Sunday, November 30, 2014

Guest of Honor! (Follow up to "Humbled, Nervous, Amazed blog)

The invitation letter said to arrive at 1:00.  So, being in Africa, I left the house at 1:15 with Winnie and Brenda, two of our residents.

We arrived at 1:35.  They ushered us into a store-front office and after welcoming us profusely, asked us to be patient and wait.

I wandered outside to get a picture of the Top Nursery kids in their caps and gowns.  Another man came, welcomed me profusely  and ushered us back into the office.

 Many "Honorables" came and introduced themselves to me.  One honorable, Grace, thanked me for the VOE project and for supporting the government.  She said that they cannot help everyone, so when there is a project like ours, it is a great support to the government.

We were delayed by rain - in the end, I waited in the office for an hour and a half.  Social worker Winnie came and visited with us - she is the one that arranged for me to be the Guest of Honor.

Then, a group of 15 people came to the door, and formally said, "We are here for the Guest of Honor."  I looked at them and they looked at me, with anticipation.

 Finally, Winnie whispered, "You have to go first." I had to lead all of them!

We walked down a muddy lane until we came to this archway.

All the "Honorables" and I had to put our hands together on a pair of scissors and cut the ribbon to celebrate the grand opening of Jabema High School.  This was a graduation and grand opening.

 Then!  I had to lead all the honorables down the red carpet.  We cut a cake together, all hands on the knife.

 Then, a "bridge" was made to bridge the graduates from Nursery to P1. They walked down the bridge, hatless.  My job was to put the hat on them, shake their hand and tell them "Well done."  I got the last two things right, but putting on those hats was a problem!  Their heads were just not cooperating!  Crooked hats!

 After all the crooked hats walked away, we sat down.  I was at a table, all by myself, as the Guest of Honor. (after a bit, an honorable moved up to talk to me)

 Then, there were dancing, and speeches.

 Then more dancing and more speeches.

 Then more dancing and more speeches.

Afterwards, I was called up as the Guest of Honor to deliver my speech - I was the 14th speech of the day!

Finally, the parents were able to give gifts to the graduates and they danced and sang. (yeah, more dancing)

There was more dancing during the gift giving.

Baby nursery sang a song - they were so cute!

I gave out gifts to the parents who had four or more children in the school - there were 8 families that fell into that category.  Then, suddenly, the pastor announced that the Guest of Honor was to be taken away!
Winnie came and got me and took me back to the office.

"What are we doing?"

"Going for lunch."

I glanced at my watch - 5:50 PM.

We waited 20 minutes - the grads came to give back their caps and gowns.

The pastor's wife came with a cake!  (Cakes are VERY expensive here)  She said that they wanted to prepare something for me, but there was a lot of chaos. She thought a cake might be better.  YES!

I took the cake home to the kids - it lasted less than 5 minutes!  They were so happy!

We saw this rainbow on the way back to the VOE.

  Overall, it was  a great day.  I was humbled at being the Guest of Honor.  When I had to walk first down the red carpet, I would rather have crawled underneath it.  When the "Honorables" came to escort me, I certainly DID NOT want to be the leader.  But, the people were so proud to have me there.  They were so thankful for the help that Helping Hands gives to them, the school and the community - it was a great honor to represent Helping Hands on this great occasion.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving on the Nile

Some of us girls went to Jinja on Thanksgiving Day.  We had Anya and Galya from the Ukraine, Lilli from Germany, and then Robin and me from the U.S. - so it was not technically a Thanksgiving outing.
We first went to the Source of the Nile

Anya and Galya negotiated a price for the boat ride

A tourist

The White Nile

Our guide

A shopping island

In the dry season, these are in great place, but now they are flooded

We went inside and shopped.  First time shopping in a flooded shop

Then we took off our shoes to go to the "Source of the Nile"

The rocks were killing my feet!

Too Funny

The swirling water is where the spring is that feeds the White Nile

A beautiful hotel and then on the other side, a run-down village - such a contrast

The government wants the people to go somewhere else, but they will not leave - they only know a fishing life

The first port in Uganda


Riding on the back of a motorcycle/taxi