Bunkbeds, mosquito netting, and lots of kids….
March 28, 2012

Our deluxe accommodations at Sozo...no screens on windows
but we did have mosquito netting. That's my nephew in the orange shirt...

I’m not sure what I was expecting from Uganda looks wise…but I didn’t think the countryside would be as lush and gorgeous as it is. We arrived around 1:30 am at Sozo…I wish you could have seen the van after it picked us up, in a pitch black parking lot at Entebbe airport. Seriously, no lighting at all , except the headlights of other cars pulling out…9 people getting off flights with mountains of luggage…trying to squeeze all of us and our stuff in and on top of the car(well, the luggage on top, us inside!). I would have taken a pic but…..Our dorm room was spartan but clean, and the mattress were super comfy(thanks Allen for buying Eurofoam!)…and it was all strangely comforting. at night..the sounds of crickets, and occasional barking fits from the dogs that are let loose only at night in the compound(more on how animals are seen in Uganda later), and the whirr of the fans.

From the top floor of the orphanage, which is really a big house which Sozo now rents, there is a great balcony…from which I shot this:View from Sozo

Laundry day(which is almost every day) at Sozo. They now
have a washing machine(which they adore)...it used to be done
by hand, but drying is still sunshine.

But it’s a really happy atmosphere inside the walls of Sozo Children…kids laughing and yelling, like schoolyard, really. They also do plenty of work here, and help with the laundry, the cooking, cleaning….and there’s always plenty to do. But they LOVE, love, love to play games. Look what happened when I drew a hopscotch board on the patio: Hopscotch Ugandan style!

Two days we went to the Kabalagala slum, to help out at the Rays of Hope school…which is day school for 300 children, who otherwise might never see the inside of a schoolroom.

Three boys share a book at Rays of Hope school...

We handed out breakfast to these kids, who were soooo incredibly patient. Other kids who are not enrolled in school are occasionally dropped by a parent who are just hoping they can get something to eat(and they do)….here’s what it looks like at breakfast time: Breakfast at Rays of Hope

Tons 'o cups to fill with hot milk and sugar...

We took turns getting up at 4 am(yes really) to help get the kids'(who also get up at four) breakfast ready to be served…they leave for school between 5:30 and 6. It’s a pretty simple meal…buttered bread, some fruit or peanuts, hot milk with a spoonful of sugar in it(that’s the way they like it), maybe a boiled egg. And then we would fall back into bed. zzzzzzzzzz…..

Food here was carb loaded…lots of potatoes, rice, bread, cabbage(the only green vege we had)…rarely any meat, and no sweets. For breakfast I would eat a banana(plentiful in Uganda) and almond butter, which I toted from home across the the Atlantic. So when we got the chance to eat pizza one day….

Hello lover...come to mama...

We fell on it like starving dogs…not that we were starving really…just hungry for a taste of home, and something different(spoiled Americans!)….

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Uganda
March 26, 2012

That's Allen in the back on the left....he's such a great kid(sorry, man)

3-16-2012 I leave today for Uganda….this is a trip my sisters and I first talked about last Thanksgiving…really at the time we were joking, and now here we are headed for Africa!  My nephew Allen, has been involved with the Methodist missionary group Sozo Children for several years now…..you may remember when I wrote about him being in one of the bombings in Uganda at World Cup time-here. And he was instrumental in beginning the orphanage there. How could he not? Don’t you love those little faces?

Getting on Dulles Airport futuristic trains to who knows where...

So the talk ended with us all deciding we would go on a trip to Sozo Children in March. I admit there has been some waffling since then…my daughter does not want me to go, nor does the lovely Jennifer(I think they worry for me.)…. And there have been a couple of times I thought about not going. But I want to see the work Allen and the group is doing there, and I want to see Uganda. And let’s be honest, I love being with my sisters. Love.

My sister Audrey asked several days prior to leaving(in all seriousness)…”Are you taking heels?” I thought, only a girl raised in the south would ask that. “No, it’s flats, flip-flops, and tennies for me this trip

Lounge for first class passengers at Dulles. You can order an entire, amazing meal before you fly so you can sleep in the air. How civilized.

So tonight I’m off…after totally raiding my AMEX travel points account to upgrade my ticket(I mean, it’s a loooooong trip), and the only flight I never wanted to end, was one where I flew from London to Baltimore in British Airfirst class. I mean…They. Do. It. Freakin’. Right. Seriously, I didn’t want it to end. And now they have “pod” beds, whatever that means. That in itself is an adventure.

Here's the pod...it's like your own little room....at the end of the pod you can see the pajamas they gave me to sleep in. To this, my sister said, "I hate you." And the bed is flat so you can actually sleep!!

Breakfast at 40,000 feet...almost to London...

Next stop, Entebbe(yes, as in THe Raid on Entebbe)...Uganda, almost there!

More tomorrow!