Today we headed for Kikonge.
First a quick visit to the church, where Finn was delighted to find large bat’s nesting in the roof. Sadly, the mess they make is less welcome by the vicar who has had to cover the floor.
Kikonge School has received low levels of support over the years. After our last visit we sent funds to paint the classrooms, and very smart they looked too. Once again student numbers were low as many have not yet returned from the Christmas break.
We had a tour of the school and met the children, but we were on our best behaviour and did not cause any C.H.I. as they were obviously working hard.
Then it was time to visit the headmaster’s office for the introductions and formalities, we were delighted, if a little surprised, to see a record of the school finances on the wall. An indication that their records are open for all to see.
A delicious luwombo lunch was provided by Mariam, the pastor, who we learnt was one recipient of the Loan4Hope scheme.
Pastors here rely on a percentage of the Sunday Offering, so it is quite normal for them to have small income generations on the side. We learnt how Mariam has opened a hairdressing salon where she not only earns a small living, but also provides free apprenticeships for teenage girls to equip them with skills for the future. We had an opportunity to visit her salon later, Fin resisted the urge to have a braid put in.
Next it was off to visit some homes where goats have been provided. The first goats were given around 6 years ago, and many families have since benefitted through the passing on of young. We met three families and heard how the children were now able to go to school, Robert is 18 and just going into senior 1, he had not been able to attend school when he was young due to a lack of fees but was proud to have now completed his primary education and was looking forward to one day being a mechanical engineer. His four siblings are also now in school. This family had been gifted one goat, they had passed on three young and remain with five, males are sold to provide the school fees.
We heard how the Kikonge church committee identify the families struggling to pay their school fees and they are then gifted goats as they become available. The families benefit, the school benefits as more students are able to pay their fees, and the church is benefitting as they are seeing their congregation growing and more people coming to faith.
Our final stop of the day was the local bakery, Nick has been desperate to buy everyone a Rolex, a local street food, so Patrick duly obliged. We decided to forgo dinner and took the opportunity to buy some cakes to have later on. Drinks, Rolex, and cakes for later for 7 people amounted to the grand total of 47,000 UGX (about £10), definitely cheaper than dinner!!!