From my journal: Oh my gosh, one of the best days EVER. Ever. It was SUCH a great day! Wow. Just. Wow.
So from that, you can gather that the party went really well! And it did… It was an amazing day!
First, Emma picked us up and we went to the Nakawa market for the beans, posho, and rice. It took some time for the ladies to weigh and bag 35 bags of 1 kilo of each, but it was nice in the back of the market, surrounded by a dozen kinds of dried beans and peas, rice, millet, sim sim, and all kinds of other bulk dried goods. The women in the other stalls were picking rocks out of big flat baskets of beans, and we sat and watched the world go by.
A young man helped us carry the three huge sacks to the car, and we headed out to ShopRite to get the oil. We took all of the Fortune and Butto, which were to two cheapest brands (made by the same company, strangely). The check out gal thought we were a bit crazy, I’m afraid!
We arrived at Ray of Hope at 11:30, a half hour past the time we’d expected. It was so great to see Emily, Christine, Lydia and Joan again! NESCO arrived with the food at noon… But no ladies! Christine got on her phone and started calling and texting. Turns out they were slowly making their way, but the demands of the morning had caused them all the be delayed. Also, some of them live quite far, a half hour or more walk down the railroad tracks.
We finally ate a little after 1pm, and the ladies thoroughly enjoyed the great meal, with the extra treats of soda and meat. Afterwards, we talked and then gave out the food, and the women were – quite literally – ecstatic! (I’m hoping to get some video uploaded later of their dancing and singing!) It was such an incredible blessing to be involved in something so tangibly helpful to these wonderful women and their families, and I am so thankful to the Lord for the idea so that I could be a part of it.
Emily and I talked for some time, and we made some additional commitments. We raised Christine and Joan’s salaries considerably to get them even with the Ray of Hope teachers, and they joined in the celebratory dancing in their joy. One of our oldest Nawezakana friends, who we met on our very first trip in Sept 2009, was at the party and didn’t look well at all. After talking with Emily we committed to buying her 1/2 liter of milk per day, to help with her nutritional deficiencies. At 30,000 shillings a month, this was a no-brainer, and will help her considerably.
Finally, Zeke spent the time playing basketball with two of our favorites from the basketball camp, Justin and Edmond, as well as some other boys who were there. It was school holidays, so a number of kids were taking advantage of the safety and hospitality of the school, but it turns out that there are 10 homeless kids, including Edmond, LIVING at the school, and 10 more at another location. They are called the Haven kids, and have been taken in for various reasons – they have been orphaned, their families have gone back to their villages (usually in the north) and left the sons in Kampala because the schools are better, etc. (This latter is Edmond’s situation.) They are mostly teen boys, and a great group of kids.
It has been Emily’s dream for some time to be able to take in the Haven boys. In talking with her, we discovered that they are fed a small breakfast of bread and sugar each day; have lunch at school when they are not on break, and then have leftover posho from the Ray of Hope school (if there is any) for dinner each night. And that’s it. That’s all they eat. So I asked them to please tell me a budget to provide dinner each night for these 20 kids (plus the 5 children of Mama Santa, who lives there and cooks for the Haven kids and the school). We wanted to include some greens (gobe, dodo, and other highly nutritious local greens), some fruit, meat once a week, and a variety of carbs and not just posho. They concluded that we could feed these 25 dinner daily, plus provide washing bars, for 450,000 shillings a month, or about $215. Obviously, we committed to that immediately!
So all in all, it was a truly amazing and wonderful day, and I felt even more blessed than our guests for being allowed to participate in it.