It’s a fair drive from Kampala to Mbarara, about 4 hours. It’s interesting, as you’re mostly on a good road going through village after village.
Each village has a unique character: in some, the vendors display their produce tossed willy nilly onto a tarp. In others, any produce remotely round is stacked into neat pyramids on the upturned bottoms of buckets or bins.
Some villages seem to be able to keep garbage in check and others are overrun with plastic bottles and other refuse.
All of them are bustling, full of people going about their daily lives, children walking to and from school in their uniforms, and goats nibbling anything and everything they can find.
I’ve found that most people have a vision of “Africa” that is one dimensional. Uganda, Africa, and your own country is full of color, contrast, hope, need, joy, wealth, poverty, chaos, and order. I work in areas and with people of great need, and that can make for a compelling photo op… But even in those areas, that’s not the whole story.
In the photo above, I was presented with an amazing gift: a drawing from a favorite photo of Kamida greeting me for the first time last year. Kamida is a special needs girl living at Hopeland School who has epilepsy. Epilepsy in Uganda, especially in villages, is still thought of as demon possession or mental illness and not a physical condition. It was left untreated in Kamida leading to brain injury, and her relatives tried to kill her once her parents had died so she is physically disabled.
For the last 2+ years we have provided Kamida with her epilepsy medication and sanitary pads each month. When she sees me (and now my mom), she runs and gives huge, tight hugs. It’s one of my favorite parts of each trip!
The car broke down when we were less than a mile from the hotel, and Ronald and William spent all afternoon and evening at the garage getting it fixed. They didn’t get in until 10:30! We’re headed out to the bush and Wells of Hope School today, so say a quick prayer for the car!
You all are the reason we can do what we do here, and I can’t thank you enough…
PS We have a project up for Christine’s exit package and it’s 75% funded — we just need $110 to complete it and get Christine ready for her independent life. Click below to help – as always 100% goes to the project!