Charlie is in Uganda! Read All About it!

January 2010

He is making contacts with the children we are going to sponsor!!!!

First impressions:

I had promised to send emails out to all the friends of ChildrenUP who had asked to be placed on the mailing list.  

First Impression:   Heat!  I am here in the dry season.  

The flight to Uganda is a long one.  Seven to eight hours to Amsterdam and then the same to Entebbe.  But the wonderful hostel at which I’ve stayed before, was there  to pick me up. The next morning the owner drove me to Kampala to the City Square Hotel.  I then went and found the office for getting a ticket for tomorrow morning’s bus ride to Gulu in the north where I will be working with two university professors: Ambrose Okot and Stephen Odama ..  (as he says your president but with a “d”).

 I will be visiting schools and selecting the children whom we will support in their 4 years of “O” levels of high school.  The hard fact will be that we cannot support more children.  But thanks to generous donors we can make a difference in the lives of a few.  I will need to research the exact costs of high schools so that we can determine how many children we can assist.  Having said that I want to assure our donors that none of my personal expenses  are being paid  with donations.  All of the money you have given us is going to the children. 

Those who are on facebook with me have already seen this:  A Ugandan woman who heard that we could only help a few students quoted  this  Ugandan proverb:   “A termite builds a mound one grain of sand at a time”    A lovely patient sentiment.

Since I had additional time today, I do have friends in Kampala at Gulu University.  I was able to have a delightful conversation with the dean of the history department, the dean of gender studies and the assistant dean of fine arts.   They are a wonderful, insightful  group of professionals.  And they were very interested with what ChildrenUP was doing to help to provide as education to orphans  and disadvantaged children who cannot afford  high school.

I had the cheerful duty of going to the local Catholic church to offer the two priest a chalice, alb, and cassock from an anonymous  donor.  I spent over an hour with the two Italian priests who have served in northern Uganda for 13 and 28 years respectively.   They are a wealth of information.  

The biggest surprise was walking through town and hearing “Charlie” called out.   It was Nancy Akumu who ChildrenUP supports at Makere University.  She has one more semester to go.  Her parents had died of AIDS.  She was raised by her grandmother who is now 96 years old.  She is back in Gulu to be with her grandmother.   We had a far ranging conversation about education and her plans for the future which includes a master’s degree in public  health.   Tomorrow I will be able to go and meet her grandmother as well as her 2 year old daughter.

In the evening I met with the two Ugandan men who originally had suggested that we support Nancy.  We had a pleasant chat talking about their work in northern Uganda.  

So far, I am still getting oriented to my surroundings, on Thursday starts the serious work of going to schools and meeting students and trying to arrange a new life for a few students.

More to come,