We awoke early and went for a walk in the neighborhood where the Abayudaya live. We walked past home after home built out of bricks and mud with tin roofs. The children were barely clothed and just sitting around playing together. We passed a few homes that were much more lavish, but still nothing that would compare to any home in a normal US town. To say this is an example of poverty is an understatement. The scary part is that we have been told that it is worse in the northern part of Uganda, where we are going next.
When we returned we were asked to visit with the Rabbi, who had invited his team to come to discuss how to set up the U-TOUCH Center. We had a carpenter, Arthur, and electrician, Alex, the network guru, David Armstrong and the proposed trainer, Saddat. We talked about how to set up the systems and what they needed to be successful. We asked everyone to come back with budgets so we can secure the money from the non-profit supporting the community. Everyone is extremely eager to get this project started and we are excited as well. Drew and Noah are so happy here and they are meeting some wonderful children.
The roads are all dirt and the Haddasah Primary School is about 1.5 miles down the hill from the Abayudaya Guest House. After meeting with the Rabbi and before lunch we decided to head to the Primary School to look around. The walk was the same way we had gone earlier and we passed many of the same kids. When we got to the school they were letting everyone out for the end of the semester. We were able to see all the buildings and took lots of pictures. Most of the important lessons were painted on the outside walls of the buildings since they don’t have text books. To imagine that this situation exists in this day and age is amazing.
We spent the rest of the afternoon in Mbale getting some things for the workers at the Guest House and waiting for the driver to deliver our bags. We kept talking with the driver and he was scheduled to arrive at approximately 5:30 PM. He had left Entebbe at 10:30 AM, that is a long day! After getting the bags the driver was planning to drive back to Kampala that day. The interesting part about getting the bags was the moment when our driver, Sampson, tried to start the van we were driving and the battery was dead, ouch! I had visions of being stuck in Mbale for the night, but moments later someone came with a new battery and we were off to the Abayudaya community for Shabbat services.
The services on Friday evening were extremely enjoyable. There was lots of singing and everyone was engaged, even the children. The community is very cohesive and seems to be connected in a way you don’t see in the US. The families are all together and they help each other in every way. There are large families and there are children supporting their parents since the parents can’t do it anymore. The education level is higher than expected for selected individuals, as we have always discussed at U-TOUCH, brilliance is equally distributed; opportunity is not!
With help and support we can help these people improve their lives, with such a small investment. All of us can make a difference, and it doesn’t take much.
‘Til next time ….