This morning Ian preached at Kitengeesa Church, his sermon came from Matthew 13 v 31:32. Once again he excelled and the sermon was well received. as we signed the visitors book which was first used in 1997 we had a look through, as far as we could see we were the only visitors from outside of Uganda. What a privilege to be asked to speak. No wonder the children were initially a little wary of the strange muzungu.
We had not been able to meet all our sponsored children in this location on Friday and so most of them came to church to meet with us, at the end of the service we were presented with more gifts. It is so difficult to take gifts of fruit and vegetables from children who are luck to eat once a day, it would also be a huge insult to refuse them.
Due to the distance these children have to walk to attend Kijjabwemi, it was decided to start a second Saturday Group at Kitengeesa. After lunch the children demonstrated the crafts they learn at the Saturday Project.
Then it was time to say goodbye and move on to visit the Aunt Louise School. Just when we think we have seen everything Patrick springs another heart wrenching visit on us. Having a disability brings it’s challenges in any society, but in a society where at best, you are hidden away and often rejected by the family, where assistance and specialist equipment is almost non existent and education is a luxury many cannot afford life must be almost unbearable. This school is the only one in the whole of Masaka that offers a home and an education to those with disabilities. It is run by Pastor Edward and his wife Louise. They have four children of their own and also care for eleven disabled children. Both having given up their jobs as teachers they educate the ‘children’ in Maths, English, Science and Personal Care. Louise’ sister is the cook, they have no other staff. Sitting in a rural setting this is a very peaceful location, but they have no transport and are some distance from the village.
They keep a few livestock and have a large garden area in which they grow food for the children, however they have no income and we were told; “rely on God’s provision” to keep the school running. Two of their students have been with them since they started 10 years ago, Scovia 25 and Zeitun 24 have spent most of their adult lives in this school and they have nowhere else to go. Most of the students are unable to pay any fees.
Despite their severe physical disabilities both these young ladies were intelligent and eloquent. Zeitun has spent her whole life lying on a mattress on the floor but she was happy and smiling and they all seemed genuinely pleased to receive visitors.
We learned how their solar power had broken and so they had no lights and only a couple of the children had mattresses or mosquito nets, they use clothes and cloth in an attempt to soften the bars of the metal framed bunks, we could not imagine how these children could get a comfortable night’s sleep.
As we bade them good bye we left our food gifts with them, we had already decided we needed to do something. We estimate about £2500 would give them electricity, mattresses and mosquito nets plus four goats to provide milk, manure and a small income going forward. Relatively little to improve the lives of these youngsters, who suffer so much every day.