Around the world

Around the world; a Nation Hopper's journy to teach on all 7 continents.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Girls week

The girls have been at the house for the last week, and the week started out pretty bumpy. The girls are very different from the boys, they are super quiet and shy, very timid. The first two days they kept to themselves most of the time and would get really quiet when I would go sit down with them. It was hard to get them to talk to me, pretty much impossible to get a smile or laugh from them. On Tuesday and Wednesday we mostly worked on sewing their bags, the machines put up a fight so they did the sewing by hand. On Wednesday night I took my computer out to the court yard and taught the girls some of the dances I had taught the boys. The girls loved the dances and were a lot better at them than the boys ;) A few of them told me dancing was one of their favorite things to do. Thursday there was a break through while we were baking cookies, Fiona scared me as I was coming into the kitchen and after that the girls loosened up a bit. I spent Friday morning sitting with them in the court yard talking to them, laughs are still hard to come by and I still get shy smiles in answer to questions I ask, but they are a little more open today then they have been all week. It’s a shame because tomorrow Cliff and I will take them back to the ghetto. In addition to making the tote bags and baking, there have been a lot of games played. I taught the girls how to play rock, paper scissors and down by the banks, they taught me four or five different variations of dodge ball, we played volley ball and football. For the times the girls did come out of their shells, we had a fabulous time. I’m sorry to have to say goodbye so soon. 



Merriam and I 

Merriam and Fiona

Linda and I 


Down by the banks

Cliff stopped by for a while



Fiona and Esther

Peace and Calvin

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My boys

A glimps of what my week was like with the boys :D 

Sorry its upside down 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Great news!

I actually leave on Sunday!!!

I was just talking with Tomi, asking if it would be alright for the boys to come to the airport with me on Saturday and she said she thought I was leaving Sunday. After checking my ticket I found out she was right!

Not only do I get an extra Saturday with the kids, but I get an extra day with my boys!!!


I'm so excited! 

Last Saturday

Today was my last day with the kids in the ghetto, we were running a little late so the kids were all sitting inside the community center by the time we got there. We had the most kids today, I thought they were packed in before…. I hardly had room to stand, there were kids everywhere. 

We had a pretty quick lesson today, I had a craft for the older kids that was going to take up a little bit of time. I talked about listening to parents, how important it is to follow directions and got about 15 minutes in before the little ones started getting restless and noisy. Cliff and a few of the boys ushered all the kids under 5 out to have their porriadge while I enlisted Stephen, Cranma and Eric to help me get ready for the craft.

We ended up with about 30 kids, so much easier to talk to a group of 30 than a group of 100+. I asked them if they thought they were special and the kids said yes, and got some interesting answers when I asked why they were special. One little girl said she was special because she could roll beads, another said he was special because he did good things. I picked a few kids at random and asked if anyone had a laugh like one of the girls. The kids shook their heads, no. I told them the little girl was special because no one in the world had a laugh like hers. I picked up Patricia's hand and asked if anyone had the exact same hand as Patricia, again I got nos. I told the kids Patricia was special because she was the only one with hands like hers. I told them each and every one there was special. I asked them to make me a promise, that when they got up every morning they would tell themselves they were special. I got some very shy grins and nods. 

I put the boys into stations and turned back to the kids, holding up a container of beads. “I’ve brought you all something, these are magic beads. You each get 10 magic beads, each bead is good for one wish. You can wish for anything you want, but you have to wish with your whole heart.” The way the kid’s faces lit up as Cliff translated was worth every penny I spent to get here. Cliff and I lined the kids up in front of the boys and they distributed 10 beads to each child and a piece of stretchy string. The kids went back to their seats and chatted happily with their neighbor as they strung their beads and talked about what they were going to wish for. There were so many beads left over I had Josephine and Lilian also make one. 

After the kids had their bracelets, we told the kids to go outside so we could all take a picture together. As the kids swarmed out of the building, there was a tug on my arm. I looked down and the cutest little boy was standing, smiling shyly up at me. He held up a strand of brown paper beads. I looked around and plucked Stephen by the neck of his shirt and asked him to translate. “It’s a gift for you,”. The little boy slipped the necklace over my head and I gave him a hug. Before I could take a step someone grabbed my hand and slipped a bracelet on to it. Everywhere I turned, left and right, kids were holding up paper bead jewelry and grinning. I gratefully accepted each gift and returned it with a hug and a picture. 

One of Joshepine's granddaughters

Another of her granddaughters 

There were so many kids around me, I was being pushed off the ledge I was teetering on

All my bling ;) 

When we had taken a group shot, the kids got their millet. Ronald came up to me looking nervous. “I have a gift for you,” he said. I smiled and put my arm around his shoulder. “You are my gift,” I told him. He shook his head, frowning. “No, I have something I want to give you. Let me run home and get it.” The other kids had their cup of millet filled and dispersed. We were just getting packed up to leave when Ronald came running back. He had a beautiful red and blue bracelet that he put on my wrist, granted he had to find room first. I had been holding back tears as the kids had been giving me their gifts but Ronald’s bracelet was the last straw. We walked back to the car, I had my sunglasses over my tear filled eyes. The boys loaded into the back so we could drop them off and we started driving out of the ghetto. I cried silently, clutching Calvin sitting on my lap as we drove. The boys got out at their stop and gave me a high five. They promised to come back on Monday when I visit the women one last time and then left. I sat in the front seat of the car and let the tears stream down my face, I didn’t want to upset Cliff, Eron or Esther. However when we stopped at the market Eron leaned over the seat and asked why I was crying. 

That made me start crying in earnest, Calvin looked at me worried as I explained how touched I was that the kids had brought me gifts. I had only seen them three Saturdays out of the 5 weeks that I’ve been here. The effortless love these kids give is wonderful and heartwarming. They and their families have very little, and yet they still find a way to show their love and appreciation. These kids have taught me that you don’t need much in life to be happy, you just need love. I will miss these kids dearly, not as much as I will miss my boys though. I desperately wish I could stay longer and get to know these kids and their families better, but unfortunately I only have one week left in Uganda. 

Monday I see the women one last time and we’ll bring the girls to the house. On Friday we’ll take them back to the ghetto early and pick up the boys. Okidi’s heartfelt plea to Cliff for the boys to take me to the airport next Saturday was irresistible. The boys will come to the airport with Cliff and I to say good bye. Not looking forward to saying goodbye, but I am excited to have one more night with my boys. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Best. Week. Ever!

This has been the most incredible week I’ve spent in Kampala.

On Monday, after I had a meeting with the women, Cliff and I picked up Stephen, Cranma, Isaac, Ronald, Okidi, Eric, and Otim and took them to Tomi’s house. These 7 boys are part of the youth group that regularly help out with the Saturday program. 

On Monday we only had half a day, and we spent it playing ice breaker and team building games. We all watched a movie before going to sleep. 

On Tuesday we started on our sewing project after a bible study lesson (thanks again Sally and Bernie for the books!!!). However the sewing machines proved to be a pain in the butt and pretty much refused to work. The boys cut out all the fabric they would need, interesting note; the boys preferred the pink and flower/bug fabric to the dinosaur and green print fabric. 

On Wednesday we struggled again with the machines and finally threw in the towel. I showed the boys how to sew their bags and ripped clothes by hand. The boys were surprisingly excited about the bags. After dinner we played charades, 20 questions, a game like hide and seek but only one person hides

On Thursday Cliff picked us up and took us to a football field, the boys were dying to kick a ball around. We played a game like keep away where you kick the ball to each other and the person in the middle tries to get the ball, and hand ball which is basically keep away. We split into teams and kept the ball in the air, passing it back and forth. During the keep away game, Ronald took a ball to the face and I did I back flop onto the ground to avoid tripping over Cranma. 

Friday was the best day of all. All the boys finished their bags, Eric was a whiz on the sewing machine that I had no patients for. Cranma, Isaac and Otim had the best whip stitch I’ve seen in a while. Okidi and Ronald definitely dragged their feet but they still did an awesome job. Flida and I took a boda-boda to the craft market because I needed a few more gifts, Cliff was in his village all day. After lunch the power went out so we walked to the football field, Prosey took us on a ‘shot cut’. This ‘shot cut’ involved hiking up two super steep hills in the mud (it had rained during lunch) in the baking sun and ending up at the market near the country club. So we had to back track a quarter mile to the field. Pretty sure that’s not the definition of a ‘short cut’. Eric was very concerned that I would not be able to climb the hills and offered several times to either carry me or get a stretcher and put me on it. I assured him that even thought I had shin splints like nobodies business, I wasn’t going to break. We played a small game of football, Stephen and I’s team won, though Eric will deny it. And before anyone gets impressed that I played football, I pretty much shuffled around the field and purposefully got in Eric, Isaac and Cranma’s way so Stephen and Okidi could steal the ball. Prosey wanted to take her ‘short cut’ back but we all put out foot down and went the regular way that took half as long. We all hung out/played outside until dinner was ready. I had everyone draw me a picture while there was still light out, some of the boys are really good with a pencil. After we all showered in the dark, obviously not together ;), we converged in the living room to watch a movie on my lap top before bed. Just as we sat down on the couch the power came back on! 

These boys are incredible, the house has been filled with so much laughter and noise! They are so sweet, ridiculously funny and are thirsty to learn. Ronald drew this awesome design on his arm the other day that I fell in love with (read as next tattoo, which makes three new ones when I get back… Don’t tell my mother ;) Spending the week with the boys has been such a privilege for me, and I’m so thankful I have gotten to know them. I’m only sad that I’ve only been able to spend such a short time with them.  

But, the best part of the day was when Cliff came back from the village at about 7. Okidi pulled me aside and asked me to ask Cliff if it would be ok if they boys took me to the airport next week. I choked up and asked Cliff. We’re supposed to have the girls here Friday night, and there isn’t room for all the girls and boys at the house. But Cliff and I think we worked it out so the boys will spend Friday night at the house and come up Cliff to take me to the airport. Cliff asked everyone who was going to miss me and they all started talking at once; ‘I’m going to miss her from here to the moon’, ‘I don’t want her to go’, ‘I want her to stay.‘. I nearly started bawling and had to change the subject. 

Tomorrow we take the boys back to the ghetto :’( and spend one last day with the kids. We’re going to walk around the ghetto, visit some of the kid and women’s houses and say good by to the kids.   

Stephen, Ronald and Okidi 

Team building game with a hula hoop

Human knot







Stephen had one flip flop, one bare foot and kicked everyones butt

Keep away 

Hand ball 

Me and ma boys

Notice the dirt on my back? That's from earting it,  hard

Ronald and Okidi 

Stephen and I 

Eric hard at work 

Cranma concentrating 


Ronald and I 

Isaac with his patched shirt and bag

Ronald eating jackfruit