Friday, January 4, 2008

"we will never forget you"

That is what little Kijambo said to Bethany and I in the car today as we were driving 6 STAO kids home from a day in town.

Yesterday Bethany and I distributed 30 basins of towels, sweeties, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes and sandles. The kids were all so happy and thrilled that they each had something of their very own, with their name on it even! Last week we were told that there were 45 kids at STAO and then we asked for a list of the kids with ages, sizes and names but that wasn't going to happen so we wrote down the names of the 45 kids plus an extra random 15 and when we got to stao to distribute, children appeared from the woodwork and there was another 15 or 20 who needed bins. So we are making more and bringing them early next week.

This morning bethany and i drove to STAO and picked up 6 kids to bring to the international clinic for treatment of some nasty infections. Only 2 of the kids had ever been to Jinja Town and were thrilled at all there was to see! Marion is about 4 or 5, we dont actually know and she came to town and spent the whole day with no shoes. When we got to the hospital the kids took their shoes off at the door. It was pretty cute but heartbreaking because they thought the hospital was so beautiful, they should take their shoes off. Marion peed her dress so we put her in a HUGE men's teeshirt that she wore as a dress till we could get her something else to put on. The kids got HIV tests and all came back negative.

After the hospital we piled the 8 of us in the car and drove to main st. where we ate chicken and chips at source cafe. Each kid got a big glass of milk but they were all much more intersted in the soda.

After they had finished eating the little girls knelt on the floor and thanked us. It was so sad that they were overwhelmed with a plate of food that wasnt posho and beans.

Then it was off to our house for Charlottes Web and a good bath. The kids wanted to check out our compound and as they rounded the back, they all started chattering in Luganda and Kijambo asked me "auntie- that is what?", referring to the swimming pool. I told him it was like a big bathtub full of water and you could swim in it. Shamimu got on the ladder and climbed down it till she was halfway in, getting herself soaking wet in the process and loving it the whole time! they all started splashing water on themselves and cleaning their heads and faces, like they would in the shower. It was precious. After that we bathed the kids, put them in new clean clothes (denise got a pair of my neice ava's old shorts for 9-12mth olds, shes about 4) and loaded everyone back into the car.

On the way back to the village, Kijambo said that he did not want to return, and they all wanted to stay with me and bethany and live at our house. How do you explain to a 12 year old boy why he can't live with us? How do you explain the extreme difference in standards of living?

After we left the kids at STAO we drove home with our hearts heavy and our minds reeling. We love it here, we love every kid we've met, dirty, sick and smelly as they may be. But our hearts are sore from breaking daily and its time for a break.

We're planning a short 3 day trip to Rwanda to see the 1994 genocide memorials. It wont be that much of a break because we're going to be going to 2 churches where in one- a thousand people were slaughtered with machetes and then left, in their exact same positions for 13 years. They are piles of bones and clothes now and it is said to be very disturbing and haunting, but something we must see. Thats the plan so far.

Mariam with her basin in the girls room

Fatuma with her sweetie!

the outside of the main building in STAO.

Fatuma's gross skin infection on her head, with pus coming from the wounds. You can't really see it that well but it looked angry and sore.

3 or 4 year old Marion's infected ear and body rash.

Maria and Denise enjoying their chocolate chip cookies and milk!

Shamimu with the thumbs up,
Maria with the mango
Fatuma with her face covered
Kijambo in the washington shirt
Denise in the blue polo
Marion in the overalls

Until Next Time!


Brandi said...

I know your hearts must just ache. I cannot say that I truly understand as I have had only tastes of what you experience on a daily basis. However, I want to encourage you. That pain is sweet. It is a part of the heart of God and He is allowing you to experience His heart for these children. Children for whom you may be the only person who truly aches for them. . .Thank you, for choosing to hurt.

Praying for you guys tonight,

Anonymous said...

It's all so beautiful.
I can picture it like I am still there from your description...the bittersweet but beautiful feeling as you share in being able to contribute to these children's lives...pray that you two are having a wonderful time at the close of this trip. Be well.

Victoria said...

it won't be the same when you both come back to America. Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting us experience this though your eyes. Victoria

Ditte i Uganda said...

You don´t really know me, but we meet at Amani this past summer. I know you guys are leaving and I am coming to Uganda February Since they are closing the volunteerhouse, I am not all sure where to stay. I was wondering - the place you stay, is that for anyone to rent or?? Do you think I would be able to rent it? I will be staying till the end of June. Just a thought! Hope to hear from you, and thank you for this great blog! :) Ditte (Denmark)

Ditte i Uganda said...

By the way, my email adress is :)

Bethany said...

hi ditte..i dont know if amy got back to you, but the place we live in is not available. It is for rent but we already have some friends who are moving in after we leave. Sorry! There is always the fisheries guesthouse right across from the v-house if you cant find anything else. Good luck!