My third day in Uganda and it’s easy to see why the woman next to me on the plane from Heathrow to Uganda, coming back for her 20th visit, this time to celebrate the medical school graduation of a young man she has been sponsoring before she heads to the north of the country to teach social workers; not to mention Terry, here for his 24th year and who-knows-how-many visits; Michael, back for trip number 7; Melissa, contemplating her umteenth return visit this summer; and so many more have fallen in love with the country. Uganda’s sumptuous physical beauty-mists settling into the low valleys, the riot of tropical color from the red earth up through the purple-spangled treetops, with tiny jewels flitting between-is part of it, of course. The palpable energy on the streets-shops everywhere, selling everything-is another. But it’s the people–gracious, entrepreneurial, welcoming, kind–who make this place magnetic and magical.
Yesterday, we finished the final two school video sessions. We used to video the speeches and dances that each school prepared–for months–on distribution days, but as our technology got more complex and took more time to set up, it started to take away from the joy of those days. Michael and Terry came a week early this trip so that they could get that business out of the way, and it seemed to work well. Although they weren’t “official” school visits, I got to learn about two of our Sister Schools-Kirawooza Primary and Mukono Boarding. When our delegation visited Kirawooza last year, the head teacher’s office was under a tree and two classes met in one large open structure. Now they have 7 new classrooms and three unfinished rooms, courtesy of the government’s new emphasis on education. The open structure is their kitchen and Jane, the head teacher, greeted us in her brand-new office. “Before, we were in a dusty place,”Jane said, “and parents weren’t sure what we were doing here.” Now, as the poised and charming young man said in his speech, “tomorrow will be better than today.”
Visited Kampala School for the Physically Handicapped, Mukono Boarding School, and outstanding sponsorship student Martha B at her new school, considered the best in the country, too. More about those later except to say that your support of Sister Schools is clearly evident everywhere we went.