Everyone is in the dining room being re-measured and trying on the various items of clothing that the Yimba women have sewn for us so I thought I would take the opportunity to share our day.
We partner with an organization called HEYFU (Health Empowered Youth Focus Uganda) which is a community health centre that educates and refers youth and adults from the Kawempe area and slum for the services they need. They are a young team that works tirelessly for the betterment of their community in the areas of maternal health, sexual education, HIV/AIDS testing, and illegal abortions (which is the leading cause of maternal mortality in the area).
We were told that there would be 100 women and girls but we always know better so we traveled with 150 kits to distribute to those who came straggling in. HEYFU was to rent two closed tents and then we would use their meeting room as the third space for our presentations. When we arrived and I saw that the tents were open-sided, I knew we would have a problem.
Already by the time we started the 100 were now 125. The women had been invited and then had to register upon arrival but as the presentations progressed, there were women who were adding names to the list as their friends and friends of friends arrived. They were well over 200 by the time the ISEE teams were done. One group was from the local high school so they were well organized and the kits were easily distributed but the others were going to be a problem so we took all the kits to the office for distribution from there. The idea was that the women would hand in their survey that they had filled in and then would get a kit. However, that was not the way it had been done with the school girls so the women who had added their names to the list during the presentation and didn’t have a survey were adamant that they should be getting a kit. It got to the point that Andrew collected the bags of kits and put them into the office for the HEYFU administration to deal with. The women were rowdy and complaining so I felt that it was time for us to make our exit. I rounded up the team with a quick “get in the van!” and we left poor James with the task of handing out the remaining kits. It wasn’t the way we wanted to make our exit but having already handed out 150 kits when we were only supposed to have 100, it was not so much our issue to deal with. Also, it would have become an easier issue to deal with once we were out of the picture than when we were there as we were an audience to the drama unfolding. Once we left, the women will have dispersed muttering unhappily to themselves. We always carry extra kits but it can sometimes be a futile exercise as there can be many more than expected. We shared the story with the Yimba team and they laughed and shared a similar story from an event they had in Jinja. It’s not something that only happens here… imagine the crowds on Black Friday – we do the exact same thing.
Andrew, Maddy and I enjoyed a coffee milkshake at Café Pap in Garden City afterwards as the team shopped until it dropped at Banana Boat, Aristock Books, and Bata Shoes. We met Denis from the safari before supper and now Yimba and the tailors. Another busy day doing some amazing work. The team is awesome! We are having a lot of fun. At least I am! I hope they all are too.
We are of on safari tomorrow so there will be no blog until Sunday or Monday. We may not have internet at the lodge so you may not hear anything from your loved ones for a couple of days. Everyone is super excited! Have a fantastic weekend.