Day 22: A smile a day…

They say “A smile a day keeps the sadness away”, I couldn’t agree more with this very wise quote!

Yesterday evening when saying good night to my new “African family”, Saturday was cleaning the shoes of his boys, the twins. After having heard a lot of sad stories happening to children, it’s wonderful to see how responsible this father is. Many of the kids at Child Africa are being left behind by their families and dropped at their grandparents place. The twins don’t have a mother anymore (did she disappear or die? I don’t know) all I know is that they live with Mamma Saturday. Yet every morning at exactly 7am and evening at 8pm the father comes to take care of his sons. I wanted to give him a little gift and remembered a pair of men’s shoes in one of the boxes. They fit perfectly, he was so happy and immediately started to polish them. When Mamma Saturday saw the shoes she thanked me so much, hugged me and gave me a big kiss! That really almost made me cry. I’m starting to repeat myself… little things mean so much here, it still amazes me every day!

Today at Child Africa children were doing mid-terms. Instead of supervising, I went into the nursery section and made drawings to fancy up the classrooms. After lunch Catherine ran up to me and gave me a huge hug! That again touched my heart so much, I can’t tell how happy I am to see her with such a big smile. She really acts differently since the first time I saw her walking around at school. I’m sure my mom and Erik are contributing to this pretty smile on her face! Without me mentioning anything she wanted to have a picture with her sister, me and herself. When I get home, I will definitely frame it and search the best spot in my room!

Today I brought the last bag of clothes to school… Dividing among children is so much easier than among adults. It seems there was not enough for all of them, as some took more than 1 item. These kids know much better how to share! There was even one staff member who just took something and kind of ran away… Strange, very strange, but all the others made up for that. Look how proud showing off their new pants, shirts, sweaters and shoes! Don’t they look fabulous? 🙂

There was still a boys trousers left. I choose one of the deaf children to try it on. Although the pants was a bit too big, I just couldn’t take away his happiness when I saw that smile. Many thumbs up and a big smile can mean so much more than words!

 I’m glad to have seen all these happy faces today, I will definitely miss those! I also want to thank YOU for donating clothes! If you recognize some of your clothes on the pictures, many many many thanks to you!


Day 16: A day at Primary 2

Getting used to the African habits, Julie, Amy and Lilly didn’t leave to Kampala yesterday, instead this morning at 6 am. Normally that’s the time I wake up, however from now on I can start school at 9 am. I didn’t ask for this change, but I guess when they saw me in the evenings I always looked exhausted. Such long days at school every minute surrounded by the kids is really tiring, although I’m still enjoying all the attention!

At 9 am I entered the P2 class. The teacher was just about to leave, so I corrected the exercises of the 30 kids! There was one boy, Bright, who was continuously disturbing others including me. I got very annoyed, after my final warning I told him to sit somewhere else. That’s the moment I realized that boy didn’t have legs. For a second I was in shock and felt really bad, when I saw that kid climbing with his arms in between the benches. It was the first time I saw this boy, but I had heard many stories about him. He used to come to school more often, until the father realized he could “use” the boy’s accident to make money. He refused his son to go to school and sent him on the streets for begging. From that moment on Bright lost all control and started to behave badly and aggressive. After the father received several warnings from Child Africa he probably got scared and sent his son back to school today. I honestly was a bit scared of this boy at certain times, when I was sitting one row behind him, he wasn’t copying the chalkboard rather turned around looking very seriously into my eyes. I feel bad for this boy, it seems he used to be a nice student, unfortunately the terrible influence of his father totally changed him!

Luckily this day also has many happy stories. Catherine was among the P2 students, when I entered she was sitting on the bench with the new schoolbag I gave her, she didn’t remove it one second, even when we went for lunch. It is wonderful to see how these kids appreciate such small gifts, thinking about it still touches a little part of my heart.

Another happy story was when Catherine had to stand in front of class and give some news (her name? age? what she ate yesterday? and who her friends are?) This last answer really made me wanna cry, the first name she said was “Larissa”. I think we found our “sponsor child”, my mother and Erik want to sponsor one of the Child Africa children. The best part is that my mom’s name is Catherine as well! I hope we can help this lovely girl towards a great and bright future!

Today we did arts and crafts and made a paper hat which they had to shade. I got all of them as a little gift, aren’t they lovely?!

I also received many letters from the P2 class, these texts made me smile the whole day! Don’t those little mistakes make it all even better 🙂 ?!

The whole day was quite packed: I played volleyball with the older kids, went to a meeting (Friday a sponsor parent will visit the school so we need to make sure he receives an unforgettable welcome) and in the evening I went with Paddie “shopping” for cloth, I really want someone to make me a perfectly fitted African dress. So far no material which really grabbed my attention, but this story will be continued 😉 !

Day 15: Day of the African Child

This day raises awareness for the situation of children in Africa, the theme for this year’s event is “The Rights of Children with Disabilities”. Generally, children with disabilities are hidden in Africa, but today it was THEIR day.

Early in the morning the Child Africa Brass Band and all the kids nicely dressed in uniform were ready for the parade. All the teachers and staff members ordered a white polo shirt, with the Child Africa logo on the front and “We make a difference” slogan on the back.  Almost all junior schools and child focused organizations of Kabale joined the parade at the station. Everyone received paper hats “Celebrating the day of the African Child 2012”.

Our school’s brass band was the leader of the parade, we marched around the city and ended at the football stadium where a ceremony took place. There was a lot of talking and speeches in the local language, luckily the sun was shining so I could “daydream” a bit. More interesting were the shows, each school performed a dance or read a poem, which highlighted the disabled children. Blind, deaf, deaf-mute children performed as well, it was very touching to see and hear the words they spoke.

At a certain point a street boy suddenly took over the microphone and started talking in the local language. People explained me that he said that he’s disabled too, he doesn’t have any shoes and he can’t afford to pay school fees. When Julie heard what the boy’s story, she ran up to him and promised him to buy a pair of shoes, if I understood everything correctly she even invited him to join the Child Africa school. Isn’t that wonderful?!

Today I also did a (little) good cause: yesterday I saw that one of the children, Catherine, was having troubles with her schoolbag. I tried to repair it, but the zipper was broken, her schoolbooks fell out each time. I promised her to buy a new backpack, which I did today. You should have seen her happiness when I gave the present, she was even going to sit on her knees in front of me, of course I quickly lifted her up again. That would only have made me burst out in tears 😉 .

Tomorrow I will be in her class P2, let’s see whether those kids listen to “teacher Larissa” :)!