Go to the Village
We have had several wonderful opportunities to encounter village life. We enjoyed two family reunions during the Christmas season (see above). Most recently, our friend Fr. John Baptist Ssonko, a frequent visitor to St. Margaret Mary Parish in Omaha, invited us to visit with his family in his home village of Busaabala east of Kampala. Our kids experienced a small taste of rural life at the end of the dry season, as you will see in their reflections below. Special thanks to Fr. John's Aunt Margaret and his entire family for their generous hospitality!
Learning to Bathe
By Addy Rose. We sat down, and we learned about how Ugandans get water with jerrycans from Fr. John Baptist. He put a jerrycan on his head and started walking around. He gave us a rag to bathe with. When we learned how to bathe, my Mom said, "Youngest to oldest!" So I got to go first! Done.
All Because of a Handshake
By Sammy. We were about to leave the 2nd grade classroom. Some kids shook my hand. Lots of kids shook my hand. Tons of kids shook my hand! Before I knew it I was being pulled back into the room. My parents and siblings did not know where I was so they came back to the room to find me surrounded. It took a while to get out, but eventually, I did. I learned the village children like kid visitors, especially kids their size.
Banana Leaf Padding
By Annabelle. Before we got water at the well we had to make pads so the jerrycans wouldn't hurt our heads. To make one you roll up a banana leaf and then press the edges in to fit one's head. It was so fun making one, and reminded me of the origami I love to fold!
By RJ. The water didn't look clean, but there weren't other options available... at least not yet. The village hopes to get a nearby borehole soon. We stepped out on the logs, shook our jerrycans to clear the water, and then slowly filled them up. Carrying all the water a family needs to bathe in, cook with, clean with, and drink is a daily chore most children living in the village, even as young as 3 and 4 years old, have on a daily basis.
A Long Walk Back
By RJ. For us the problem with getting water is that going back was uphill, unlike Jack and Jill. When filled with water the jerrycan was very heavy (about 5 kilograms). I shifted it on my head many times. In this village I learned that it takes many kids about one hour there and back to get water. It made my life with indoor plumbing seem REALLY easy.
By Annabelle. After we fetched water we got to dig cassava. Cassava, nicknamed 'the potato of Africa,' is a tasty, filling, starch. It was really interesting to see where it is grown. Above ground there wasn't too much to see, but the real food was in the roots. R.J., Sammy, and I all got to dig up some cassava,. We also planted another tree to be harvested next year.
By Sammy. I could not wait to milk the cow. RJ went first, but not much milk came out. Then Annabelle tried, but she struggled to get any milk. That cow was stubborn! I told Mom that I REALLY wanted to milk the cow, but she said we will have to wait and see. I was sad because I thought I would NEVER get to milk a cow. Luckily, the cow keeper came to me and said I would milk a cow. Not much milk came out, but it brought great memories!
The Many Uses of Banana Leaves
By Annabelle. In the village it was very interesting to see how many different ways they used banana leaves. Before we got water we made pads to put on our heads that would cushion the jerry-cans. When making matoke (A non sweet banana starch), they cook with banana leaves. Even this goat made a banana leaf a snack!
By Addy Rose. We were mashing groundnuts. First, RJ and Annabelle mashed them. Then, I came in and mashed them with Annabelle. Then, Annabelle said, "Let me mash that one now." So I sat there and watched. I learned how to mash g-nuts! Done.
By R.J. We went to a village church and felt really welcomed. We enjoyed fellowship for several hours as we listened to songs, ate, played, and toured. It was very fun.
By Addy Rose. We went to church. When we got there it was really crowded and full. There was one place left for us to sit in. When it was time for the choir to sing, they sang loud music. Girls and women were dancing, and I saw a lady I had seen before. And I had seen her baby before. They were in the choir. The baby's name was Caroline (right side, in pink). Most of the people I recognized. The End.
Grandpa Blake's Gift
By R.J. Mr. Bill Blake is the grandfather of a classmate I went to school with at Saint Margaret Mary, my home parish in Omaha, NE. Mr. Blake was lucky because he won our church's annual cash prize raffle two years in row! When we came to the village I found out what he did with a portion of the money. Evidently he gave much of his raffle money away and some of it went to Fr. John Baptist to renovate the village church alter. I have been to several village churches in Uganda and this little church was definitely one of the nicest... by far. I feel proud to say I know Mr. Blake.
Women's Guild Gomesi
By R.J. These are some of the members of the women's guild. They met after church. Gomesi are very popular here.