Just wanted to share with you all a few pictures from my time in Katanga, Uganda so far. I upload quite a lot of pictures onto our Facebook page, so if you want to keep up to date with what we are doing in Katanga then check it out. Be sure to ‘Like’ the page.
Megan and I really wanted to get a taste of what it is like to live in Katanga Slum, by staying the night with a family that attend our school. We would not only stay a night but also join the family in what they do throughout the day; eating, playing, drinking, bathing and washing clothes. Before we stayed the night we didn’t tell the family we would stay with them, we didn’t want them to prepare for us e.g. tidy-up, buy nicer foods.
Below is a list of what we did in order of time:
8:30am – We finished school by walking the children back to their homes. This was a chance for Megan and I to see our new children’s families and homes. We had chosen the family we would stay with, but they didn’t know until we turned up at their house.
1pm – We got invited in to a house full of people with porridge cooking in the background. They, and we, each had a mug full of white slodge. I personally don’t like porridge anyway so I found it hard to drink/eat but Megan liked the lunch we got given. Porridge is quite filling, good choice.
2pm – Now we had a couple of hours to enjoy playing whilst the children took it in turns to bathe in a small orange bowl. There was 7 children needing to get washed in the end; 2 brothers, 4 sisters and a friend of the brothers. The mum would fill up her bucket with cold water, strip the children down and get them to sit in the bucket; she would grab her blue soap bar out and start scrubbing the kids.
Some of the children don’t mind being washed but there is one particularly who ‘crossed himself’, like Catholics or footballers would, as he walked towards the bowl… he hated it, screamed and cried all the way through. They ended up clean through.
They would put on a different set of clothes, than they had on previous to the wash, and would end up sleeping in these clothes, wearing them until 2pm the next day when they would repeat the cycle.
4pm – Only 2 1/2 hrs since we finished our ‘lunch’ we started our tea (the last thing we would eat for the day). We got given a decent amount of beans, potato and motoke (steamed bananas). The children all ate in the bedroom whilst the ‘adults’ ate in the living area; Megan and I were adults apparently.
5pm – Play until bedtime. They used to play until 8 and then watch TV until 10 (limiting them to 2 hours of TV a day) but their TV broke. Instead they play until 8 and slowly get ready for bed at 9.
9pm – We were staying with a Muslim family so one of the children prayed, being thankful for the day; then, bedtime.
Megan and I felt so embarrassed as we were given the only bed they had to sleep on. The mum and older children (16, 20 years old) normally slept in the bed but tonight the mum and the 20 year old slept on the sofas next door. The other 8 children slept on a mattress that they pulled down from leaning on the side of the wall. Imagine 8 children sharing a standard sized, double mattress; a 16 year old girl, 3 boys age 9 & 10 and 4 girls aged between 4-7.
The family had mosquito nets set up already but they did need a bit of attention, before we slept, tying knots in to get rid of the holes.
The light was left on, not sure why, but we think it was so the could get up in the night and go to the toilet if they needed to (even though the ‘proper toilets’ are locked at night).
4am – Music from around the slum finally stops booming, the bass is turned off and we finally get some sleep.
6am – The Muslim call the prayer starts over a tannoy system, which alerts the mum to get up and do her prayers… End of sleep.
6:30am – The mum wakes all the kids up to do their prayers before ‘breakfast’.
7am – Breakfast is black tea with sugar. The boys attend our school so get some food at break time but otherwise I’m not sure how the family copes on just tea until porridge at 1pm. The kids stay in the clothes they slept in and go to school.
Whilst the boys go to our school in the morning the mum washes clothes and buys food for the evening. The other children who don’t go to school spend the morning playing.
We both loved our time with the family, being exhausted after all that playing. I can imagine how boring just playing is all day every day, and how easy it is for children to grow up into crime not having an education, no money and plenty of spare time. This is why kids in slums look forward to going to school, it gives them something to do and they get food too.
So it’s just 42 days before Megan and I will be boarding the flight to go back to Uganda for the 3rd time. This time we won’t be on our own, being joined by a mixed group of people; some who have been to Uganda before and some who haven’t.
We also have some friends who are going to Uganda separately, who are meeting us out there to do some medical work within Katanga Slum for a few days.
We are looking for various items that we would like to take to help the project and to further the work we are doing out in Uganda. If you could have a look at the list below and see if there is anything that you may like to donate (or perhaps you have a spare lying about?).
- Footballs (Maybe new balls that haven’t been pumped up yet, so we can transport them efficiently, taking up less space in our bags).
- Other balls; tennis balls, squidgy balls, volley balls… anything you can play with.
- Skipping ropes (individual or group ropes)
- Cricket set (aged 4-15)
- Hand sized Bean bags
- Sport cones
- Pump, for the balls
- Valve; for the pump, for the balls.
- Face Paints
- Easy exercise books (numbers, letters, sequences, colours, shapes)
- Colouring books
- Sewing patterns (for our new sewing machines we are just about to send out)
- Sewing kits (needles for hand sewing, thread etc)
We appreciate any donations you feel you are able to give, second hand is fine but we want to show these children and families that we care enough to give them good equipment, so only items that are in good condition please.
If you would like to donate any of the items above then either, reply to this post, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring us (In the UK) on 07999 554996, otherwise we might end up with 10 pumps and no balls to pump up.
Below are a few pictures of the kids, with items that people donated to us, to take out for our school in August 2012.
Merry Christmas to you all, we hope you have had a great time perhaps seeing your family & friends, eating some good turkey and sharing lots of gifts with each other.
We finished the school term in December with an end of year Christmas party with all the children in our school, the teachers and Ugandan trustees too.
& A Happy New Year. We in Uganda are looking forward to a new school term in January with some more new faces. A few of a children have acquired the sponsors necessary to send them to a private school, in Kampala. These children have studied hard, have really got to grips with learning and have shown real improvement in the last year in the Hope for Life school.
Both our teachers and social workers have worked hard, over the past year, to ensure the children are at a standard where they are able to attend formal school and pass the entrance exam.
As we have some children leaving our school, we will have more space in our classes to welcome in more children, from Katanga slum, who can not afford & need education.
We want to thank all of those people who are currently supporting our teachers to teach the children in Katanga, to a level where the can attend formal school. We are also thankful for those who are sponsoring children to start school in January 2013.
If you would like to know how you are able to support a teacher or sponsor a child then fill out the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.