Charity Music Night

This is wonderful! Please come and join us if you can as it’s going to be a good night! Maybe we can reach the 2000 mosquito nets mark, it would be a wonderful achievement so soon after returning from Uganda. Thanks to Zeb Davies and Alison Wood who have been working so hard to put this evening of music together while I’ve been ‘living it up’ in Uganda, ha ha! X

Coming home

Thursday 23rd at Brussels airport 9.45 on board so no internet:     Someone has just given me £40!  I was waiting at gate for flight to Manchester and a man started making conversation. Where have you come from? What were you doing in Uganda? How did you get involved? Etc. Of course I was very happy to explain!! So that’s the first donation to go towards mosquito nets for 2021!!! X

Later: I’m home and enjoying toast! Thanks everyone for your support and interest this year. I had a wonderful time but was ready for home and family. Couldn’t take much more adventures at my age!!

Will be still sending posts for a little while so hope you’ll stay with me. Right, what do I fancy next? An apple and a cup of tea with milk!! X

Friday 24th: Well I’m home after another wonderful stay in Uganda. I  had a good nights sleep and actually woke up in time to see the Ugandan sun rise and wondered why it was still dark!

I’m missing my Ugandan home but there are a few advantages living here in the UK especially for nighttime ablutions!

    ⁃    Being able to bathe under a warm shower instead of standing in a big round basin or at Innocents, a pink baby bath which I was given by a Uganda friend a few years ago! Then pouring water, which had been collected from the borehole by Alex or Nico my young deaf friend, into buckets and using a plastic jug to pour over myself. I have to be careful none of it trickles in my mouth as it is not drinking water! In addition to this, standing on one leg while I try and scrub the clay dust off my feet is quite a challenge too!!

    ⁃    Being able to flush the toilet instead of doing what I need to do in a biodegradable bag stretched then tying a knot in it to carry outside to drop into the latrine pit! I had the added problem this year of my biodegradable bags starting to degrade before I even used them!!!

    ⁃    Being able to clean my teeth with water straight out of the tap rather than carrying my cup of bottled water outside to brush them  in a corner of the compound with the moon for light and the song of the critters in the trees accompanying me. My chosen spot is under a paw paw tree where the gecko scurry about during the day and I don’t think about what might be scurrying about at night!!

    ⁃    Being able to use freshly boiled water for my early morning cuppa as so often there’s a power cut in Nawanyago. I did buy myself a thermos flask this year, that I tried to remember to fill when there was power during the day but it’s not quite the same.

    ⁃    Not having to walk round with an old piece of towel attached to one of my feet because the tiniest splatter of water on the shiny concrete floor could easily send me flying with possible dire consequences, especially with medical facilities in Uganda being the way they are, or are not as the case may be! 

    ⁃    Having a mirror to look into after not ‘seeing’ me for a month – no, can’t class that as an advantage!!

Actually other than the toilet business and the slippery floors there aren’t that many real advantages to living back here in the UK though having my hubby around is a wonderful advantage and quite an asset too, as he makes my cuppa for me!!

It might not look like much to you but this us pure luxury to the majority of people in Uganda! Please excuse the washing! Hanging your ‘smalls’ outside is not the done thing out there!

My ‘bath’!

At Patrick’s

On arriving at Patrick’s he got Charles and I to sign the Visitors Book, just about obligatory wherever you go in Uganda!

Then took us into the workshop where his ladies group had made all those fempads I distributed recently. There were only a few in attendance today as it is still the Christmas school holidays. But those who were there were busy on their sewing machines making fempads and other items such as children’s clothes. I thanked them for their efforts and told them of the gifts of scarves many of you had donated. They were extremely pleased 😀! Patrick and his wife and partner in the school, Kevin are to give the remainder the girls theirs when they return.

We discussed the fact that the Mark 2 fempads, renamed ‘Gerry Pads’ by Innocents mum, I think it was, should be longer, wider and with more layers for greater absorbency. The project is in its early days and with Innocent looking into getting a local lady, Rose, in Nawanyago involved and Patrick and Kevin keen to improve the design with their group, I’m sure we’ll get it right in the end.

Work over, I was able to enjoy the company of this lovely family, Patrick who I’ve known since my first stay in Uganda where is was Warden for the boys at Maria’s Care and I was living and working in the school there. His wife Kevin I met when my family all attended their wedding in January 2008 followed by meeting their first born Gerry Mukisa  in November that year. I was very honoured she was named after me. By-the-way, Mukisa means Blessed!

Kevin had cooked a lovely meal, helped by the older girls I’m sure, and afterwards all the children laid on the entertainment! It was brilliant watching them dance to modern Ugandan music and reminded me so much of my daughters when they were young! The youngest Shalom was hilarious, at only a year she was copying all the movements and expressions of her older siblings. It was a very happy few hours with them before Charles and I headed for the airport which is where I am now, writing this!

Still over an hour and a half to go!!

Well that’s all for now. I’m going to change into warmer clothes before they open the gate for my flight to Brussels. I will see you there! X

Innocents to Patrick’s

My journey-Firstly there was a big accident approaching Jinja with what seemed like the whole of the Ugandan Police force out and spectators several rows deep but fortunately on the other side of the road though it was very congested. Charles my taxi man had told me before we left Innocents that there were major road works on our usual route to Kampala too so he had decided to take a rather long diversion. I’d no idea where we were going but we were driving through beautiful countryside on a good tarmac road, and there were pineapples everywhere!! Millions of pineapples growing between sweet banana trees as far as my eyes could see. I’d never seen anything like it! And, there was hardly any traffic and no dust! I just sat back and enjoyed the ride!

My family were tracking me on their phones so I told Charles they will be thinking he’s kidnapped me! I just have to put my trust in Charles, he’s never let me down yet!

After a while the countryside changed to forest but broken frequently by water, small rivers and swamp land. I asked Charles if there were crocodiles around and he answered yes and that they sometimes come out of the water. I’m sure the river must have run to the Nile so I found myself singing Never Smile at a Crocodile!!

Actually Charles was playing gospel music a lot of the time and it put me back into how I was feeling this morning before we left Innocents. It had been wonderful singing together and the family joining in when we sang When the saints go marching in. Though  I don’t think it’s obvious on the recording that Judith, Alex and Betty were singing too! But one of those special moments I won’t forget.

I had called Patrick to warn him of our very probable delay as we were having lunch with his family but then was amazed we arrived early! It was the best way to Kampala and Charles says he will be using it again. I will certainly hope he does as we were stop start stop start or just stop, whenever we went the direct route and it was always so dusty!

Leaving is never easy!

I was up early and finished my packing when no one was around, or so I thought. When I did open my door they were all up too just sitting quietly with sad faces. Even little Norman seemed to sense something different.

Everyone kept asking to help me but I had made sure I was well ahead of them as I was feeling sad too and would have got all muddled up!

According to Innocent Charles my taxi man had been here since well before dawn having travelled from Entebbe during the night. He was asleep in his vehicle. I decided to let him sleep on as it was another long journey we had ahead of us.

Innocent produced the hymn sheet from his Thanksgiving Mass, sat down beside me and started singing one of the two hymns I knew. It was so moving but also cruel as he knew it would make me cry!! He encouraged me to join him which was even worse, then recorded it! He said he wanted to keep it to listen to every day. The rest of the family joined in the singing and after a while a weary smily Charles appeared at the door.

After he had a spot of breakfast he packed the taxi then time for family photos we were off, a sad group waved me off and going through the village and trading centre people were waving and calling Madam Gerry, even the boda men! It’s lovely being part of the community of Nawanyago.

I got Charles to stop outside Fazie’s workplace/home as I had promised the family, especially the two daughters Edronha and

Edretinha, who almost bowled me over, that I would say goodbye and caused my tears to start again!

I’m ok now that I’m on the way. I just now want to get home!

It’s turning out be an interesting journey so will catch up again soon!

Just left Patrick’s (re fempad group), straight into Ugandan fog – thick dust and smoke! Terrible here! Most evenings it’s like this apparently! So bad for people’s health! Thank goodness Charles taxi has air con! Next stop airport and will be sending update. See you later!