My turn to blog. Instead of detailed paragraphs, I decided to take a “word picture” every hour today. Some pictures sort of turned into short videos.
6:30 Wake up to soft rain and a pink sunrise over Lake Victoria.
7:30 We are climbing into the van after having eaten breakfast (fried eggs, bananas, toast, PB & J, fresh pressed juice and malarone)
8:30 We arrive at Anne-Marie and Emmanuel’s house. They are the founders of Yimba (which means sing in Lugandan), an NGO that provides sewing training, resources, musical opportunities and a recording studio to community youth who are no longer in school. Emmanuel is a very popular gospel singer in Uganda. Today Isee and Yimba are sponsoring a joint concert for the girls in Jinja.
9:30 The skies explode as we head off to Jinja. Rivers have sprung everywhere across the road.
10:30 Sitting in a Kampala jam.
11:30 Still sitting in a Kampala jam. We will be late to pick up Anna. In Uganda, when you’re late they say you’ve boarded a tortoise.
12:30 Driving through Mabira , Uganda’s largest forest, looking for monkeys along the way.
1:30 We’ve crossed the Nile River and have arrived in Jinja. The excited children of Joy Elementary greet us and spontaneously take our hands to dance with us. Emmanuel’s music is blasting through the loudspeakers as the musicians set up their equipment and the girls arrive on foot from 4 other neighbouring schools.
2:30 We are all treated to an energizing concert by 4 of Uganda’s most popular gospel singers: Coopi Bly, Fortune Spice, and Zaab ( astute readers have notices that that’s only 3, but none of us can remember the fourth). In between their songs they remind the students of the importance of staying in school. Dancing with these young Ugandans who move so naturally to the rhythm of the music, my muzungu genes are evident. Thankfully Jean and Shalanne do us proud when they go to the front to dance as our representatives.
3:30 Over 300 girls are divided into 5 groups to hear our presentation and receive their kits. We are fortunate to have Zaab join our group and help with occasional interpretation. The girls understand English well and already know a lot about reproductive health so we are able to give them an opportunity to ask questions.
4:30 Group photos, goodbyes, hugs. After an energizing afternoon with amazing people, we climb back into the van for the long drive home. We are exhausted but the adrenaline from the experience has our spirits lifted and our energy high.
5:30 Crossing back over the River Nile and driving through tea and sugar plantations.
6:30 We drive into the sunset (no horses though, still in the van).
7:00 Sitting in Mukono traffic.
7:30 Sitting in Kampala traffic.
8:30 Moving through Kampala traffic. The city that never sleeps. Almost home. James has dinner waiting for us when we arrive at 9:00. An exhausting but satisfying day. We will all sleep well and wake up ready for more.