INTO AFRICA … (cont’d) By Anna Redding
The money we had managed to raise meant we could build a whole new building in Kanjobe and a second one in Keibale – who needed it desperately. Keibale School was made up of two mud and stick rooms and the church, their blackboards were broken, desks rare and roofs ineffectual. On Wednesday the Animal Sponsorship Scheme was put into practice. The Parish priest gave a speech about the love we have shown them, but more importantly the love of God. He said that it is because of God’s love that I travelled to Uganda to help them, it was God’s will ultimately – and not mine – that I should leave my privileged life in England and humbly offer my help to those in need. The Priest did not put us on a pedestal or thank us solely for what we had done, he thanked God and for that I loved him. We were invited to a farewell function in Kanjobe on our last day and Dick gave a speech about the seed parable. He said that every time one person visits his village and makes a difference, the plant begins to grow, and then when we come back and bring five more friends they each make a difference, and then those five friends bring five friends each... until you have a great tree.
Near the end of my expedition I went to Bwaise which is known as ‘The Dirtiest Place in Uganda’. 40% have no loo, 30% have no clean water, 50% do not attend school and 80% are below the poverty line. Their main problem is HIV AIDS; around 300 children have been diagnosed. These children are neglected, discriminated and abused. The charity AFFCAD (who runs the slum tour) offers free condoms and condom education to everyone, including youth sex workers. They have also organised an Easter and Christmas party each year to bring kids with or without HIV AIDS and show them outside the slum. Sex workers in Bwaise are called ‘Singers’ meaning ants. For every job they are paid between 1000-2000 shillings which is the equivalent to 25-50p. The Bwaise community has a higher concentration of Muslims and AFFCAD organises events to build a friendlier relationships between Muslims and Christians. AFFCAD is a completely non-profit charity and I hope to volunteer there in my gap year, the work they are doing is incredible and already the change they have made is astounding.
Our life is full of riches and opportunities that exist hardly anywhere else, but with the abundance of money comes the abundance of corruption and laziness. Our main goal is a fulfilment of life, we work for money so we can achieve more, eat better, own more. In Uganda they work for food, they do not eat unless they farm. My life is already so fulfilled, I don’t understand how someone in my situation would want to strive for anything more when we already have so much and I feel my calling is now in helping other people’s lives to be fulfilled. Once I have completed my A levels I hope to go back to Uganda and possibly travel to Father Ignatius’ orphanage in India. I am also looking at the possibility of a Midwifery degree so I can work both in third world countries and at home.
The Bible teaches us that in every person there is Jesus, I have always looked upon the people around me and respected them because of this. However in Uganda I know I met Jesus, I met him hundreds of times over. The people of Uganda have such open arms and a great love for their God. I do not believe that this is because they have a simpler life or the reason people turn from God is because of the riches they have. I think it’s about trust. At the mass I attended the people did not care if they were the only one jumping up and down, they did not mind if their clap was out of beat, because they knew God was right there and they just wanted to say ‘Hey, I see you and I love you’.
Once again, thank you all for your support! I would not have been able to have this experience without the love, prayers and financial support of the people around me.