Last Thursday we had spent the day back filling in preparation for the floor of the banda, organizing the small number of books that we hope will grow into the Suubi library, collecting the grass that will be put into the interior roof of the bandas and holding craft and computer classes! By the end of the day we were all exhausted and in need of a way to relax and unwind. Ssemwogerere expertly turned into the "DJ of the House!" His yuppie gadgets include a mixing program on his computer called PC DJ! He very quickly had the Suubi computer room filled with people dancing and having a great time!
A terrific second use for the speakers bought ! They will ordinarily be attached to the data projector to show educational DVD's at Suubi.
Friday morning we set of early to Kampala so that Annette could catch her flight back to Australia via a well deserved stop over in Dubai. I can't thank her enough for all the hard work she has done while here in Uganda and also for her amazing fundraising efforts prior to leaving Australia. She has indeed helped to positively impact on many many Ugandan lives. Her family and the Bathurst community should be extremely proud of her!
Annette says goodbye to Suubi... for now...
On the way to Entebbe airport we had a stop over at Lido Beach on the shore of Lake Victoria. For Doreen (who was on a big adventure to Kampala to stay with her Aunty) it was the very first time she had ever been to the beach! I encouraged her to venture into the water but she kept saying, " I am fearing." She was rightly very proud of herself when she finally went in up to her knees. It really has been a very very exciting few weeks for her - first time on a computer and then first time at the beach! Can you imagine that being the case for an 18 year old in the western world - I don't think so!
Doreen and the guys at Lido Beach on Lake Victoria.
After safely seeing Annette off we headed to David's house on the outskirts of Kampala. He has worked unbelievably hard for his whole life to achieve his dream of building his own home. I was very excited about seeing it and staying there. Because we arrived after dark and as he has no electricity, it wasn't until the following morning that I was able to fully see what a beautiful home he has created for himself. He should be enormously proud of himself! The view from the front verandah looks out over the mountains and although it is only 12kms from Kampala you can not see or hear any of the craziness. It is the perfect spot to unwind and relax, which David definitely needs to do. Well done Ssemwogerere, you absolutely deserve anything an everything that brings happiness into your life!
David and I at his house outside of Kampala.
The beautiful view from David's home.
Saturday morning we set off early to collect five teachers, one of the craft ladies and the builder from Masaka who had travelled down to Kampala on the bus. We had arranged to take them to Bujagali for the weekend so that they could learn new skills from my wonderfully talented friends Robert, Flo and Fred.
After a few hold ups in town we finally arrived at Bujagali at about 2.30pm. We had organized for David and I to visit the piggery project there. They have been having some problems with the day to day running of things and knowing what each persons responsibilities are. We hoped that by holding a meeting with the families involved we could help them overcome them. Everyone that attended was happy and grateful for the suggestions that we were able to make. I'm quite sure now that things will move ahead well. You know in Africa things don't always go exactly to plan but the hurdles put in front of you can usually be overcome if you persist!
The families involved in the Piggery Project
Inside the Kybiriwa Piggery.
Sunday was a huge day for the Masaka group! Firstly Charles the builder, David, Fred and I walked around the bandas at Eden Rock. We pumped Fred for information about how the bandas there are constructed. They are very different from the usual structures in Lubanda Village and it was wonderful to watch Charles sucking in the information and being challenged, but not overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to replicate the open roof plan for the bandas at Suubi!
The Masaka crew at Eden Rock Resorts in Bujagali.
Next we dropped of Sarah to Flo's house where she would spend the day with her learning how to make various craft items. Flo has been coordinating the women's craft group in Bujagali for many years now so exposing Sarah to her craft skills and business knowledge, was an excellent opportunity for her to learn.
Sarah and Flow.
With Sarah settled in we headed off with the five agricultural teachers from the schools that are involved in HUG D+ school garden programs. Firstly we visited an inspirational old women who is achieving amazing things in her garden. She has gone from being a sub-sistance farmer to raising enough money to build a home for herself and her family. She also continues to add other projects like chicken, goats and cows as she raises the extra money required to set them up. The teacher were absolutely blown away by what is possible if the gardens are set up well!
The teachers from Masaka soaked up as much as they could from this elderly lady in Bujagali.
They took plenty of notes about her various animal projects and amazing garden.
Next stop was at Nakonyonyi Primary School where the brilliant Robert Bagatiya took us on a tour of their schools demonstration garden. Again, the Masaka teachers were inspired by what they saw. They discussed with Robert about ways incorporate the gardening into the school curriculum and challenges they might face. At the end of the day we had five extremely excited teachers who now have the knowledge as well as the tools to create fabulous organic gardens at their own schools.
Robert explains the 'double dug' farming technique in detail.
The Masaka group at Nakonyonyi Primary School.
After the huge success of the day Sunday night was filled with fun, friends, lots of laughing and good times. I had planned a farewell party at the "Green Light" for 12 of our closest Bujagali friends plus the group from Masaka. I was very excited about mixing my friends from both sides of Uganda. It turned out to be an absolutely fabulous night!
Dinner at the Green Light, down town Bujagali.
Monday morning we attempted to leave very early but by the time I had said all my goodbyes to everyone it didn't quite work out that way. We finally arrived in Kampala by late morning, and as David had a meeting with one of his university lecturers, I took Joseph, Issac, Vincent, Martin, Donatas, Sarah and Charles to the newest shopping centre in Kampala. I can't explain to you how excited they were and what it was like for them to see such things when they usually do all their shopping at a tiny wooden shop in the village. Imagine what it was like for them to step on to the moving stairs!!!! (escalators)
Sarah and Charles riding the moving stairs for the first time in their lives!
So the weekend was a monumental success! I am very sure now that the connection has been made between the two communities that they will continue to grow and learn from each other. Aaaaaahhhhhhhh HUGging in Uganda! Sheer bliss!!
Not long until I am back home in Australia now. There will definitely be some serious "for real" HUGging then, so get ready everyone!
HUGs from Helen