I am once again sat under the Owen mango tree surrounded by chickens. Beside me is the local carpenter making a frame for a mosquito net for my friend Geminy Maw who arrives tomorrow. James has been asking him to come for six days and today I told James to tell the carpenter that the Mzungu Madam Gerry would not pay him unless he came at once. It worked! He has now been here two hours carefully planing strips of wood to size. He is also going to do a couple of other jobs for us and all this is costing 12,000 UGX (£2.50) They work for so little here. Also on the compound are two children helping James with the digging in exchange for a few shillings and some food.
Yes Geminy Maw, granddaughter of the late Maria Maw is still wandering the globe and is coming here to spend my last week with me. I have no idea how long she is staying, it depends on the wind I think! I do know she intends to travel on to Kenya and maybe call back here when the children are in school. For those of you who are new to my ‘adventures in Africa’ Maria Maw was and still is the inspiration for all I do out in Uganda. She first came out here soon after the demise of Idi Amin, just with her pension, to organise a church library in Jinja but when she noticed many girls not going to school she started teaching them and feeding them in exchange for doing a few chores for her. To cut a long and interesting story short she developed a school and children’s home called Maria’s Care in Kamuli and in 2002 (after climbing Kilimanjaro for a challenge to raise money for the home!) I visited Uganda for the first time, to ‘get it out of my system’ was my husbands intent, but I fell in love with the country and its people! Of course I recorded both my story of my family’s climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro and some of my visits to Maria’s Care and they are readily available, just let me know!!
When Geminy was young she always supported her grandmother by saving her pocket money to buy sweets for the children. Over the years of knowing Maria Gem got to know me and took St James to her heart. She is always trying to think of ways of raising money and most recently rode a borrowed peddle bike all the way to Berlin and back on her own! Whilst living in New Zealand her boss noticed her fund raising effort, got in touch with me and donated several thousand pounds to pay for the borehole we are now enjoying. I call Gem Amazing Gem as she seems to make miracles happen. Can’t wait to welcome her tomorrow evening!
Her bed has been airing in the sun and will made up in the school library beside mine as soon as the carpenter is finished. I’ve cleared several nails in the wall (my wardrobe!) so she can hang whatever she feels though I think she travels very light! This morning I packed all the crafts I am bringing home with me and both my bags are ready for my departure from St James early on the 30th to arrive back in Poynton Sunday morning. So plenty of room for one more! Excited!