Empowering through Education

Thank you all so much for supporting me through prayers and donations on my trip to Uganda. I have been journaling a bit about my adventures so far, and I thought it would be fun to share a little bit about what is going on in this part of the world. Today is first official day in Uganda! It was quite the journey making it here, starting with a 16 hour flight and layover in Dubai which led to me getting motion sick and needing to get wheel-chaired off the airplane and through the terminals. The next day, we made it to Uganda after another 6 hour flight. We met up with Moses (our host and friend from Uganda) at the airport and continued our journey. We landed in Entebbe, and then drove to Kampala for the night. The drive to Kampala from Entebbe is only supposed to take a half an hour, but because of the traffic (there is only one main road in the capital city), it took almost two hours. Kampala is a crazy city. Everywhere you see boda bodas (motorcycles), wooden and metal shacks, matooke (plantains) stands, and tons and tons of people. I expected to see skyscrapers and big stores in Kampala, just like I would in any other city. I could not have been more wrong. The city looks like something you would see off a Unicef campaign or National Geographic.

The next day we woke up at 4am in order to beat the Kampala traffic, from which we headed out to Jinja in the Buikwe district to participate in the opening ceremony of our school, the Emmaus Nursery and Primary school in the Kizigo village. The sunrise on the drive was incredible. It looked like the intro to The Lion King. I stuck my head out of the sunroof to take some pictures of the beautiful scenery as the landscape became more and more remote. Finally, we arrived in the Kizigo village, which was very rural. You could tell that the people there were extremely poor. Many of the children we passed did not have shoes. The houses were either made of brick or mud and sticks, with either thatched or corrugated metal roofs. As we drove down the banana tree-lined dirt road, kids waved and yelled “hi mzungu!” which means “hi white person!” When we pulled up to the school, we were greeted by over 450 students aged preschool to sixth grade. They were all very excited to see us and promptly ran to their classrooms to show us their new buildings. The school is very lovely and I can tell it is already blessing so many people. A well has been built in the last month or so from kind donations, which now brings clean water to the entire village. People used to have to walk for miles in order to get water, and most of the time it wasn’t even clean. God is doing a great thing here by helping people get the resources they need to survive and thrive.

The real fun began when we had a parade down the village streets. Moses wanted to walk around the village like how the Israelites walked around Jericho. He wanted to “take the village for the Lord.” It was so cute seeing the kids march. The entire village showed up to the ceremony after. The children sang and danced for us, speeches were given, and a ribbon was cut. The kids were so precious to me. They all crowded around me when I walked by them: I think they liked my camera because they laughed and laughed whenever I would take their picture. After the ceremony, we walked to Moses’ aunt’s house, which is next door to the school. Moses’ aunt raised him and put him through school after his parents died when he was very young. His aunt prepared a feast for us (one typically only eaten at weddings), which consisted of chicken and beef cooked in banana leaves, matooke, rice, and beans. At his aunt’s, one of the children is named Samuel. He is seven years old, but he looks only two because his growth was stunted by neglect and other things before he came to live with Moses’ aunt. These women are caring for 8 children while they have nothing themselves. Tomorrow we are going back to the school to deliver supplies, train teachers, and bless them in any way we can!