June 2017

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June 2017

June 25th – Family Visits

This afternoon we split up into three groups and each went on house visits. Our group, accompanied by Julius, went to visit four families living just a short drive away from our accommodation. We pulled up a few metres away from the first house and got out of the car, straight away I was struck by how many children were playing outside the tiny brick structure we were heading towards. We were all greeted by mum who welcomed us into her home.

Now I’m sure we have all seen footage of the kinds of houses you’d find in various parts of Africa and I should have been prepared, having just visited the slums in Kampala last week. For some reason the homes I was expecting to find in Hoima were not the reality. Inside there was barely room to fit the six of us, let alone the family of eight it was supposed to accommodate, there was a bench against one wall, a small table in the middle and a small bed against the opposite wall.

My partner and I live in a two bed basement flat, which at one point we shared with two other people. I remember how we all used to moan about how little space we had, and how we felt as if we were living on top of each other. Our flat is a palace in comparison to this family home, their entire house could have been comfortably squeezed into my bedroom.

Julius explained to us that the mother and her youngest child were both HIV positive and mum had recently been very unwell in hospital, leaving her children in the care of their older sister.

The mother then told us that her daughter had been admitted to hospital yesterday morning, her daughter had got a Boda-Boda (a cross between a motorbike and a taxi) home and the driver had carried on driving past her home, so for her own safety, she had to jump off.

As mum is the only parent in the family she must provide food for all of her children whilst coping with her illness. She explained to us how the summer months are easier, as she is able to pick mangos to feed the family. She then thanked us for coming and pulled a cloth off a bowl on the table to reveal it was full of mangos, she then proceeded to put all the mangos in a bag and handed them to us. We then had a photo and said our goodbyes.

Once back in the car, I found it very difficult to compose myself, after being given what was quite possibly the families dinner for that night. People in this country are so welcoming and generous and I feel so guilty with how much they appreciated me just for showing my face for ten minutes.

The positives I got out of this experience was hearing how KISS supports children from these families by providing school fees and clothes. Many of the families had received a mattress from KISS to make their nights a lot more comfortable.

The children are also being taught various crafts such as bracelet making, which they can sell for a small profit.

The more time I spend here in Uganda the more I realise how much I take for granted in my life. I have never had a day without a warm meal. I have a comfy bed to sleep in each night. I have more clothes and shoes than one person could possibly need. If I get ill then I have the NHS to pay for my treatment. This trip has taught me that it’s time we all started to appreciate what we have in the UK a little more.

Ella

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