for his whole family!
Charles and I sitting on the mat that his mother gave us as a thank you for our sponsorship. Those are chairs behind us but those are only for the men. Not for us poor women.
This is Charles’ home and family. His home burned down right after we started sponsoring him and because of our sponsorship the project was able to build them a new home. The largest and nicest home in the area. 3 rooms! Charles’ father died about 3 years ago leaving Charles’ mother alone with 5 children and 2 others that she cares for from his second wife.
Me cheesing it up next to the momma! She had such a beautiful smile.
See that soccer ball Charles is holding? We brought that for him. We are awesome. See the awkward scene behind him? That is the Project handing us our gift, a silverware holder. I was honored to receive the gift but I kind of felt that I was getting the key to the city or something!
How do you clean your hands without any running water? This is it! Someone boils water, lets it cool and holds it over your hands while you try to get the soap off your hands as quick as possible to conserve water. The only problem, the soap stick to your hands. It won’t come off. So I had a film on my hand for the day. But at least it is soap right?
Look at little Charles washing his hands. He knew what to do…to bad we had no idea.
Love seeing Charles grin, but I look crazy. How many chins is that? Really cute story to insert here. We gave him a book bag full of goodies for an 8 year old to have fun with. In the book bag we gave him a little container of play-dough. No one in the room (there were 10 people in there easily) knew what it was. No one. How do you explain play dough. It’s like clay…that you mold….Literally the first question was (from an adult in the room), “Can he eat it?” I wanted to fall through the floor. I felt so stinking lame. Everyone in the room felt embarrassed for us I think, they looked at us blankly and said, “Okay…say thank you Okwalinga…” The same way we would in the US if some crazy grandma gave a kid some really ugly sweater. That’s me, the ugly sweater gifting Grandma.
This is Charles showing us his friends at the project. They were mostly girls. He’s a cutie. What can I say?
After eating lunch it was game time! It was so precious they had rigged relays for the boys. It was Charles against 5 kids half his size. He won every time and we were so impressed at how hard the project worked to make this a special day for Charles and for us.
Matthew and Charles playing soccer after relay races. They were so cute.
Right before we left they brought out two chairs and sat us down and made all the children…all 200 of them…sit in front of us and all of the project volunteers made speeches. Don’t let the photo fool you, out of all of these children, none of them had ever seen a white person. They were terrified of us. Terrified. If we reached out to them, they ran. Kids cried. Big white people. Monsters.
This is my FAVORITE PHOTO from the visit. His mom and baby brother in the background. I know that some of these comments were a little less than positive, but I have to be honest with you, Compassion is doing good work, it is obvious being at a project, but this visit was awkward and uncomfortable. This was their first sponsor to ever visit and I am sure they were as nervous and stressed out as we were. They acted like they had to prove the validity of the work they were doing, we represented all of the over 200 sponsors connected to this project. It was a lot of pressure for everyone involved. That night we were dreading another full day of the awkwardness…Praise the Lord, that wasn’t the case. Our next visit was in a word, Wonderful. In another word, Rewarding. Tune in Monday for a post about our visit to Hilda Josephine’s project!