May 6, 2018 – The 2018 Children’s Camp has ended and all the children are on their way home, either on their own (the older ones) or my means of private small bus hires for groups traveling together, or taxis. It takes great efforts on behalf of the Road to Hope Coordinator to get them here and home! She is doing a good job, and I know she is exhausted.
The children arrived throughout the day on Friday, usually tired and hungry. We make efforts to welcome them and help settle them in after giving them a snack. Rose met a woman the previous day at a Rotary Conference who came to speak to the children on “The Bad Touch” (the title of her children’s book) which speaks to the sensitive topic of sexual abuse/molestation of young children. The book’s introduction calls this a “silent epidemic!” Even though the children were tired she was lively and passionate about her subject. After her talk the children had a late supper and then bed, and Kaitlyn and I came to our “home” in the village
We boarded buses around 8:00 AM Saturday morning and set off for Wonder World! It’s only about 45 minutes to one hour from the conference center……in “normal”(?) Ugandan traffic! Now, please do not use your “American comparisons” when I tell you it’s an amusement park! There were only 4 rides that still worked and a small swimming pool. Rose said she used to take her children there when they were small and it was “a thriving place,” but all she did was frown at how it had changed. The morning was spent in sharing, writing letters to sponsors, and another learning session by GEN (the woman who presented at the Empowerment Retreat this past February). After lunch – and the very heavy morning rain – the children went on the rides, some swam, and all ran or roamed around as children would do at a park. There was a lot of interaction with each other and the participating staff/adults.
Our day ended with each child putting their finger print on a “Thank You” poster for their RTH Sponsor, a group picture and celebrating the camp with a BIG cake. EVERYONE had a full day. One of the children said the thing he would change about the camp is for it “to never end!”
I’m trying to gather my energy this afternoon to be productive at home and to visit in the village, but I’m having a hard time.
As I have said in the past, every visit seems to hold surprises! My good friends, the parents who just had the new baby, have asked me to be the godmother. What a surprise and a privilege! I told them I couldn’t do it today, Sunday, because my commitment had been to the camp and seeing the children off is important to me – and I believe to them. Sometimes what we remember the most is how someone says “good-bye!” Arrangements have been made for the baby to be baptized tomorrow morning(Monday) at the 7:00 A.M. church services. Rose is helping me to arrange for a driver to pick me up at 6:30 AM. The Church/family are near Entebbe off Entebbe Road, so it’s not FAR! I hope I can get some pictures.
I feel blessed to have been able to be with these remarkable children who can teach us all how to be happy and satisfied with little. They may want more (as children often do), but they are also more realistic about what is possible for them now. They do have big hopes and dreams for their futures to be better and we believe this IS possible.