Thursday, January 06, 2011
I fell behind a day, it seems driving around the countryside is very tiring. I didn’t feel like doing it last night and this morning was too rushed so here I am. It is 8:30pm local time and we just returned from our second day of giving shoes. On day one we visited a school in Jinja and gave away about 150 pairs of shoes. The students were queued up outside and then funneled into a room where we helped each kid into a pair of shoes. The fun part is the looks of happiness and gratitude on the faces of the kids, the bad part; we don’t ever have enough shoes for everyone and that is always going to be the biggest takeaway from these visits. I saw, that day, a microcosm of how the world views Americans. It seems that the ones who got the shoes were very grateful and happy that we came. Others were happy we came because we were there, they were disappointed to not get shoes but they no worse off than when we arrived and they had had a lot of fun and excitement on top of it all. Then there was the last group, not a small group but they were very obvious in their feelings .These kids were either demanding we give them something (even to a plastic bag sitting empty on the table) or they were so contemptuous of us that they felt personally slighted by not getting shoes and would not even look at us with a sneer or look of disdain. We smiled and talked to all of them, promising to return when we could and hoping to give more shoes next time. Most laughed and ran along beside our van as we rumbled down the dirt road yelling, “Mzungu, Mzungu” (this is a Ugandan word for white man) as we drove away handing out small candy treats as we were able. It was very fulfilling and saddening at the same time.
Today we went to a church in Mpigi, there we handed out another 130 or so pairs of shoes, this time we were rewarded with a spontaneous worship session when a couple of the older boys and girls got up to sing and lead the rest of the children and adults in some African worship songs. It was a lot of fun and much dancing and clapping was done. Soon we began giving the shoes and getting the smiles and thanks that were so heart fully given. In fact it was a little disconcerting to see them suddenly kneel in front of you and say thank-you before they turned and hurried away. It was also very beautiful to see this genuine gesture of gratitude from the boys and girls there. Once again we did not have enough but the attitude was joyful and we left being very glad we had a chance to meet these kids.
The top picture is at Jinja and the bottom Mpigi
An hour back into town and we were at the local church we are based at, waiting for the rest of the shoes we had purchased to be delivered. All-in-all we will give out over 800 pairs of shoes over the 5 day period, travel much of the countryside within a couple hours of Kampala and meet some very amazing and sweet people in the bargain. So far it has been a great time here in Uganda