1 – Sunday 17th September sat under my mosquito net writing to you from Jinja on the edge of Lake Victoria

Dear Friends

It was great to arrive ‘home’ after two days on the move. Left home in Poynton before 3 am on Friday and arrived here in Jinja at 5 pm yesterday. I successfully met up with my young friend Hannah and her gorgeous new baby Selah, at Schipol airport. She had already been travelling for 24 hours as she had come from San Diego having gone there to have her baby and visit her family before returning to her fiancé Alex and new home here in Uganda. It was nice for me to have company on the flight to Entebbe especially as I acted as stand-in granny for Selah which was not a chore!

All went well until we came to collect our luggage and ALL of Hannah’s cases were missing, they had never got on the flight! Fortunately she had thought to pack a weeks worth of necessities for Selah and is now awaiting the promised return of her belongings tomorrow. We are not holding our breath though as we know what Uganda promises are like – always good intentions but……..!

Daddy’s first cuddle with his baby daughter! That smile says it all!

The best bit of Friday was seeing daddy Alex meet his eight week old daughter for the first time. It was beautiful, touching, amazing, emotional and that was just me looking on! Alex has not stopped smiling since! It’s been wonderful and often amusing watching him learning to be a dad too, on the practical side, from holding his baby daughter to feeding her to winding her and of course just give her lots of cuddles! I’ve not witnessed him changing a nappy yet – that should be fun! One thing I can say though is he is going to be a hands-on dad and a very willing one at that which is unusual for a Ugandan man!

I’m glad to say I haven’t lost my touch! This photo was taken soon after Selah had received her innoculations in Kampala, including the Yellow Fever which is rampant in Uganda at the moment!

My family with the Kasenke family (and a few add ons!) in 2008. Back row left to right – Alex, Bosco, Mike, Ivan and Robert. Front row – neighbour, the boys one sister Erin with her three children, Godfrey and Paul.

 

To those of you who are new to my ‘adventures’ Alex was my family’s first sponsored child way back in 2008 and unbeknown to us then, he had five brothers and two step brothers! When I first met Alex in 2007, he and his family were in great need of support as their father had died and their mother had been chased from their home by unscrupulous uncles who demanded the homestead!

Over the years with the help of family and friends we have given each of them different degrees of help with their education depending on their wishes and our financial capabilities, plus the love and friendship which has been invaluable both ways! Alex chose to go back to school after a long period away from studying and, even though it was a real struggle for him, he gained both O and A Levels and is now building up a small tour company Enjoy the Pearl Safari’s. His twin brother Robert chose a car mechanic course. Mike also gained O&A levels and is working in a restaurant that has Internet. He also has a full driving licence (unusual for Uganda!) so is available for driving jobs. Bosco followed suit with exams and is now training to be a nurse. Ivan chose not to go to school but has had various jobs, from working with his uncle on a fishing boat on Lake Victoria to having a clothes stall at a local market. Paul is at present studying A levels in Chemistry, Biology and Agriculture. Step brother Godfrey who has been disabled from birth was able to get Uganda Governmenti assistance for his uni studies. We helped him in small ways such as providing him with a laptop and various other equipment when he was setting up a small business post uni. And last but not least is step-brother Emma who is nine years old and attends a village school but one of my ‘jobs’ this visit is to see if we can put him into a better school. I already have one kind lady willing to offer some sponsorship, thank you Helen and son Joshua who writes to Emma, and will be searching out more support  (anyone fancy helping?) once discussions have been had with the family and of course Emma. By-the-way, in 2010 I helped to persuade the boys’ mum Monica to return home and since then she has grown in confidence and is no more being bullied!

Oh, forgot to say that I had a nice surprise when we arrived here at Alex and Hannah’s home as I found Paul here still on his school holidays. He had made all our beds and cooked us a meal! Actually Paul is now sat beside me replying to letters from two of his sponsors Sue and Annick! 

I’ve just made my first cup of tea and had a welcome by the usual ant tribe – all part of the fun of living here! I do object when they crawl up the side of my mug though, there is a limit!! A hen keeps wandering in but doesn’t seem interested in eating the ants!!

Below is a few photos of my Ugandan family in years gone by and last year!

Will be in touch again very soon!

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