Friday, July 6, 2007

Traveling in a Matatu with 20 Chickens

So we just finished our first week of technical support. This week we worked with Grace Christian Ministries. Grace works in two locations in Uganda. Katwe, Grace's home location, is an industrial slum in Kampala. It is hard to explain Kampala's slums. All of life happens in such a small area of land. In one small area people are cooking, selling food, welding iron, throwing out their garbage, doing their laundry, tending livestock or playing with a soccer ball.

In Katwe, Grace works with street children. It is amazing what Grace has done in this community. Last year I meet a young man named Emmanuel who had been living at Grace for the past 10 years. As a small boy he had escaped the genocide in Rwanda and ended up living on the streets in Kampala. He told me that he had no where to live and no food to eat. He would go through trash piles looking for food.

Livingston, Grace's director, found Emmanuel and brought him in. Under Grace's care, Emmanuel completed his primary and secondary education. When we visited Grace this week I spoke with Emmanuel. He is now attending the University and is studying social work. Emmanuel wants to become a social worker and wants to help children.

I am so amazed at Livingston and Grace's commitment to these children. Because of their work, this young man, along with many other, have a future. Who know what would have happened to Emmanuel if Grace had not taken him in. Now Emmanuel is going to grow up and take care of children just like himself. So amazing!

After teaching a two day teacher's workshop at Grace, we headed out to Grace's other location in the district of Buganda. Buganda is about an hour and half outside of Kampala in a very rural area. It was so nice to get out of Kampala. Kampala is very congested and polluted.

In the village we taught a teachers workshop and offered a public health and a first aid seminar. Returning home from the village was a little difficult. The only matatu (Ugandan taxi system, really just a van they stuff with people) we could catch was full. They fit us anyway. So for an hour and half we road home in a matatu stuffed with 21 people and with 20 chickens. Yeah imagine that. I would do it all again though to spend time with the wonderful people we meet in the village.

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