From 13 December 2017 to 10 January 2018 we will be back in Uganda. At this point, we would like to report to you on a daily basis what we have done and how we have used your donations. Have fun reading.
In the middle of the night we drive to the airport. At 5 a.m. our first flight to Istanbul starts before continuing to Düsseldorf. We hope that our luggage will not end up in Istanbul this time. Since we have a four-hour stopover, we’ll sit down in a café. We can hardly believe when suddenly a friend of Bea, Mati and Helder shows up there and he will even travel back with us. In the plane we meet another friend. Coincidences happens 😀
Arrived in Düsseldorf the fear begins, whether the suitcases are there this time. It takes a long time until the first suitcase is in sight, but then there are all in front of us.
Now we have to say our final farewell. Tired, but full of beautiful memories of the last four weeks we take each other in our arms before each of us starts the last part of our journey individually. The past weeks will remain unforgettable for us.
It’s relatively early today towards Kampala. Once again I take the time to admire the sunrise from the terrace of the guesthouse. I am driven by Richard, Aisha accompanies us. As no one is accommodated in Sonrise’s guesthouse for the time being, she returns to the capital for her actual work.
I have a date with the Sweazy family today. An American family that has three children of its own and is in the process of adopting five brothers and sisters from Uganda. Of the five siblings, I know the three girls Carol, Cindy and Katie from my previous visits to Uganda. Carol was accommodated at the Mirembe Cottage, Cindy and Katie at Sonrise Baby’s Home. For almost two years now, they have been living with the Sweazy family and it was a heartfelt desire for me to get to know the family personally and to see the girls again.
Shortly after our arrival with the family I have to say goodbye to Aisha. She is a very special person with her organisational talent. Without her, many things would not have been possible.
The Sweazy family welcomes me so warmly as if I were a friend for years. It’s nice to see that Carol, Cindy and Katie and their two brothers have found such a nice home with such warm-hearted people. I feel comfortable from the very beginning and have the feeling that the family has grown together perfectly. Natasha treats all children very lovingly and the children themselves are also a well-rehearsed team. It’s nice to see how much love and affection there is in this house. Many thanks to the Sweazy family for letting me visit them.
After lunch together and a promise to come back, Richard drives me towards Entebbe to the Hotel Sunset Entebbe. Once there it is time to say goodbye to Richard, who returns to Jinja to his family on the same day.
In the evening Helder, Bea, Mati and Lynn reach the hotel. They are enthusiastic about their safari and especially about gorilla tracking. They got close to the gorilla. Helder was even grazed by one. A perfect end to their trip to Uganda.
After breakfast together with Aisha and a short trip to the city by Boda-Boda and taxi, I go to the three houses to say goodbye. Unfortunately, the day has come for me to say goodbye. Tomorrow we leave for Kampala early. As always, it is difficult for me to say goodbye to the children and caregivers who have already become part of my family. Every child, every caregiver is warmly depressed with the promise that I will come back.
In the late afternoon I make my way to Afande like every day to take care of his wound and bring food to the family. The wound has now healed so well that it hardly needs any daily care. I am very relieved about this, as there is no one left to take care of it every day. I hope that we will find a solution for Afande to improve his future in some way. Emma, one of the social workers who also works for Sonrise, will try to find a solution together with us. I say goodbye to the whole family, which has become so familiar to me through the daily visits.
On my way home I meet Anna, a caregiver from the Sonrise Children’s Home. She tells me that she is a neighbor of Afande and asks me to visit her at home. I am very happy to comply with that request. She lives on just four square meters, in which one bed and two armchairs have room. It is very moving for me that she gives me such a deep insight into her life. Afterwards we go together from her to the Children’s Home and talk about her family and their worries about their future. Sometimes it seems to me that poverty in this country is simply boundless and oppressive. Why does a child have to pay for education when it is the key to a better life? I am more and more convinced of the importance of helping Sonrise and Mirembe to build their schools. Only in this way can we create a certain basis for at least some of these wonderful children in this country. Before I have to say goodbye to the children at the Children’s Home again, I also say goodbye to Anna shortly before the home. And this comes from the heart. I am convinced that we are on the right track with Peace’s Hope e. V. to be able to help families like Anna’s and Afande’s.
I hand over the remaining donations to Melissa to buy 36 two-person desks with a bench for the new Sonrise Children’s Home school in Kamuli. These are urgently needed to get the school up and running at the beginning of February.
In the Sunday morning mass of the Sonrise community, the dental brushing training is announced. It should take place immediately afterwards. Many churchgoers stay to complete the training. I explain the usual four steps, also called KAI in Germany. Clean the chewing surfaces, outer surfaces, inner surfaces, then the tongue and clean for at least three minutes. For many, the versions are new. It is practiced diligently and afterwards everyone can take his or her toothbrush and also a tube of toothpaste.
In the afternoon we hand out some glasses to the parishioners. The remaining glasses will be distributed on the occasion of a ministerial conference of Pastor Ivan at the end of January. The rest of the day I spend unfortunately again with the dry topic accounting.
Helder, Bea, Mati and Lynn are picked up early in the morning. Now the “rewarding part” for all their efforts and work for Sonrise and Mirembe begins. A four-day tour to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Lake Bunyonyi including safari and gorilla tracking. Hope the four will have a lot of fun. A very nice tour and a perfect end for their trip to Uganda.
I now switch in the diary to the ego-form, as I am the only one of the former eight-member team in Jinja. Today is also filled with administrative work for me. The bills for the use of the donations are due, which means a lot of paperwork. In the evening I prepare another toothbrush training. Since we still have some toothbrushes and toothpaste left, I was asked to do another training for the Sonrise community.
In the morning we’ll go to town. Some want to purchase fabrics with typical African motifs. We also buy a lot of medicine for all three homes. Many thanks to all who donated for this purpose. With the quantity purchased, the three homes can provide the children with the medicines they need every day for a good six months.
After lunch, Helder, Bea, Bea, Mati and Lynn buy some souvenirs for family and friends and in the late afternoon they have to say goodbye to all children and caregiver. The children of the three homes and their caregivers bid farewell with singing and warm thanks from Helder, Bea, Mati and Lynn. They are very touched and also thank Sonrise and Mirembe for the love they have received and for this wonderful experience. Some tears can’t be held back ; -)
In the morning we set off for a market at the Nile Brewery. The local market is typical of Uganda. Here you can buy everything you need for your daily needs. Food, beverages, clothing, electronics, accessories for Boda-Boda and much more.
After the lunch prepared by Bea, we set off to Mirembe Cottage to show the girls how to brush their teeth properly. Afterwards we go to the Sonrise Children’s Home to give the children and their caregivers the same training.
After the daily Bible study there is a spontaneous “photo shoot” with the girls from Mirembe Cottage. There are a lot of beautiful photos, of which we can show you unfortunately only a part. If you are interested, more pictures will follow later on our Facebook page.
Today is finally the day of our health campaign. Together with other visitors from Sonrise we drive to Kamuli, where the new Children’s Home is under construction.
First we visit the construction site and the farm animals, which have already been bought. We are all excited about the progress of the buildings and the news that the Children’s Home will be moving this month. The school will be opened in February, right on time for the new school year in Uganda. All in all, the following buildings are currently almost or even completely finished: a school with 8 classrooms for 40 pupils each, a water well, two dwellings for boys, a house for girls, a part of the farm as well as outside toilet and shower houses. We are especially pleased that some of the farm animals are already breeding : -)
After the visit, we start with the preparations for our toothbrush training and the distribution of the glasses. Numerous donors from Europe have supported us in collecting these donations in kind. Together with us, ESKA Optik has launched a major collection campaign for old and no longer used spectacles and measured them beforehand in order to make it easier to distribute them on site to people with visual impairment. Humble donated a total of 700 bamboo toothbrushes. Humble’s goal is to drastically reduce the use of plastic by using bamboo. We would like to thank both ESKA Optik and Humble for this great support. Also a big thank-you to dentist Dr. Karin Bode-Haack, who taugth us how to teach the correct brushing of teeth to adults and children before our departure. Of course, additionally a big thank-you to all other donors who have made a valuable contribution to this campaign with their donation.
First of all, we split up into teams in order to guarantee a fairly smooth process. The first team teaches adults in particular about the correct brushing technique. Participants will then receive their own toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste. The second team handles the distribution of the glasses. Since it was unfortunately not possible to be accompanied by an ophthalmologist or optician today, we try to find the optimal glasses by testing and using the ESKA Optik measurement list. Thanks to the good preparatory work, this is also very successful. The third team carries out a separate dental cleaning training especially for the children. The children are enthusiastic about it. It is a real pleasure to see this. We have very eager students. Of course, the children can also take their toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste home with them.
In the late afternoon we drive tired and satisfied back to Jinja. We all agree that this action has given us great pleasure and we would like to repeat it.
Today we are helping the girls at Mirembe Cottage and the babies at Baby’s Home to write thank you cards for all the sponsors of Peace’s Hope e. V. It is great fun and funny to watch the babies with big eyes watching us taking fingerprints from them. We are very touched by the loving words written by the girls.
In the evening we set out to search for the moon. According to an app from Lynn, there’s supposed to be a so-called supermoon today. Unfortunately, it is so cloudy that we can’t see the moon. However, during our walk we pass a place where many small fireflies are buzzing around. We turn off our torches and watch this spectacle of nature fascinatingly. The chirping of the crickets alone accentuates the glow worms’ incandescence. A beautiful sight that compensates us for the missing supermoon.
We wish all friends of Peace’s Hope e. V. a happy new year and thank you for your great support. Without you, not a single one of our projects would be possible.
On New Year’s Day we can sleep a little bit longer. After a late breakfast we go to the Children’s Home. We see how Chipati is made and watch a film with the children. After lunch we go down to the Nile with the children. A nice trip, which we are happy to repeat.
Today we participate for the first time in the mass in the newly built church on the new premises of Mirembe Cottage. So we can also take a photo of the future students of the new school.
After our daily visit to Afande we walk past his neighbourhood towards Baby’s Home. Here we get an impression of the real life of the people in Uganda. When we arrive at the Baby’s home, the little ones are all still asleep. After the children wake up from their nap, the fun begins.
For dinner we go to the All Friends and then we drive to the Sonrise-Church to celebrate the New Year with the Sonrise-church. Besides a sermon, there is a lot of singing and dancing.
On our way to the Children’s Home we walk past our beloved goats again. Mati can’t resist and has to take the little goat back in her arms. Everything is patiently endured and almost falls asleep on Gabi’s arm. So cute.
At Children’s Home today we are helping the children to write their thank-you letter to the sponsors of their Christmas gifts and other donations. First, we take a handprint of each child. In the middle of it we are surprised by a small thunderstorm with heavy rain and hail. This is the first rain in a long time. Everyone is happy about the cooling. After the rain we continue with the handprints and after lunch, the children write their cards directly to their sponsors. A mad bustle and yet somehow organized.
We do not want to withhold a photo from you. There you can see what happens when you allow a child to stick a sticker on your face. Lots of children and stickers are added until there is no room left ; -)
Today, the final steps of completion of the painted cards are pending. The pictures are glued on black cardboard, then cut into the appropriate shape and then glued onto cards. We are proud of the result.
In the early afternoon, as every day, we drive to the hospital with Afande to change the bandages. It thaws out more and more towards us and finally we can even make him laugh. After the treatment we bring some clothes to the family which were donated by Heidi, some of our team members and friends of Heidi. The joy about this is enormous.
In the evening we go to the Children’s Home to have fun with the children.
This morning we will again go to the Mirembe Cottage to work on the cards. Today, all cards have to be revised. The pencil lines are erased and some subtleties reworked. The last working steps have to be postponed to the next day.
In the afternoon most of the team is at the Children’s Home and just having fun with the kids.
In the morning we set off on our way to Mirembe Cottage to process the painted cards we started on 21.12.2017. The girls paint various motifs onto the now slightly brownish leaves with pencil. These are then painted in bright colours. Since we process a lot of cards, the next step is the next day.
Around noon Gabi goes with Richard to his family. So she meets his newborn son Ethan and sees both his wife Faith and his two-year-old daughter. After the family visit, she meets the team in town to go for shopping.
After all the days filled with activities, the team is allowed to rest and relax in the morning. In the afternoon we make our way to the Baby’s Home Farm. Helder, Bea, Mati and Silvia want to learn how to milk a cow. When we arrive there, the farmer surprises us with the fact that a calf was born last night. We may give the calf a name and choose Bilungi. This means beautiful on Luganda.
Right after the naming it goes to milking. First the hands have to be washed with soap, then the udder has to be cleaned with water and greased, and then it’s ready to go. Everyone is surprised how much effort it takes to get the milk out of the udder. But in the end, everyone can do it and fill the bucket with more or less milk. After the work is done, fresh cow’s milk is brought directly to the Baby’s home.
In the evening we have to say goodbye to Silvia, who travels from Uganda to Tel Aviv to meet her parents and spend a few days in Jerusalem. We wish her a lot of fun combined with the promise to take care of Afande, who has grown close to her heart.
The first day of Christmas is the most important in Uganda. In order to be able to show the sponsors of the Christmas presents beautiful pictures of all homes, we divide our team into three groups. Silvia and Mati go to Baby’s Home in the morning and Children’s Home in the afternoon. Lynn and Helder first to Mirembe Cottage and then to Baby’s Home. Bea and Gabi start at the Children’s Home and then go to Mirembe Cottage.
The morning starts in every home with a very special breakfast. The stockings are then opened, the Content comes mainly from American sponsors. As the preparations for the afternoon opening of the presents of the sponsors from Europe at the Children’s Home are a bit more complicated, Bea and Gabi go to the Nile with Moses and the children, where the children can let off steam and take a refreshing swim. At noon there is a very special meal in every home before the presents are finally opened. It is wonderful to experience the children’s joy at first hand.
For the evening we invited the girls of Mirembe Cottage to a small party in our guesthouse. There’s a lot of dancing, including limbo. Games such as a kind of blind cow and the truth game are also fun. An eventful day with beautiful moments draws to a close. We all go to bed tired and satisfied.
Christmas Eve begins for us with the Mass in the Sonrise Church. Santa Claus also comes to visit us there. After the mass, Sonrise hands out bags of food to the community.
After lunch we drive to the city and, thanks to the many donations to Peace’s Hope e. V., we buy rice, sugar, salt, drinks, soap, meat and much more for the families of the girls of Mirembe Cottage in Masese. Masese is the slum area of Jinja. Most of the girls come from here. With these donations we can also bring a little bit of the spirit of Christmas to the families living there. Since our time on this day is a bit limited, we distribute the individual products during the bus trip to the girls until all bags are filled to the brim. While the girls hand out the gifts to their families, we take a short walk through the quarter. The laughing children’s faces at the sight of the Muzungu’s help us to process a little bit how much the conditions there are close to us. Some of the parents come to us to thank us personally. It is a moving experience.
In the evening we accompany the children of the Children’s Home with their annual Christmas song for the neighbourhood. A beautiful end to Christmas Eve.
Today is community party day. Sonrise not only cares about their children and babies, but also shares what they have with the community around the three houses. Children also learn from a very early age how important it is to share. In the morning we sort out some clothes and toys of the Sonrise-children and pack them in bags together with some popcorn, cookies and rice with meat. At noon we go to the Sonrise-Church for a party. As Muzungu’s we are the attraction of the community children and are immediately surrounded. The Sonrise employees entertain the children with lots of singing, playing and reading the Christmas story. Then we are asked to perform a dance competition. Gabi pulls herself out of the affair by taking over the photographs, but Lynn, Helder, Bea, Mati and Silvia do well. Silvia wins the competition despite her ankle injury.
At the end of the party, the bags packed by us in the morning will be distributed to all children. First the little ones receive their present and then the older children. Very quickly the content is amazed and the delicacies are eaten enthusiastically.
A crying child makes us startle during distribution. A little boy was kicked by another child. On closer inspection, we see that an old wound was opened through the kick and bleeds. Silvia cares touchingly for the little boy Afande and cleanses the wound. It quickly becomes clear that the emergency treatment will not be sufficient. We cannot locate any relatives at first and try to get him to a nearby hospital. We can painstakingly reconstruct the story of the seven-year-old Afande. He has probably been living on the streets for a long time and earning some money or food by working on the market. There his lower leg was injured by a fire. The wound was never properly cared for, so it couldn’t heal. The surrounding skin is already dead and urgently needs to be removed. Otherwise, there is a risk of losing part or all of the leg. In the hospital, all the dead skin is removed under local anaesthetic. Despite the local anesthesia a painful process for the poor little boy. We discover further injuries that may indicate blows, but all of which have already healed. Peace’s Hope e. V. covers the costs of treatment and will also take care of the follow-up treatment. In the meantime Sonrise was able to locate relatives of Afande. We take him to an uncle who promises to take good care of him and regularly give him his medication. We pick him up there every day to take him to the post-treatment clinic.
In the morning we go to the Children’s Home to play with the children. Just before Christmas, like most children in the world, they are particularly excited. Heidi reads from a book of fairy tales brought along by the Brothers Grimm. Some listen to the stories while others play with the toys at their disposal.
After lunch, most of the team goes to a hotel with the girls from Mirembe Cottage to swim in the pool. Great fun for young and old.
In the evening we have to say goodbye to Heidi and Louise, who are already leaving Uganda today. The two will not only be missed by us, also by the children of Sonrise and Mirembe.
The girls in the Mirembe Cottage await us in the morning to show us how they produce the self-made cards with African motives. First of all, we have to measure large leaves and cut them into small leaves of the same size. Afterwards, these leaves are formed into a sphere and then smoothed again. This results in an irregular structure. The leaves prepared in this way are soaked in tea water and placed on the lawn for drying.
While they dry in the sun, the girls show us how they produce the paper beads typical of Uganda. These consist of paper, e. g. from magazines and periodicals. The paper is cut so that one end is slightly wider and the other ends very narrow. Then it is rolled up from the broad to the narrow one and then fixed with a little glue. If sufficient beads have been produced, they are put on a ribbon, dipped in adhesive and hung up for drying. This process is repeated two to three times. By changing the size or number of papers, different bead sizes and shapes can be created. These beads are then used to make jewellery, such as necklaces, bracelets and earrings. We had a lot of fun making jewelry for ourselves together with the girls. If you are interested in such jewellery, please contact us.
After a lot of work in the last days we will have a trip to the Source of the Nile in the afternoon. Jinja is located directly on Lake Victoria and the world-famous Nile begins right here. We go by boat to a small fishing village and take a short walk with a large group of children. Afterwards we continue by boat to the point where the Nile springs from Lake Victoria. Of course, the obligatory photo with the information sign is an absolute must. The evening will end with a delicious dinner during the sunset at the Sails Club.
Early in the morning we set off to the Sonrise Baby’s Home farm to support the farmer in his daily work. We clean out the cowshed, pack already crushed feed material for the cows into bags, feed the cows, collect new feed material from the fields, chop it up and pack it back into bags. A hard work, but we all master it with a lot of joy. At the end of the morning we discover two small puppies in a crate. Heidi and Lynn fall in love so much that they want to adopt the two of them. Unfortunately, the veterinarian called in hurriedly tells us that the puppies are still too young to be vaccinated. Unfortunately, this means that they do not comply with the entry regulations for a European country. With a heavy heart, the two of them have to say goodbye to this idea. We’re all very sad about it.
In the afternoon we go to Mirembe Cottage to introduce our home countries to the girls. Our team consists of five different European countries, so we can tell them a lot about the differences. We do not only present bare figures in comparison to Uganda, such as the number of inhabitants, size of the country, but also something about special dishes, greetings and peculiarities of our home countries. The girls were somewhat shocked by the fact that snails and frogs’ legs were eaten in France. However, the kind of greeting with all kinds of little kisses on the right and little kisses on the left was laughed heartily. Then the children were allowed to ask what e. g. thank you, hello, good morning, I love you and much more in the different languages means and how this is pronounced. After the lessons the package from Germany was unpacked, which has arrived in the meantime. Afterwards we go to the Children’s Home to show the children there a presentation in a shortened version of our home countries. It was a lot of fun to represent us and our homeland once in this form.
On Tuesday we drive to the market in the city and buy Christmas presents for Sonrise’s hard-working caregivers thanks to the many donations to Peace’s Hope e. V. A quick lunch in a typical Ugandan restaurant before going to work. We can pack lots of rice, sugar, salt, oil, soap and the donated cosmetic samples from Germany into individual bags. Meanwhile, the parcels sent from Germany in November have also arrived, so that they can still be divided between the different homes. After the whole packing and sorting operation, we go by Muzungo Express to the Baby’s Home to give the donations to the caregivers before they start their well-deserved annual leave. What a pleasure. Many thanks to all who made this possible.
Already in the early morning we set off to the construction site of the new Mirembe Cottage of Street Girls. We are impressed by the progress of the buildings. The building is almost completed and the school can be opened. A well has been installed and there is even a canteen kitchen, a building for the sewing class, toilets for the school and a new church is under construction. There are still some works missing until the move in August next year. But we are confident that this deadline can be met. In a classroom, a social worker receives the enrolments of students from their mothers. They can’t wait for school to start.
After the inspection we help the farmer to harvest the corn and plough the field a little. The children from the neighbourhood are enthusiastic about the work, so that the work is done faster than expected. Jackfruit is used to strengthen the team, and for most of the team this is a fruit that was previously unknown.
In the afternoon Heidi, Louise and Gabi drive to Masese with Daniel and Derick. The slum district from which the majority of the girls of the Mirembe Cottage of Street Girls come. Meanwhile, the rest of the team is at Mirembe Cottage, playing ball games with the girls, typical of Uganda, and taking part in Jjajja Buffy’s Bible study every evening.
In the morning we go to Sonrise Baby’s Home to help the caregivers dress the childrens for Sunday Mass. After the service we spend some time with the little ones of Sonrise. In the afternoon we drive to the nearby Kalagala waterfalls. A wild and romantic place where many a marriage proposal has already been proposed.
On Saturday morning we help in the kitchen of Sonrise Baby’s Home. Helder has to peel a lot of garlic and ginger. Many babies have a cold and get a tea of ginger, garlic and honey to relieve the symptoms. We know from our own experience that this is an extremely effective medicine. After dinner, some of the team members go for a walk with the babies. In the afternoon we have to sort the Christmas presents, name them, insert batteries if necessary and sort the 8 of 10 suitcases, which are filled mainly with donations in kind. Unfortunately Bea is still waiting for her suitcases.
First lesson for the whole team. No matter how well developed the timetable is, it is constantly changing in Uganda. Because most of the group has arrived without luggage, we go to the three homes in the morning for the introduction of the team and in the afternoon we buy the essentials for the first few days. Thank goodness Gabi has some clothes in Uganda, so that at least the female participants can dress from this fund. In the first photo you can see Auntie Peace with Tracy. Our name giver and at the same time our two models of our logo.
After a long flight we arrive in Entebbe early in the morning. The first fright, the complete luggage of all team members arriving from Düsseldorf did not arrive. At the baggage carousel we meet the last two passengers Heidi and Louise. It takes us two hours to fill in all the forms for baggage loss before we can finally be received by Sonrise staff. Immediately we set off for Kampala to finally start shopping for Christmas gifts, before we continue to Jinja in the evening.
After a long time of preparation it finally starts. Five of us – Helder, Matilde, Lynn, Beatriz and Gabi – travel from Düsseldorf. A small Selphi, before it goes via Istanbul via Kigali to Entebbe. In Istanbul we meet our sixth fellow passenger Silvia.
|Author diary:||Translation into English:|
|Gabi Haak||Silvana Pölitz|