Almost fifty percent of the residents there are affected with AIDS. We met a health intern living there who is working on helping dissolve many of the myths associated with that disease that are so detrimental to the community.
Aside from teaching our little class, we got to help the families gain new access to clean water. Gosh, after this trip I think so much more about how grateful I am to turn on the tap and have clean water flow. Such an easy thing to take for granted! After reading the stories in Thirst (a book I wrote about back HERE), I have become so interested what is being done to help access to clean drinking water in Africa, and the world as a whole. Did you know that over one billion people worldwide lack access to clean water? I love that Family Humanitarian is working hard to help in this crisis. I love how their website sums it up: An estimated 4,000 people die every day as a direct result of contaminated water with children being the hardest hit. Polluted drinking water claims more lives than all forms of violence combined including war, and claims the lives of more children than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined. Each day, women and children walk miles to collect water that is so contaminated it will kill 25% of her family. The countless hours spent collecting water is time not spent in school, often causing girls to fall behind and eventually drop out.
We got to help Family Humanitarian provide some pretty cool new water filters to families in that village (no wells or boreholes close-by)…which will lead to so much better health and hygiene. FH has teamed up with a company called Sawyer International who have come up with these water filters that apparently have the power to eliminate 95% of all illness caused by waterborne diseases. I don’t know exactly how the technology works but I’m so excited for these families to try them out…
(They don’t look like much from these pictures…but apparently that tube has something called “micron absolute filtration” that can purify up to 170 gallons of water per day and can last for 10-20 years…read more about them from the website over HERE.)
I’m so excited that my niece and nephew are heading over in a couple weeks and can report how those filters are working. I hope they are well-used and that they help make a big difference for those families.
We got to go to the school one last time to do our art project and say our goodbyes. Those kids were packed around me so tight I could barely see as I tried to finger-paint butterflies with a huge crowd. It poured rain and then brightened up and I loved hearing laughing and dancing outside of the little covering where I was being mobbed, Dave making huge bubbles, the girls teaching dance moves, the children singing.
My favorite part was watching Lucy kick a soccer ball around with a few of the kids.
And I loved my art project helpers:
Elle took this film black and white as we were pulling out and waving goodbye and I love it:
We left parts of our hearts there but are so excited that my niece and nephew are heading over and we can send little notes and love with them.
Emma took us to a little shop to grab some little things to help us remember our time there.
The girls all got rings…note their fading henna still left over from Dubai:
Also we had some rocks we bought from some guys who were selling them from the bottom of Sipi Falls after our waterfall rappelling:
They were pretty great.
Playing for us:
They gave us all our own tribal names and had us dance with them and although it was just this little gathering under a tree, I thought it was a pretty great way to end our time there.
I even danced when it was my turn. Anyone who knows me knows that’s not something I do on a regular basis….
The whole crew:
After that we drove. And drove and drove (with Emma and Isma), in our now mud-caked van that had a brake problem we had to fix en route over the border:
(the border crossing could be a post of it’s own, it was a journey!) into Kenya to a city called Kisumu where we caught our flight to Nairobi.
Said our goodbyes when we finally reached the airport:
(the thumbs-up are that we made it all in one piece, because that felt a little bit triumphant)
This shows a little bit of Claire’s trepidation when she saw the size of that plane she was supposed to board…
Little did she know they would get even smaller in the next couple days!
One of my favorite parts of the day was sitting sort of squished in the row behind Elle and Lu on that little airplane listening to them making up their own spelling bee. I love siblings. And I was just so grateful for that golden togetherness we were in the middle of.
Oh, also another favorite part of the day was arriving late-night at our Nairobi hotel to so much delight from our kids to have so much light (we had to use flashlights to see much in our little spot in Uganda), and real tile floors! Such a different world.
But we will always carry Uganda in our hearts. The country and the people we fell in love with.