Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Experiencing Uganda

We have been in Kampala for 3 days now and I am still shocked when 3 and 4 year old children beg for money and food. I wonder if that is something that you can become immune to?  These poor kids have begged since they could walk and they lay in the sidewalks covered in red mud day after day.  Because 5 of the 8 of us are white they flock around us and will follow us for blocks. It is the worst feeling because we simply ignore them and keep walking.  If we gave money to one of the children it would cause a frenzy.  Today, however, one little boy was following me (I would say he was 4) and he had large lesions growing on his neck.  I felt so bad that I gave him my water bottle (1.5 liters) which was almost as big as he was.  I know that this story is not shocking or abnormal for a lot of African countries but it will remain sad no matter how accustomed I get to it.  It breaks my heart.
On a happier note, the people here are extremely kind.  Six of the eight of us went on a walk today with the intention of finding the Red Chili Hotel.  We got completely and utterly lost, however, so we had to call the hotel.  They sent us a cab, but after waiting for 40 minutes a gentlemen came up to me and said “you look stranded?”.  I told him that our cab was taking forever and he offered to get us a cab.  A cab came in less than five minutes and we were at our destination in ten.  Every person that I have come across has been extremely helpful and kind just like this man.  It is a very refreshing to know that people are not out to get you and that they want to help.  I think everyone is Uganda is happy today, however, because the Ugandan football team (soccer) won today.  The team has not qualified for the finals in 40 years so today was a big day for Ugandan citizens.  Whistles, horns, and every other sound imaginable have been going off all day.  I thought that the United States was vocal about sports, but the people here on another level entirely. It was really fun to see the excited faces today as the whole country cheered on their team.  I saw thousands of yellow Ugandan jerseys as we attempted to get through all of the traffic.
Tomorrow we are going to our sites which are going to be very different from the bustling city of Kampala. My village is called Katosi and it is approximately 2 hours away from Kampala.  Kampala has been a blast but I am excited to get to my village where it is quieter.  I’m not exactly sure what to expect so I am waiting in anticipation to see what our accommodations are like as well as to see how many schools/children we will be working with. I spoke to one of the women in charge of our site, however, and they have no funding (grants) for water filters so they are very excited for my water sanitation project. I am so glad that I can fund and help build water filters for this village and I can’t wait to start.  Even if I do nothing else, it feels good to know that I can make a concrete difference by building a few water filters that will last forever. That is it for now.


Cora.Brown said...

I am SOOOOO proud of you!! And no, you will not grow accustomed to having your heart broken over things that just should not be........that is part of what makes you so very special. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

Betsy Hester said...

I knew when you came into my class in the 10th grade that you were a young woman who would change the world. My pride for what you are doing is only exceeded by my admiration for you! Thank you for giving "us" (me) the chance to share in this life-changing adventure. You have my heart!!!

Love, Mama Hester