It's been a very exciting few days since arriving back here on Monday evening after stopping off in Masaka to buy all the things we would need for the week. I'm sure Annette felt like a true Ugandan as she travelled in the back of Ruby (the delica) with 16 bags of cement, 2 bags of lime, a set of speakers, food supplies for a week and our backpacks; especially after David stopped 1/2 way to give another guy a ride that was carrying a huge bag back to the village!!! That's Uganda - The more the merrier!!!
A fully loaded Ruby Van!
It was a great feeling when we finally pulled back into Suubi. We had left last week with the ceiling in the office, where we will hold computer classes, was just beginning. Baguma Isma had been hard at work though so we found a spectacular design perched above us. It was fantastic to see how hard he had worked and how proud he was of what he had achieved.
Isma with his amazing roof design.
After checking this out we moved down to where the builders were surveying (in the Ugandan way) where 2 new bandas are to be built. The bandas will be used for western volunteers to stay in while they are here and the money raised from this will be put straight back into Suubi, therefore helping to make it a self sustainable project. It is soooooooooo exciting to see them underway because in the future it really will empower the locals to be in control of the whole project.
The builders mark up the future site of the Suubi Centre bandas.
After getting used to sleeping on the concrete floor again on Tuesday morning we rose early to watch the first part of the banda foundation being dug. Annette set about finishing off some painting around the windows of the main room while David and I took to the hoes to prepare the soil for planting a fence around the boundary off the compound. All of the locals thought it was very funny to see a muzungu woman swinging a hoe! David told me many times, "this is the life of a Ugandan women" and he laughed after checking out my blisters and as I rested in the shade of the matooke trees!
David in full swing.
Me in full swing!
Annette did a beautiful job of touching up the windows.
While we were hard at it things were moving right along with the banda construction. Sand and bricks were being delivered on site and the Charles (the builder) and his crew were staring to lay bricks!
The builders start work on the foundation trenches on the banda.
Before we knew it, they were nearly ready for bricks!
Ishmael went along to count the bricks as they were loaded to make sure we got the right amount.
Delivery No. 1 - The sand.
Delivery No. 2 - The Bricks.
The banda coming to life!
Wasswa Kaloli Charlse - The site foreman for the banda construction.
By four o'clock the craft women were starting to turn up. I had organized for only two of them to come at a time and this proved to be much more successful and way less stressful. By the end off the day one of the ladies was producing beautiful work and the other just needed a little more practice. I am very sure now that they will be able to produce both Suubi and HUG bracelets that we will be able to market for them in Australia. You should all get ready to buy the very latest fashion item when I get back to Australia!!
On Wednesday after talking to home and feeling a little home sick I needed the distraction of being surrounded by kids! We set off to visit all of the schools where HUG has previously installed water tanks and gardens. It was lovely to see and recognize kids and the teachers from last year. At both St Joseph's and Bright Light. We were followed around like the pied piper while at St Thomas the kids gave us an impromptu performance of drumming and dancing. After touring the gardens we took video footage and photos of the school for their partner school in Australia (St Joseph's -Glass House Mountains and Bright Light- Shepparton East) We have now also organized for the agriculture teacher from each of these schools to visit Robert at Nakanyonyi so they can be inspired by the wonderful garden he has created over there.
The St. Joseph's kids loved Annette!
The kids at St. Thomas gave a beautiful impromptu performance to welcome us.
When we returned back to the centre the next two craft ladies were there waiting for me and Annette had new students all of her own. She held the very first computer classes at Suubi! David had chosen four teenagers from the village who he thought would learn quickly so that hopefully in the future they will be able to pass on their new found knowledge to others. Imagine what it was like for Doreen, Chrise, Jane and Ritah to lay their hands on a computer for the very first time in their lives!
The very first Suubi Centre Computer Class!
Thursday morning was dedicated to painting the office. Annette worked side by side with the Ugandans and after a few hours work it was hardly recognizable. While all that was happening David and I did accountability sheets and bookwork - not my favorite part of this adventure but it definitely needs to be done!
Annette and the boys painting the Suubi office.
In the afternoon the children from Bright Light Primary School came to Suubi to receive their letters from the Shepp East kids. They were very excited but also a little timid as they read and reply to their new friends. It was fabulous to see them sitting at the tables and chairs that many of you back home had bought for the centre. A huge thank you to each and everyone of you!
The Bright Light PS kids writing there letters to students at Shepparton East PS in Australia.
And while all this was happening the bandas continued to rise from the ground - Oh boy what an exciting week!
Oh My God! How exciting is this! I can't wait to show you what they've done by my next blog!!!
I'll keep you all posted on the progress.
Love to you all.
HUGs from Helen