Friday, June 1, 2012

Day 8: Bulisa District (Asaba Model School)

Oh I feel SO much better this morning! Didn't get up at 5 with the girls. Skipped porridge and slept in until 7. I think I just needed sleep - and water! I'm telling you, the African sun just takes it out of you!

Decided to give the whole bathing from a basin thing a shot again. I'm getting a little better at it, and after how filthy I got yesterday, it was necessary! Washed up while swatting mosquitos away - I'm terrified of them here because I haven't taken the malaria mess and do NOT want to get malaria! I haven't gotten bit yet - knock on wood. Only two more days to be on alert for them!

When I got back from bathing and washing hair again, Sarah was sitting on the floor doing the crossword / soduko book I brought. She is in love with that thing and did it almost all day yesterday! Matt's Aunt Mimi gave it to me for Easter and I haven't had a chance to use it yet, so I decided to bring it here. Turned out to be a huge hit! :)

I got ready for the day - which consists of sitting on the floor and putting a little makeup on - and then asked Sarah if we could walk in to town to get some bread. Since I skipped porridge this morning, and my one nutri-grain bar was not going to it, I wanted to get some bread for pb&j sandwiches for everyone.

First though, Jonas showed up with his laptop, so I quickly checked my emails. Have to take advantage of Internet every chance I get!

When I was done, we took off walking. Sarah said there was a place nearby. Just down the hill to the road and then up a few buildings / houses, there was a little "shop." (With a big snake dead in front of it. Something else to look out for here now...) Sarah held up a couple things that were bread-like, but that's not what I was talking about. I saw in Kampala that they had regular loaves of bread, so I tried to explain that to Sarah. Ooooh - we have to go to in to town to the supermarket for that. On a boda-boda. YES! I love riding on those things.

It's pretty funny how everyone just stares at me like they've never seen a white girl, ha. Especially the kids. They're either really curious, or completely terrified and run and scream. That's happened on numerous occasions...including in the supermarket. :)

We found the regular bread I wanted and came back to the hostel. I made pb&j sandwiches for Sarah, Christine and myself. Jonas went in to town, and the cook was asleep.

There is one girl here who is sick - with malaria Sarah said. Hmmm, maybe I should be taking those pills. I just hate medicine though!! I swear my body is over-sensitive to everything and I just don't want to be sick from the pills! Anyways, her name is Sifa Justine. No pb&j for her, but she took three pieces of plain bread. And I gave her an Aleve. She has something wrong with her finger, too, and it is causing bad pain all up her arm. :(

The girls loved the pb&j though. Like, a lot! So much that I made them another one! I had two, too. It's a good thing that stuff travels so easily. It has saved my life this trip! :)

Sarah and I sat around for awhile and talked. I updated some of my notes on my phone, and she started reading the bible study book I brought. We kind of just sat around for awhile. I think there is just a lot of "sitting around" time in Africa in general. ;)

Jonas showed up again around 10:45 and fixed himself a pb&j. He went light on the jelly. No one is too sure of it here. Theyve never had it, but they all love it once they try it!

Jonas left again to find someone to take us the to the Bulisa District on a boda-boda. There is a school there, Asaba Model School, that ThinkHumanity helps. Jonas and Sarah said it is "very nearby."

We took off for town, me between Jonas and one driver, Sarah on another boda-boda. We stopped at an intersection and Jonas told Sarah and her driver something in Swahili, and they kept driving. Then Jonas got off and left me there with the driver. He said, "I will come," and started walking off. Ummm, does that mean I'm supposed to come with you? No, I will come means he will come back, ha. It's the little things that are confusing! ;)

So there I stood, with a guy I didn't know and a motorcycle in the middle of Hoima. A few minutes later, HE said the same thing and left me there by his bike! I just stood there, getting stared at from every person that came by, ha.

Jonas showed up a few minutes later carrying a helmet. A nice new motorcycle helmet. For me. I obviously made him take money for it. Made me wonder where we were going that was " very nearby" that I needed a helmet for the trip! I forgot to say that before we left, he also told me to put on long sleeves because it will be colder and very dusty...

We ended up walking quite a ways, and met Sarah on another street corner (have to say again it is SO hot here) and she now had a helmet in hand, too!

Two boda-bodas pulled up, both drivers in long sleeves and helmets. We hopped on and off we went down the dirt roads heading west from Hoima.

We drove for awhile. And kept driving. And kept driving. I know very near is a relative term, ha, but I thought it would be like 5 - 10 minutes. The road got dusty alright, and I was glad I had the helmet. The road turned to washboards and ravines, and one big truck nearly ran us off into the bush. It was interesting to say the least. And over an hour later, we drive through Kigorobya, and stopped at a school just outside of there. We were very near Lake Albert.

The school was called Asaba Model School, and had 239 kids, ages 3 to P4, which is our fourth grade I think. I sat down with the school manager and head teacher for awhile and they told me about the school. It educates mostly orphans and very poor that can't afford school. The manager doesn't make them pay. He said some families pay 5,000 schillings, some pay 40,000, and some can't afford any. He has another job and uses his wages to pay the teachers and feed the kids breakfast and lunch every day. Pretty amazing. His goal is to add one class each year. So next year we would add P5.

I eventually got to visit every classroom 3 year olds on up. And ooooh my were they CUTE! I have lots of good pictures of them, of course. :) They all understood at least a little English, and were very polite when I greeted them. One class even sang me some songs, which I recorded. (They desperately need shoes here!)

We got all the kids lined up out front for a picture - it was lunch time anyways so we weren't interrupting class time. One little girl came up to me just smiling. The director said, "She has problems. She does not talk, very slow learner. She just smiles.". It broke my heart. She was so sweet and obviously had down syndrome. I tried to tell them that, but they had no idea what I was talking about. They just leave her in the class with the little ones because they don't know what to do with her. I know I've heard of an organization that helps disadvantaged kids in Africa. I absolutely have to contact them when I get home and find a way to help her... (in turquoise/white striped shirt - top left in picture above)

We weren't really at the school all that long. Time for the long boda-boda ride back to Hoima. And I was just starting to be able to feel my butt again! ;) It's hard to sit still and hold on tight for that long, up and down the hills. I loved it though. Waaay better than a bus!

When we got back to Hoima, we stopped at the same restaurant, Eve's, for lunch again. Same food. I hope it treats me better today than it did yesterday! Oh - and when I went to wash my hands, I looked in the mirror and about died. Jonas and Sarah failed to mention my whole face was covered in red dirt!! My whole body is filthy. These clothes are done for sure!

After lunch, we took another boda-boda back out to the hostel. I seriously had to bathe again. It was just too much dirt! But before I could do that, I realized I should probably exchange some more money. So back in to town we went. First bank already closed. (It was only 4:30!) Same story with second and third. :( I had enough money to get JP and I to Kampala tomorrow, I just wanted more to buy things from the Acholi women. Hopefully I can find someplace to exchange tomorrow in the city...

For some reason, there wasn't much water when we got back. It was doing this weird blowing air and then a little water thing. So I just washed me feet and face. They were the worst. The rest can wait I guess.

Jonas still had his laptop out here at the hostel, so I checked email again and briefly updated my blog. Something made me remember that I had brought my little battery powered iPod player, so I brought it out and turned on some tunes next to a few girls working on baskets. It was loud and every girl around just froze and looked at it, haha. I said, "DANCE PARTY!!!" and started dancing around, and I thought they were going to die laughing. Seriously. More and more girls came to see what was g on, and they all started dancing too! It was awesome. Turns out they love Shakira, Chris brown, and Rihanna. Who would of guessed?! We danced and danced until I was sweating too much and had to stop, but I'm pretty sure they loved it. :)

I got so hot dancing I had to go buy some more water down the road! I chugged all mine. :)

Started sorting / organizing my stuff when we got back. I'm going to put my extra stuff (stuff I've bought and going to buy tomorrow) in my big black Nike duffel bag - and just pray the baskets from the girls don't get ruined. So I asked Sarah if she wanted my big blue bin. Ooooh my, she danced and clapped and through her hands in the air! "Oh yes! I want very much!" and gave me a big hug, ha. Too cute. It is great for storage and also works perfect for a little table or chair, too. So glad it made her so happy. :)

The bell rang for dinner around 6:30 and all the girls lined up for their portion of posho and beans/cabbage. And man do they pile it on! I couldn't eat that much in three meals! I was still feeling pretty good, but as a precautionary method for the bus trip in the morning, I just had fruit snacks and pb&j again. :)

As soon as the girls were done eating, they returned to making their baskets. I think when they saw how excited I was over the one Immaculate gave me, they all wanted to send theirs with me. (Don't know if I mentioned that two were already done and I bought those earlier.)

JP showed up at the hostel with tomatoes from the ThinkHumanity garden at the health clinic. It's just so awesome all the projects that they have helping each other and working together. I'm just so thankful that Beth has let me see it all first hand and contribute what I can. :)

Study time tonight consisted of a debate. The motion: early marriages should be abolished in east Africa. They had it all set up with a judge and two panels debating and rules, etc. The side for NOT abolishing early marriages was pretty funny. I mean they came up with some interesting being in love more when you're younger because you are still "fresh" and more attractive, ha. :) And you should get married early to have lots of kids so they can help you dig in the garden.

The debate went on and on. And we shut the doors and windows to keep the bugs out, so it was nice an steamy in there. My head actually started hurting. I had to step out a couple of times! But Julia stole the show again. She's just so animated and smart! She cracks me up... :)

Debate was still going strong an hour and a half in, so I stepped out and packed up most of my stuff. I'm sure I'm not going to want to do it at 5am! Bleh. Sarah brought me a sweet note and some beautiful (fake) purple flowers. She is so kind and has taken such good care of me. I'm going to miss her!

I finally went back in to the study room to tell the girls good-bye and goodnight...and caught them just at the end of their debate. So of course they all stopped and several girls got up to speak and to thank me again. Even Christine and Sarah spoke. It was all so moving. I was almost in tears numerous times as they talked about how much our support means to them and how grateful they are for the opportunity to be studying. That i have to tell all of their sponsors how happy they ate and that they are studying hard. They made me stand up to talk too, and I made a promise I have to keep: I will come back to visit them.

They sang song after song for me, and Christine finally had to stop them, ha! Those girls would sing all night if you would let them! It was such a great night to end on here at he hostel... These girls really are amazing.

So tomorrow I'm heading back to Kampala via the awesome bus with JP. Then heading to visit the Acholi women - that is supposedly "very nearby" Kampala, haha. We'll see what that means tomorrow. Then back to Entebbe for my flights to Addis, Washington DC, Chicago, and finally home on Sunday!

Sent from my iPhone

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