On this place we will again report on what our team experienced on our trip from 29 November to 23 December 2021, what tasks we had locally and how your donations were used. This year, too, the diary will not be written by just one person, but each of our fellow travellers will tell their story from their own perspective. We hope you enjoy reading it.
December 23, 2021 (Gabi)
In the meantime, everyone from the team has arrived back home or at their next destination. During this team trip, we had to deal with unusually frequent power and water cuts due to heavy rainfall. The loss of a child particularly affected us and showed us again how different the chances of survival are in such a country compared to our home country. We have experienced the full range of emotions this time. Nevertheless, we also look back on this wonderful time with “my” dear children in Uganda with a lot of love and joy.
December 22, 2021 (Cagri)
After having breakfast we went to the botanical garden. It was stunning standing in front of the Victoria lake and seeing the colourful birds flying around including the Mosquitoes 😄 Many people were in the park dancing, singing and having food together. Some were celebrating birthday, some were having a nice family gathering but all of them had one in common, they were all having fun and enjoying the time together. This time we had dinner in the shopping mall. Reaching the hotel in the evening and packing for our departure next day early in the morning, we had to say goodbye to Uganda 🇺🇬
December 21, 2021 (Cagri)
Our Uganda journey is coming to an end. We left the guesthouse to reach the hotel Sunset in Entebbe.
It was a nice feeling on the road to look outside the window and reflect all the experiences and memories in the last days. The sun was still shining as the first day and with Richard driving us, it felt a little like dejavu. When we reached the hotel we needed to withdraw some cash. Watch out, this can be a challenge. Some ATMs are out of order and the ones that are working, there is a huge queue in front. After mission accomplished we said goodbye to Gabi and had dinner at the hotel. Be aware it takes a while until food is served so best to order 2 hours before you actually want to eat 🙂
December 20, 2021 (Gabi)
Today we were finally able to visit the girls at Mirembe Cottage again and we had a big surprise with us. Donated clothes and personal gifts for some of the girls from their regular sponsors. The girls were so happy about this. The clothes were immediately distributed and tried on. Nefise got a new hairstyle. Cagri also got a new hairstyle, but his hair was a bit too short 😉 Afterwards we went on a tour of the whole area. It is wonderful to see what has been created here in the last few years. But above all, I am personally very happy that we have a safe home for our dear girls here.
December 19, 2021 (Gabi)
Why is Uganda so green? Because it always likes to rain a lot. Today, a visit to the girls in Wakikoola was actually planned. But the nightly thunderstorm and the rain that still continued in the morning made the road there impassable. So we decided at short notice to visit the babies in the old Baby Home before their final move and at the same time hand out their Christmas presents to the caregivers. There was a lot of dancing and laughing again.
December 18, 2021 (Jana)
After our jog across the Nile and back, we helped with part 1 of the Baby Home move. A van was loaded with the things that were to be moved. The rest of the area was filled with Aunties and an Uncle and then the squad started on their way towards the New Baby Home. After mopping the floors on the last visit, today we prepared the beds and kitchens for the new residents who would be moving in on Monday. For refreshment we had Rolex. In the afternoon, the fingerprints and footprints of the babies were taken for the thank you cards to the donors and the other part of the team went into town to get some souvenirs.
December 17, 2021 (Gabi)
Some of the team pooled money and bought clothes for some children of the community. Shortly after the purchase we drove to Mwzee Stephan and gave him some more essential items. On the way to Sonrise Children’s Home we stopped again and again in the community and distributed the clothing donations. The joy was enormous about these unexpected and much needed gifts. Once we arrived at the home, we had to say goodbye very quickly. Everyone found it incredibly difficult to say goodbye. They were hugged and kissed. Then the team was already on its way home to Jinja.
December 16, 2021 (Jana)
Today we went together with the children to visit an old man named Stefan who lives in a small village near the Childrens Home. He is blind and the children bring him food regularly. We helped him clean his house, did his laundry and cooked for him. Among other things, we slaughtered a chicken and brought a new mattress and clothes as donations. In the afternoon we made chapati with the children and aunties and cooked for dinner, which we had together with the children. It was a great day where we were able to spend a lot of time with the Sonrise children and gain insight into the life of the villagers as well as the cooking of the people in Uganda.
December 15, 2021 (Cagri)
After heavy rain during the night, the morning sun was a perfect opportunity to go for running in Jinja. Jana and I crossed the Nile by running over the bridge early in the morning. The breakfast after was a full enjoyment as always.
Before lunch time we departed to Kamuli to hand in the Christmas gifts to the staf. We all got together at the children home danced and had a lot of fun.
The football macht with all the children made my day. We played for more than two hours and not one of them got tired. Amazing powerful kids ❤
December 14, 2021 (Gabi)
Please understand that our diary will rest today. One of our babies passed away today. Rest in peace little angel.
December 13, 2021 (Gabi)
In the morning, Heidi and I go to Jinja with some of the caregivers to buy Christmas presents for the employees of the Sonrise Ministries. We also buy plenty of medicine to replenish the supplies of the three homes for the next months.
In the early afternoon we have to say goodbye to Heidi. She will be driven by Richard to Entebbe, from where she will travel on to Tanzania tomorrow to take a few days of vacation. In Entebbe she will meet Angelo and Julie, who stayed in Entebbe directly from the safari, because tomorrow they are already going home.
Shortly after Heidi’s departure, the rest of the team from the safari arrives back at the guesthouse. Despite a bit of tiredness, they are all ready to help with packing the Christmas presents for the caregivers. A total of 1,000 kg of rice, 650 kg of sugar, 160 kg of soap, 168 liters of oil, 160 wash bowls, 160 kg of salt, 360 packets of tea and 168 packets of curry powder are packed. In the evening, the gifts pile up in the guest house.
December 12, 2021 (Heidi)
Waking up from a sleep over at the Mirembe cottage, we headed to the church in the morning. But not without putting on our smartest dresses first. I had the chance to animate the Sunday school for the children. A moment full of laughters, singing and dancing. After lunch: even more singing and dancing followed. These girls know how to put on a show! Once their performance was over, we had a nice picture shooting session. I couldn’t have hoped for a nicer way to spend the day.
December 11, 2021 (Gabi)
Early in the morning, the team splits up. Heidi wants to spend one night with the girls at Mirembe Cottage. Julie, Angelo, Jana, Cagri, Rumeysa and Nefise are going on safari to Murchison Falls National Park for three days and I am going to Kampala with the caretakers of Sonrise Ministries to buy Christmas presents for the children. On the way we are stopped at a police checkpoint.
Allegedly, our bus was involved in a hit-and-run accident, but the time of the accident does not fit. Nevertheless, the police keeps us in the station for four hours. Thus, we arrive with great delay in Kampala at about 14:30. Since there is currently a curfew in the evening in Uganda, we have to go shopping in a hurry. With combined forces we make it just before closing time. Nevertheless, we will still have to do some shopping in Jinja. We get out of Kampala only sluggishly, because the traffic is extremely congested at this time. Tired, we reach the guesthouse around 23:30.
December 10, 2021 (Jana)
Today the team went to the new Babies Home. In the morning we got fish from the market for dinner and those who are going on safari got a short briefing for the next three days. On the way to the new Babys Home we got a Rolex for everyone for lunch as well as rubber boots and small trees.
Already as we turned off the main road, several villagers came up to Gabi to thank her personally for the well construction. They now have constant access to clean water and no longer get sick from contaminated water.
The new houses for the babies are nice and bright and spacious, the little ones will surely feel very comfortable there. It’s still a bit of a construction site, but the work is in its final stages. The highlight of the new accommodations is the wonderful view of the Nile and the large area that is used to grow corn, papaya, pineapple and other food. The cows and goats have also moved along. The property and surroundings are beautiful and we felt right at home. After the Rolex refreshments, our task was to plant over 50 small trees on the property. With pickaxe and shovel we set to work and were actively supported by the locals. We also planted a team tree together and are curious to see how it developed during our next visit.
After the tree planting, we swept and mopped all the houses so that the beds could be put away and further prepared for the move.
December 9, 2021 (Julie)
Today was the last day in Kamuli for some of us. Indeed, Angelo, Julie and Heidi will not be part of the next adventure as they will come back to Germany at the beginning of next week. Time flies!
This day, before going back to Jinja, was occupied with the writing of the thank you cards to our kind donors and sponsors. All of the children participated in the activity and soon faces and fingers were full of paint! It was really heart warming to see the kids taking the time to share their wishes and thoughts with their benefactors and their creativity through their drawings. We shared our last moments with the kids, received some secret paper messages, shared last hugs, had a last lunch with the Team and finally all came back together for a farewell, a hope to see all of us again next year but for the rest of the team, already next week!
December 8, 2021 (Angelo)
The day in Kamuli started with having no running water which made it difficult for the Germans to be on time!
After finally making it to the Sonrise premises we were welcomed with joy and big smiles which could be related to the fun all participants of the scavenger game had yesterday and the laughs we had (still pain in my belly muscles ;-D )
The first activity was harvesting Matoki fruits which are then peeled, boiled and mixed up with peanut paste to be served as well known and appreciated dish. The kids and staff loved it that the Germans cooked for them one of their favourites dishes. After lunch the kids, aunties and all the volunteers opened and sorted the donations brought from Germany. It all stopped for a moment when the rain started and you could literally see the relief of some kids playing in the rainwater after the big heat of the past days! In the afternoon the Kids showed us some traditional braiding!
A wonderful day with the kids and staff ended and we headed back our guesthouse. We got delicious homemade food and had conversations about the past days with the kids.
One smile every day makes a difference!
December 7, 2021 (Rumeysa)
The third day started with a visit at a traditional market in Kamuli. We bought some of the missing things for the games we had planned for the kids. But first the work, after two years of corona and no class, it was time to clean the classrooms. We teamed up with the kids and teachers and prepared the classes for the school start. After that the fun part could finally start. We planned a scavenger hunt game for the kids with 11 different stations. At each station kids needed to answer some riddles before they could participate in the game. While the kids were engaging in the games and having fun, the teachers were also laughing really hard. I hope it was a small sparkle in the kids lifes and a memorable day, which they won’t forget and will give them hope.
Hearing the kids saying – it was the best day of my life – was the greatest feeling the kids could give us.
December 6, 2021 (Cagri)
My second day in Uganda has started with different feelings. The endless laughter of the babies from yesterday places a big smile in my face, knowing some of the sad stories behind those beautiful faces makes it difficult to digest…
As usual the breakfast was a feast, full of fresh fruits in the company of Aisha at the table 😉Thank you Aisha 😊
Dennis picked us up with a van and brought us to the children’s home. We were welcomed by all the 66 children with a traditional dance. I could see the true joy of the kids in their shining eyes. They love dancing!
⚠️ You must dance as well no escape no excuses 😉 After lunch we were challenged as a team of 6 in a volleyball tournament. We lost with pride.
It is impressive to see how well educated the kids are, but no surprise under the lead of such fantastic teachers and the principal. A big thank you to all of them for organising such an unforgettable day 🙏🏻
December 5, 2021 (Nefise)
Finally made it also to Uganda today!
For this journey I have been waiting for some time now, but now the excitement is even bigger! The first stop, after the long journey and an amazing “welcome breakfast”, was the Church to attend the Sunday church service. Attention here , because the Ugandan one is a special one: People gather outside, sitting under a big tent, singing and dancing together, before the “ceremony” closes with the readings out of the Bible.
Parallel to the ceremony, kids get schooling and the babies do get the attention of the Sonrise baby home nurses. We had the pleasure to share the joy this time, having 1-2 babies on our arms and feeding and playing with them.
After lunch, we prepared and sorted out the donations to bring and share them with the babies from the Sonrise Baby home. The endless happiness of nurses and the babies we could not only see but also hear clearly, because the showed their appreciation with the typical Ugandan ritual. Of course some tears needed to fall as the kids did not all get the shoes they wanted , but once the little cuddles and plays have started, the sadness was gone quickly.
Tomorrow we will head to Kamuli and we are already very excited about the new impressions we will get and the positive energy of the locals that they will continue to spread. Stay tuned to read more about our experiences here :).
December 4, 2021 (Heidi)
After yet again another amazing breakfast, we headed over to Baby home. After a short walk and some play time in the shadow, all babies were pretty tired and ready for lunch. Once the babies were put down for a nap, the Team went to Jinja town for some souvenir and grocery shopping. We finished off the evening by spoiling our beloved Aisha and Gabi for dinner. Tonight, we go to bed as a team of 4 and will wake up in the morning as a team of 7.
December 3, 2021 (Julie)
After waking up from a very long sleep (we needed to recover from the trip) we ate a super fruity breakfast with bananas, papayas, passion fruits and mandasi (fried dough). We then headed to the Mirembe Cottage to visit the girls who are on holidays. It was a big surprise and a quite emotional reunion after 2 years or even 3 years apart for our Gabi! On the way we saw the very lively sides of the main road offering us a glimpse of the continuous effervescence of the markets. The morning with the girls was dedicated to games: hands games, chase games and even a football match that we had difficulties to play!: the girls run really fast! Running bare feet in the green grass surrounded by this beautiful nature has no comparable feeling: true freedom and joy. We then took lunch all together: sweet potatoes with peanut butter sauce. After that, we prepared the Christmas and thank you cards for all our generous and caring donors and sponsors. The girls were very happy to be able to say thank you and to share their gratitude and thoughts. A lot of water paint was used and definitely we had to clean a lot of hands after this activity! It was great to share this moment. The weather being quite nice, we went outside to play by the swings and to take some pictures in the garden and under the trees. It is an activity that the girls like a lot and we captured a lot of funny moments! Our day was ended by a strong rain that made the small ones all sleepy. After an epic ride back home (the villages’ roads are very slippery after the rain) we rested reflected on our wonderful day!
December 2, 2021 (Angelo)
Today we finally arrived. After the great anticipation and the long journey, I am excited to see what awaits us here in Uganda.
I arrived together with two experienced Ugandan travelers (Heidi and Julie) which allowed me to travel with peace of mind. My first impression of the locals is that they are very polite and accommodating. I immediately felt comfortable and welcome.
After a delicious lunch in our guesthouse we walked to Babys Home. The people on the way there usually look a little skeptical because of course we stand out. But everyone we greet smiles at us and is super friendly.
Once we arrived at the Baby House, we were greeted by the kids in a way I have never experienced before. The “aunties” were also very warm and excited to welcome us after this long time and pandemic related situations. For me this was all very new and exciting. The children couldn’t wait to be held and play with us. Many of the children are very affectionate and enjoy these moments as they naturally outnumber the “aunties”. We were also allowed to accompany dinner and took care of the smallest (babies). Shortly before the nightly curfew we went back to the guesthouse to end the evening there with a delicious dinner and the freshest fruit of all! Tomorrow is a new day but guaranteed not with fewer impressions.
December 1, 2021 (Gabi)
After the exhausting arrival day, I allow myself a little sleep today. Around noon I am picked up by Damali and we make a short visit to the Sonrise Baby Home. It is touching to see all the caregivers again. And the babies have grown incredible. For the first time I also meet my namesake Gabi and of course Tracey, who is pictured on our association logo. Afterwards we do some shopping in Jinja and then drive to the new Sonrise Baby Home. It is the first time that I see the property and the buildings in reality and not only on photos. I am absolutely thrilled what Sonrise has implemented here. It is so beautiful there that you will never leave again. In the evening, back at the guesthouse, I get the news that three more team members are on their way. Tomorrow morning there will be four of us. Everyone is already looking forward to many hardworking hands to help.
November 30, 2021 (Gabi)
Crossing fingers helped. Early in the morning, I finally set off. After such a long time I am on my way to Uganda again. Late in the evening I am picked up by Richard and taken to the guesthouse. Everything is so familiar, as if I had not been away for long.
November 29, 2021 (Gabi)
That was nothing then. Actually, I was supposed to fly to Uganda today. But the airline cancelled my flight at short notice. Now I hope for a flight tomorrow, so 24 hours later than planned. Fingers crossed that it works out this time!