A surprise at school for Emma!
My annual visit to Alex’s home in the village of Kasozi is always one I look forward to and enjoy immensely. The home has seen a gradual change over the years we have been involved with the family and not just because we helped them financially in the beginning. The improvement to their home and circumstances has been mainly due to hard work by their mum, Alex and his brothers. While their mum was away after their dad died, a big portion of land was claimed by a neighbour and Alex had to do a lot of negotiating at clan meetings plus the sacrifice of a few goats to return it to their rightful ownership! Now Mum Monica, (they call me Mum Gerry to differentiate!) farms the land often single handed if all the boys are away, and tries to provide for the family’s food as well as grow enough to sell to enable her to have money for extra necessities like medical expenses and to send her youngest son Emma, step brother to the others, to school. This year has been a bad year for everyone in Uganda as the prolonged drought has lessened the harvest considerably. I often wonder how these people survive and I admire them so much. They have no help from the government or churches. They just have to get on with it and often go hungry when luck is not on their side.
I’m quite well known by the neighbours and always go over to greet them. They were busy making a meal as you will see by the photos.
Monica’s youngest son Emma was at school and as I had a gift and letter from his pen pal Joshua in the UK I asked if we could take it to him. The school was very quiet when we got there, the children busy in their lessons but we were soon spotted and a teacher came to greet us, recognising Mum Monica of course. He got a very surprised Emma out of lessons. Emma was a little shy and very quiet but his face lit up when he was told why I was there. As you see by the photos he was a very lucky boy. With Mike’s help I read Joshua’s letter to Emma. Thank you Joshua. Emma will write back to you when his big brother Paul comes home for the Christmas holidays.
At break time the children crowded round us excited for Emma. I didn’t mind as it felt good to be surrounded by them after the quietness of St James. The whole school followed us to the car and out of the blue I asked the teacher if he would like me to sing to the children and he jumped at the chance to have a Mzungu sing at his school. Of course I did the Jambo Song and the children soon got the hang of it repeating my words and actions. Always a hit! Then we played the Hokey Cokey! It was brilliant and reminded me why I love to come to Uganda. I’ve promised to come back to the school when I return to Uganda and do some more singing, games, arts and crafts. I’m looking forward to it already!
It makes me realise when I go to one of these village schools, just how much we have all done for St James over the years and maybe, now that St James has got good infrastructure we should spread our love and generosity elsewhere. I will certainly give it some thought.