Thursday, July 5, 2012

Day 3 Part 2: Margaret´s Village

Yesterday, after we ate, we went to the village where Fr. Kizito’s mother lives.  ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. 
            I thought I had seen poverty, but as we left the downtown of Mityana Kizito turned to me and said, “those people that live there (among the dirt of the city, walking on muddy roads, eating dirty meat taken from the ground, and fish that live in waters so intoxicated that they look black and dehydrated at the same time) … that’s the middle class.”
            The lower class was what I was about to see.
            On the sides of the dirt/muddy road that lead to Margaret’s village everything looked like a jungle.  The few huts that appeared here and there were made out of brick with metal sheets as roofs.  The surroundings were full of palm trees, bushes, trees, and green, green, green! 
            Some of the houses had people in front of them.  Women sitting on the ground cooking, children running around and playing, some were boiling water or making a fire.  Without fail, every house had the famous light yellow jerry cans lying around that they use to fetch water.  Some of the women were dressed with the traditional attire: dresses with pointy shoulders, colorful fabrics, and often a thick belt tied at the front and hanging) 

This is a picture of a women dressed in traditional attire that I took a few days later.
Many children were dressed in school uniforms.  And others… others were dressed with what  was once clothing.  On the side of the road children walked to school in their uniforms, some carrying books, others with their hands empty, women carrying straw on their heads (that they use to make crafts), more children carrying water home, men in bicycles.  
This picture was taken by Lake Wamala, where we went the following day, but this is how most of the houses looked.  Except here they are much closer together, usually each house had a little bit of land surrounding it and separating it from its neighbors. 

              Finally we got the Margaret’s home. Oh, I forgot to mention, she is called Margaret because in Uganda almost everyone has two names, one in Lugandan and one in English.  I think I recall someone telling me that it had something to do with the Church, baptism… but I am not positive)
            We entered into her little living room, a luxurious house compared to what we saw on our way there, and introduced ourselves.  Then we went over to the school to meet with the children.  When we were coming in with the car we had seen them playing around on the large field since the school was in front of her house. 
            As we approached the kids I nearly had a nervous breakdown/heart attack/serious case of tearing up.  There were about 50 children, all with their dark green uniforms (one could tell which ones went to school and which didn’t since there were some dressed in regular clothing).  In front of them were 10 chairs for us.  I looked at Brittany who was walking next to me and we both said, “No! they put chairs for us! I don’t want to sit on chairs and they on the ground, I want to sit with them!”  Again, I go that weird feeling.  Of course it is an honor and I feel very grateful for the kindness, but I just don’t like people to think of me as superior to them, or worse, having people feel inferior to me, even if it is just out of respect.  But what happened next left me with goosebumps, mute, and not knowing what to do.  All of a sudden all of the children who were sitting down rose up and began to applaud!  And it wasn’t just any applause either, it had rhythm and everything!  Shy and embarrassed I sat in one of the chairs and just stayed there looking at them while they kept on clapping and clapping away!

The beautiful children of Margaret’s village.
                Fr. Kizito introduced us and we said our names.  Then Sister Carla showed them how to use the chlorinator that we brought for them.  When it came time to make the chlorine you could hear “uuuuu”s and “aaaa”s and shy laughter.   That is one of the things that I love about the children here!  They laugh all the time!  About anything!  We wave at them from the van and they stop what they are doing, and start jumping up and down, screaming and laughing and waving both of their hands in the air.  And when I take their picture… oh my.. then they just die!  They go crazy!!  One time, I was taking pictures of the little children and one of them asked “could you take a picture of me alone?” “yes of course!”  But by the time that it took me to get the camera, hanging from my neck, to my eye, I looked through it and instead of 1, there were 10 children, pushing each other to appear in the photograph.  And when I showed them the photo, because they are very smart and clearly know that when “mzungu” come they have cameras that show they picture in the back, they would literally throw themselves on top of me and knock  me down!  And when they found each other in the photo they would scream and everyone would yell that person’s name and they were just so, so happy!  I truly, truly fell in love with those children.

The children seeing their photographs.
Photo taken by LeeAnn
                After meeting the school and the women groups some of the girls and I went over to play with the children.  We taught them some games and songs and they did the same.  When we finished showing them how the filter works, as a way to show us their gratitude, they sung us a beautiful song about education with a choreography and everything, and then we asked them to teach it to us when we were playing.  We taught them how to play duck duck goose and had so much fun!  At first they did not understand that you are supposed to tag the other person and would just run around behind each other until they sat down.  It was so funny to try to communicate!

Playing duck duck goose with the children
Photo taken by Brittany

The children’s HAPPINESS impressed me and made me so, so HAPPY!
            Not all of the children talked or understood English, but it was beautiful to see how at times when we told them something and they didn’t understand, others that did understand would come and translate for the rest!
            Fr. Kizito also introduced us to two groups of woman that make crafts to sell.  They were all dressed with the traditional clothing, (they all looked so beautiful and dressed up I felt underdressed with my dirty clothes and my untidy hair).  They got SO happy when LeeAnn gave each group $100 as a gift and we bought a lot of their work!  They would clap and do that typical African “scream” that goes something like “aiaiaiaiaiaiaiaaiai!!!!” I love it!!  I bought a beautiful colorful weaved basket from one of the ladies and when we left she nearly cried!

Photo taken by Brittany

The women groups that sold us their crafts.

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