Friday, July 27, 2012

Kagoma Gate Progress


Hello Friends,

We wanted to share this special update on the life changing school at Kagoma Gate YOU helped to build.  The link to the left under "videos" called  or click on Kagoma Gate Update Video JULY 2012 is, as you may know, been identified by the Ugandan Government as Uganda's poorest people, but NO longer, thanks to your compassion.

The building is completed and we are almost ready to open the school and start educating these wonderful people, but we need just a little more help to open the school. 

What We Need:  desks, books and uniforms for the children.
                 
Please consider sponsoring from the following needs list:

Desks: We need 45 total (35 as of today)  for the children. These sit 3-4 children and are $50 each  (10  bricks) .   Each desk will display the name of it's sponsor on the front face.  Consider your name, your family name, club or business name.

Teachers desks with chairs: We need 3 total.  These are $85 each (17 bricks).  Each desk will display the name of it's sponsor on the front face.  Consider your name, your family name, club or business name.

Children's Uniforms: Shorts and shirt for boys and dresses for girls including TGCA Kagoma school patch (made in US). These are $7 each (1.5 bricks).  We need 200 uniforms.    Just one and 1/2 brick outfits a child,  how many can you dress?

Books:  The world will now open up to Kagoma Gate through books.  Books are just  $5 each (1 brick).  We need 420 books.   Just one and 1 brick buys a book.

Shelves: We need 3 units with draws, that is one for each classroom.   Cost is $60 each, just 12 bricks.   Each shelve unit will display the name of it's sponsor on the front face.  Consider your name, your family name, club or business name.

Please visit our Kagoma Gate Village brick site today and help us open this school by sponsoring desks, uniforms and or books.   Click on the link at the top of the page called "Buy-a-Brick for Kagoma Gate".
                                   
Other news: We will soon be breaking ground on the Saratoga Soroptimist Birthing Center at Kagoma Gate. We will be working very hard to build this and the 2nd phase which will serve as the full clinic.  Also very soon,  construction will start on the first pit latrines and fruit tree plantation in Kagoma. 

Thank you for all you do to help us help our Ugandan family. Kagoma Gate Village soon no longer Uganda's poorest people. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Soroptimist Birthing Center and Health Clinic


The Honorable Minister has given us the green light to start building on the government land!  

Remember the tiny grave of the baby who died while we were there?  We believe it is a "sign" so   where she is buried will be right near where we talked about building the clinic. We talked of her/him being the face of why we need this clinic NO more tiny graves. This child's life means something, we must refuse to let him/her be just another invisible, nameless mound of dirt. This child must live on and represent HOPE and life.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Another Iyan Update

Rosie is still in Uganda and send us these pictures.  This is SO wonderful!  A life saved..and with the birthing center there, this will NEVER happen again.

Iyan went from this:


To this:




Thursday, July 12, 2012

Iyan Update

I talked to Mark at some point in the middle of the night and he gave me a good update on Iyan.  The doctor thinks that what he has is not cancer. Moses and Mark found the father.  This boy has had this infection for the last 6 months and has eaten away part of his jaw.  So, the doctor is now going to provide an IV drip of antibiotics.   He has to go every day but not sure for how long.  The team is also working on finding a doctor to reconstruct that side of his face/jaw when the infection is gone. Mark said, and I quote: "there is hope".  This is so good and hope the team reads this since the last we knew it was just the opposite.

The team, except Mark, arrived home very early this AM after a long 24-30 hours of travel.  Thank you for following the blog and there will be more updates in the coming days so stay tuned in!

Love,
Mama Koi Koi

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Project Status

Monday, July 9: Today we went to Kiira High School to teach art, music and science classes.  The children are so willing to learn and the teachers are as well. We teach them techniques they can use to teach their classes after we leave.  After teaching, we held a talent show. This was as much fun as the dance!  We had Sarah and Katie teach 20 students how to sing a song.  Natalie sang to Alvin playing guitar. We did not know how talented they are!    Katarra showed the art work that her students had made. These were incredible. These kids are so talented. We are taking them back to sell.  Then, the Headmaster Moses and Head Mistress Rachel sang and danced.  This was so cool. It was so cool in fact, that Mama Koi Koi, Katelynn and others had to join in. I swear, I have no idea how their hips move like that!  They tried like hell to teach us.  It was a very happy day and very much needed after some of the sadness we have seen.

While this was all happening, Mark, Emma and Moses went to tend to the little boy from Kagoma Gate with the jaw infection.  His name is Ian.  Turns out his x-ray looks very bad.  They suspect he has a cancer than occurs in children in Africa. They are admitting him to Jinja Hospital Tuesday.  Things are not looking very good for this little boy.

Tuesday, July 10: Today is family meal day with the Koi Koi Kids.  Lunch was cooked by Pauline, Cecelia and others.  We were supposed to eat at noon, but as in Africa, we ate at 4PM!   The koi koi kids got their sponsor gifts and other things as well.  They made s'mores! They'd never seen those before - it was a BIG hit.  

We had our very sad goodbyes with our Ugandan Family. What we've decided is that we don't say "see you next year", we say "see you soon".  We love them all so much.  I will cry as I write this, so time to stop!

Mark has to stay a few more days for the Andrew/Julius court.  The rest of the team is now in Entebbe airport (delayed) - seems to be an every day occurrence!

When we return, we will load pictures. Thank you for following and I'll see you in the US!

Love, 
Mama Koi Koi

Hello everyone, this is Natalie.  It's taken me a little while to feel up to the task of blogging, simply because I sit down to journal in the evening and can't even imagine trying to describe to others some of the experiences that we've had during the past two weeks' time here in Uganda.  But I figured I would put something together for a bit of reflection now that that time is up...

This is my second trip with The Giving Circle to Uganda; my second time driving for four hours to get from the airport in Entebbe to Jinja, my second time visiting Busoga Junior and Kiira High, my second time venturing into the incredible community that is Wairaka.  I feel it's relatively accurate to say that last year, each of these experiences seemed to belong, somewhat, to the realm of the surreal.  Not to say that I wasn't wholly invested in each and every moment, or that I didn't feel the full impact of my experiences.  On the contrary, I found myself very much absorbed in all that we did, so much so that I just had to come back.  But there was, nevertheless, a certain awestruck sentiment, a sort of disbelief at all that I was seeing and feeling for the first time.  When I arrived home, an incredible distance separated my two weeks in Uganda from the surrounding time in the United States.  It was like a little chunk of time isolated from the life I am so accustomed to.  

What I didn't realize then-- didn't realize until I arrived here in Uganda again this year-- was that coming back was to have more of an impact than I expected.  As we drove for miles and miles through the dynamic landscape of cities and neighboring countryside, I was struck by my own lack of awe.  All I could think was that I remembered being so enthralled the previous year, and a degree of confusion settled over me for a while.  That was, until I processed that an element of the previously surreal had become an element of the real for me.  No longer was I observing something completely new, but rather something that I met with a certain amount of recognition.  Yes, Uganda existed as I had left it behind.  And so with that grounding understanding that something had changed in my perception of this place, my eyes took to the streets with a renewed fascination, curiosity, and excitement.  The utter sense of awe was a thing of the past, but that's not at all to downplay the new sense of stark reality that I grappled with more than before as we made our way to Jinja.  

That was probably more confusing than I intended it to be...

The past two weeks has left me at a lack of words, and so I suppose I will use a single experience to describe some of the emotions that have characterized the entire trip.  The very first day that we ventured into the village of Kagoma Gate, the team gathered around the newly-constructed school building.  After a little while I decided that I wanted to walk through the village, so Sarah and I went off on our own down the little dirt path that led between the huts.  Seeing the village for the first time was incredible in and of itself, but one moment in particular was overwhelming for the both of us.  Most of the children we saw on our walk scurried away from us, hesitant to approach the mzungus that many of the younger ones had never even seen before.  One small girl, however, came walking directly into our path, took Sarah by the hand, and got down on her knees in a little bow.  We both just kind of took in our breath and gave each other a look, pained to know that this young girl had an idea in her mind to perform such a gesture.  As if that wasn't enough, her mother soon came walking up to us and then got down on her knees in front of us, clasping her hands in front of her.  Sarah was quick to pull her back up, holding back sudden tears. 

This single moment in Kagoma Gate speaks to the unfathomable depth behind the relationships we have built, the poverty we have observed, and the optimism that prevails in so many of the most desperate individuals.  The gesture of those two females contained such emotion-- at once an outpouring of gratitude that someone was there to help them, but also a sickening hint of some subservient sentiment.  Not that I have any license to characterize what they were feeling, but I can only describe it as I felt standing there before two people who literally bowed to me.  I wanted, simultaneously, to hug them and tell them that we loved them, and to explode in frustration that they felt the need to lower themselves to the ground in front of me.  

Continuously I wonder what I'm doing here; what it means for the western world to be involved in a developing nation.  In the worst of these moments, though, I think back to Mark's beautiful and incredible conviction that our true purpose here is to ease the suffering of our fellow human beings.  It is not a political, religious, or United States-affiliated agenda of any sort.  To ease suffering.  That is all.  And that is worth any challenge.  

Anyway, I'm having a hard time believing that this is the last night here.  I can't even say how attached I am to the people I have met and the places I've visited.  I wanted to make a quick shout-out to my love, Nishtha, and to tell you that so very many people have asked about you.  They love you and miss you, and for good reason!  And now it's time to go to bed for a few hours before the long ride home!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


This is Katie… I wanted to share with everyone an unhappier side of Africa that the team experienced a few days ago. Uganda is a great place but certainly not free of struggle and hardships. Most of us are naturally positive people and don’t want to burden others with the sad stories we acquire, but we owe it to the people of Africa to share them; they need not only our help, but yours as well.
The other day we went back to Kagoma Gate to see the sign made by Emma and to say goodbye to all the villagers. As Toni, Deirdre, Fletch, and I were walking through the village from the soccer field to the school, we came across a woman in distress. She was showing us her neighbor’s child who had a gash in his cheek behind his ear. The wound was so deep that his gland was exposed. In addition, his cheek was so swollen that it looked like he was sucking on an apple.
We informed Mark and shortly after our encounter, we saw the boy again being examined by Mark and Fred, surrounded by many other onlookers. Mark sat down to clean the boy’s wound. The boy became very unresponsive and layed limp across Mark’s body. At this sight, I felt like someone had punched me in the chest, it was so unbelievable. Mark looked angelic; a mzungu amongst a sea of natives, a light in a dark situation. Thankfully, the boy was taken to a clinic in Jinja to receive medical attention. He will continue attending this clinic for the next 5 days.
What would have happened had we not come back to say goodbye?! The boy would have been dead in a matter of days. What strikes me the strongest is the fact that this is happening in villages across Uganda and across Africa every day. What you don’t know can’t hurt you but that doesn’t mean it can’t hurt somebody else.  This blog post is meant to raise awareness. Sure many Americans have seen documentaries or sad commercials of the poverty in Africa but how effective are those? Not very…
Experiencing first hand, the poverty, the starvation, and the struggle that Ugandans face every single day of their lives has most certainly changed mine.  Our team must use these first hand experiences and share them with the rest of the world, to raise awareness; we must be the messengers. With more help, simple donations, or small sums of money, the lives of these villagers could be saved. Think of how many lives could be saved if more people knew about these poor villages and if more people were able to catch these fatalities like we did, before it was too late. The struggles here may be really hard to look at, but it is even worse to look away.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tuesday (Sarah)

     Adding memorable items to Fletch's list, I won't soon forget women bending from the waist and reaching down to hand scrub laundry in large plastic basins.  Everyone has a large plastic basin.  I mean everyone.  How is it that the population is commonly so fresh and clean, their white shirts white, when the soil here is red and they live so close to the land.  It's miraculous.

     Everyone also seems to have one or more yellow plastic 5 gallon water jugs which they seem to be continuously carrying from here to there on their heads.  There is no central water system, so traveling to a well regularly is necessary.  (We all wonder what might have come in them originally, automobile oil or some other dangerous liquid?)  There are simply millions of them.

     Lets not forget the bicycles!  It is not enough to simply ride a bicycle here, one must load up with a half truckload of bags of bread, or a mattress, or a 6' long bag of 'coal', or bananas, perhaps a table, chairs....whatever needs to get from here to there.  The Ugandans have excellent balance.

     I won't forget the Muslim call to worship that occurs every night at 7 p.m. and at the crack of dawn every morning.  It sounds as though it is broadcast through a loudspeaker system just outside our hotel gate and it makes me curious to go see.

     More to come....

Monday (Fletch)

Hello everyone! This is Fletch! I'm having a great time in Jinja, Uganda and the surrounding areas. Yesterday ( Sunday 7/8 ) we were at Kagoma Gate where the Friendship School was built. Toni, Deirdre, Katie, and I were walking from the bus to the school, and a mother stopped us on the path. Her child had a huge cheek swollen and we could see a huge white mass inside a huge open wound between his neck and cheek. It was his jaw bone, completely open to infection. We took him to the clinic where he was checked out and got antibiotics. Today Mark took him to the hospital where the boy was x-rayed and tomorrow he will have an operation. I'll keep him in my prayers. On a brighter note, I am enjoying teaching students math and science classes in the primary and secondary schools, playing with all the kids everywhere (football, and different fun group games), painting, giving out donated goods, and experiencing the culture here. Stoney Tangawizi, chapatti, boda bodas, samosas, bucket showers, jeopardy lessons, morning runs into town on which all the Ugandas stare and sometimes cheer, being called Mzungu, purple peanut butter paste, malarone pills, talking with the kids, shillings, and rooming with Az. I've been pretty good about keeping up with my journal, which will be a great memory, especially for when I have to do a presentation of the trip to my summer school Health class this week for missing the first three days. The trip has been great. The American team (Az, Natalie, Alvin, Denise, Katara, Mark, Ann, Fred, Mike, Kelly B, Kelly Q, Abby, Sara, Katie, Toni, Deirdre, Katelynn, Diane, Rosie, and Annabela) ( and Chris) are great, and I love the Ugandan team (Moses, Emma, Paul, Brian, Bernard, Yasin, Rose, Cecilia, Pauline, little Denise, and Ronnie) !!! Hanging out with them and finding out the hard stories of the people here has been truly life-changing. And the best part has definitely been being able to help them. I have loved this trip and hope to return next year with this great group!!!

Fletch
When you immerse yourself in African culture, you suddenly feel your heart swell with love. Your spirituality reaches heights you didn't think you could achieve. And your understanding that We Are All The Same becomes fore front in your thinking.

You see children laughing and playing and overjoyed to see you arrive. You carry around 3 children at a time. Never do you have a free hand for your hands are always tightly woven to those of several little ones. You sings songs not caring what your voice sounds like. And even if you have not been in church in many years, you sit in a service here and are drawn in by the incredible singing and dancing and deep faith of the Ugandans. And you like it like that.

You also hear the cries of pain in these children and women, knowing they have no access to medical care. And you cry too. And then you cry more later. You see 5 and 6 years old who are now the parents of younger siblings. You see them walk all day in the hot sun carrying their brother or sister on their tiny backs. You watch the children hand pump water from the well then carry these very heavy loads back to their homes, repeating that several times a day. You hear the children's coughs from TB, feel the heat from their fevers from malaria, you see a small dish of rice that will be the entire meal for a family of 5 that evening, you hear the children tell you that even though they cannot go to school they yearn to be doctors and teachers in their country one day. You want to give them hope. You see the tiny grave markers where children who had no hope are buried. And you cry some more.

Yet every day here I see someone with seemingly nothing from a material perspective give whatever they have to someone else in need. It makes me think that if each of us in this world did just one thing for just one person in the world, what a wonderful world this would be for so many more people.

Denise

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Project Status

Continuing the status of our projects....

Thursday, July 5: we had the Olympics day at Kiira Secondary School (High School). The olympics consisted of 7 stations manned by at least 2 team members: Jump the Nile (long jump), 3-legged race, basketball free throw, soccer, golf ball spoon race, golf, bean bag throw and a dehydration class.  The kids loved it. Last year we did this at the primary school and they now incorporate these sports into their gym days at school.

After the olympics, we played a movie.  For the life of me I can't remember it right now!  After the movie we had a dance. We did this last year as well, this is hysterical.  They love it when mizungu (white people) dance!  The kids had a GREAT time.

At night, the team members that had their parents permission (if under 18) stayed the night with the secondary kids.  There were 6 total that stayed: Natalie, Alvin, Katie, Deirdre, Toni, and Fletch.  I will let them write about their experience, but all had a wonderful time - both the ugandan kids and the US team!

When the team did the olympics day, Mark and Emma went to Kagoma Gate to install the new sign that reads "The Giving Circle Friendship School & Soroptimist Birthing Clinic".  While they were there, the villagers were digging a grave for a 1-year old that just had died of malaria.  This is exactly why the clinic is SO important to saving these lives and enabling them to treat things such as this and this baby would not have died of malaria.   If you look around this village and pay attention, you see that this village is dotted with little tiny graves like this one Mark and Emma witnessed.

Friday, July 6: 5 of the team members went on safari: Ann, Sarah, Kelly Q, Katelynn, and Abby. The remaining team painted the Grands house at Wairaka and we made soup for the villagers for the first time!  They loved it. Soup was VERY yummy.

Saturday, July 7: Well, this day always stresses me out! We had sponsorship day in Wairaka where all the sponsored children come to the village (on our land) and we do their pictures individually, art work, hand prints, thank you notes to their sponsors and hand out the sponsor gifts. For any children where sponsors did not have a chance to send a gift, we made up bags for them.

In between, the women of wairaka cooked the food that we bought for them and we all ate the lunch.  The lunch consisted of rice, beef and chicken.  They were so grateful and their bellies were full this day.

After that, we held the adult education classes for 60 women.  There were 4 stations: nutrition (using native fruits and vegetables), health & safety, small business skills and yoga.  Yes, yoga. They LOVE this!  Gifts were handed out at the yoga and health & safety classes with bags with soaps, wash cloths and other useful things.

For any of the children that are not yet sponsored, we handed out many, many t-shirts.

This was a long, HOT but SUCCESSFUL day!

Sunday, July 8: The day started going to the Wairaka church.  This was great too. The Reverend ended the service with a special money collection from the members where they gifted it to The Giving Circle for visiting and for our continued support.  If they had more time to prepare for our visit, they'd have made us a chicken and soda lunch (their words).  But, instead, they gave us the money to buy the food for ourselves.  We didn't feel right about accepting such a gift from such a poor village but Moses said we will return it to them but in a different form.  Good idea!

After church, we drove to Kagoma Gate so the team could see the new sign that Emma and Mark put up during the week. The sign reads: "The Giving Circle Friendship School & Soroptomist Birthing Clinic".  This was awesome.  This village was declared the poorest village in all of Uganda. But after the building/completion of the school, soon to be completed birthing clinic and latrines, it will NO LONGER BE SO!

Toni and Deirdre were called over to a hut by a mother about a sick child. This child had a very, very bad infection to point that he had a hole in his cheek down to the bone of his jaw.  Toni ran to get Mark.  We also treated a boy for a bad cut/infection on his leg. We then gathered the team members to load back on the bus to bring this sick child to the hospital. The child was so sick, he was barely responding at all.  He peed on Mark.  So, we went to Kakira Hospital (the sugar cane compound hospital) as it was the closest. They refused care.  The father of this child is a sugar cane cutter ($8/month salary) and his position is not high enough for them to receive care from the very company that owns the hospital and employes him. Sickening.  So, we headed back to Jinja where we found an open clinic. Mark went in with the child to the doctor and he was treated (injection) and given medicine.  The child needs to have x-rays Monday as the Doctor fears the infection is in his jaw bone.  He also has to be back to the clinic for 5 days to be checked and more injections if needed.   This is another example of the importance of the Soroptimist clinic in Kagoma Gate.

More to come. Please check out Mark's facebook pictures!  I will load on the blog when we return home.

Love,
Mama Koi Koi

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pictures

I know you all want to see more pictures. We are having such a hard time loading them on this blog with the spotty internet access. Sorry. Mark has been able to post to his FB account if you want to check those out. In the meantime, I will keep trying.


Love,
Mama Koi Koi
Hi Everyone this is Rosie.  While at Wairaka today, Anabella and I had a conversation with Moses that I felt compelled to share. We spoke about why it is important for people to come to Uganda. Some people believe that it is better to just help Uganda or other countries from home, which is extremely beneficial--selling the women's crafts, raising money, spreading awareness ect, however, physically traveling to Uganda and seeing the place yourself--the women who made the jewelry, the children you are sponsoring, is something so different, something so unexplainable, that you cannot come close to fathoming from home. Moses said that it is important for people to come and see the conditions in Uganda so that "when they go back to America, they will not be as wasteful". We also discussed how we have so much that we take for granted and we cannot do that.
I came to Uganda a year and a half ago, and it honestly took the villagers of Kagoma Gate and Wairaka this year to remind me again of how fortunate we are. Have you ever worn a shirt until it literally fell off of you from being so worn out? Have you ever been playing at your home and ran around a body covered in dirt because you have no money to bury your beloved loved one that passed away? Have you ever watched life slowly leave your child but had no way to save them? These are experiences that I could never imagine but are so common in Kagoma Gate and villages alike in Uganda.
It unfortunately takes experiences like these to be reminded how lucky we are in America. You have probably been told so many times how fortunate we are, I know I have. But how often do we truly reflect on this fact or more importantly act on it? For me personally, Mom and Dad--I know I always take you both for granted much too often and not often enough show how appreciative I am. So, I am writing this blog to remind not only myself but everyone reading this that we must reflect on how fortunate we are and then we must act on it. We must not only think about the people we love, the ones that care for us, the homes we have, and the "things" that get us through the day but take time to show how grateful we are. No one has shown me this better than the villagers of Kagoma Gate, the children and parents of Wairaka, and everyone I have met these past two weeks. I know I will carry their genuine and beautiful smiles with me back home to help me remember how fortunate I am and to never take that for granted.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

This is Katie. Last Thursday was the day I embarked on the most exciting adventure of my life thus far...Uganda! It has been an extraordinary experience. From village to village and school to school I have met countless friends, not to mention the American friends (and one Canadian friend) I have met who are also part of The Giving Circle family.
The people here are so loving and friendly. I am definitely going to miss walking down the street, smiling, and waving to every person I pass by. Although they don't always understand us "mzungus," just as we don't always understand them, the connections I have made are still significant. Soccer, or should I say football, has luckily been a successful means for me to connect with many of the children. The language barrier disappears when soccer is played and everyone has fun!
I am so thankful for being able to go on this trip and for all the people I have met. I have learned so much in this last week. One thing in particular really stuck with me: at the New Victory Primary School, where the Koi Koi kids attend, a quote is written on the front. The quote reads, "What you make for yourself dies with you, but what you do for others is immortal." I will always come back to Uganda to continue to help the people in need. However, what they have taught and given me is far greater than anything I can give them, and for that I am truly grateful.
This is Alvin.

This would be my first time traveling internationally to any country aside from India. I wasn't quite sure what to expect when we landed in Entebbe. I had heard of a few of the stories the kids had. The things that they've endured are beyond my comprehension. When I first met a few of the kids at Wairaka, I was amazed at how they flocked to the truck. "Mzungu! Mzungu! Mzungu!" I immediately befriended a few of the children. From that point on they wouldn't let go of my hands. This was something I learned early to get used to. Wherever we went the kids would just grab on and never let go. I can't wait to go to the high school today to help with the Olympics and for everything else the trip entails.
This is Ann: Yesterday was an experience that made you really believe that there is a chance that people can really make a difference in a life. I saw the women in a prison situation take to a sewing project beside the guards and begin a project that will carry them to a new level of personal production and confidence in who they are and what they can be. Along with their babies, who live with them there, they began to sew pads that they can use and sell to make money to support their children for a better life away from the world. One woman I saw, while sitting together as a large group, had a very far away and sad face, almost tearful She made me wonder what she was thinking of. In turn, it made me think of what she was thinking of. Had she just entered? Who was she missing? Was she pondering what she had done? I could almost feel her pain through her sad face and she gave me a choked up feeling when she could not even smile as the other women were singing and dancing and seeming to enjoy the moment with their entertainment for us. I hope she can reconcile her place and find a peace for the time of her confinement. I will remember her face forever.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Status

Hello Everyone! As I write this, Mark, Moses, Counsel Rachel and I are waiting at court to meet about finalizing paperwork for adopting Andrew. Uganda has had recent child trafficking occur and they are "cracking" down pretty seriously on anyone who wants to adopt. The judge keeps apologizing as he asks for more documentation, but we AGREE, we also want to protect the children. So, I wanted to give you all a status as to what we've been up to since arriving in Uganda. I know you love to see the pictures, but we felt a description would also help you understand where we are.

We arrived on Friday, June 29. We went to the hotel to get organized. It was a 3 hour drive or more. The koi koi kids were waiting for us at the airport. WONDERFUL surprise as Mark and Moses were in court re: Julius. The kids ALL LOOK GREAT and grew a few inches since I last saw them.  

Saturday, June 30 we went to Kagoma Gate to meet the villagers again and being painting/decorating the new school. It was amazing to see in person. The HUGE 3 room school for this lost village gives me chills just thinking about it...how their lives are forever changed.  

Sunday, July 1 we attended church with our Head Mistress Rachel and Head Master Moses at the Kiira Secondary School (high school). That lasted for 4 hours. Amazing to experience.

Monday, July 2 we traveled to our Moses (TGCA Director) primary school at Bugosa (elementary school). We taught several classes to the children: literacy, art and music. Part of the team made soup for the kids. The leader was Fred, the Soup Man as the kids know him! We then showed a movie for the children. TGC/TGCA also paid for the primary school well to be fixed. We also met with the electric company in order for them to charge a minimal fee so that the school can stay opened! They cannot function without water. This we were able to witness the water flowing on this day.

Tuesday, July 3 we made more soup for the bugosa school children. We also taught math class. The children sang for us to show their appreciation. They sang a very special song "You are my Sunshine" and they changed the works to include Mark, Kelly and Denise. This brought MANY tears!  

Wednesday, July 4 today, while Mark, Moses and I are at court (just finished for Andrew paperwork and we are now accepted to present) we will meet with the high court judge to get feedback on Friday's testimonies about the case against Julius. The rest of the team is at the women's prison where they will learn how to make sanitary pads with the sewing machines TGCA had fixed for them to use. When they get out of prison, they will have a skill to sell and survive on. TGCA has provided sewing lessons to the women prior to our arrival in order to be prepared to learn the pattern. They also make wonderful hand bags. These women, most are there in self defense of their husbands trying to hurt or kill them. They do not deserve to be in prison. If they have children, and there is no family to take in the children, they go with the mom. This just creates a terrible cycle where the child grows up and ends up in prison themselves as they know nothing else. We are working on many programs to help them so that they can survive outside of prison. I will be back later. Mark will load more pictures. We have actually followed our project plan for once :) and have gotten A LOT done.

Love,
Mama Koi Koi