The sluggish Internet service in Kampala prevented me from posting very many pictures of us working and playing, which I intend to do now. I want to thank the members of the first CTT mission; they were an engaged, enthusiastic, compassionate, untiring and joyful group. We had a lot of laughs, and we shared some tears. We got to know about pieces of ourselves that we may not have been aware of before. We held many, many hands in the process of making an abundance of new friends. We tried to keep up with the young and very expert dancers and drummers of St. Mary Kevin’s. We went through a lot of bottles of Purell, our fair share of Pepto Bismol and Immodium, and ate things we weren’t sure about. We tried our best to communicate with people who only spoke Lugandan, and Melissa succeeded in learning several words and phrases that seemed impossible for the rest of us to get our mouths around. Some of us rode boda-bodas, ate grasshoppers, stood on the Equator and marveled at the chimps; all of us fell in love with the place that is Uganda and the people who live there, especially those at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage Motherhood in Kajjansi.
I am looking forward to putting together Change the Truth Team II, but for now, I would like to celebrate what Jane, Lonnie, Ann, Melissa, Carol, Lynne and I just experienced. It was a trip none of us will ever forget.
Melissa, our resident Pied Piper.
On the Saturday we weren't supposed to work, we showed up with paint, smocks and brushes and turned the "dining hall" into a colorful, joyful handprint filled place! Here are Zaberah and me - she was getting me ready for my mark-making on the wall.
Two very young artists decked out in Eddie's old shirts.
Outdoor art class.
Lynne and her little friend, Patiency. Notice the doll Patiency is holding. Ann and Melissa discovered that many of the little girls needed baby dolls to carry around and nurture. Instead of saying to me, "Gloria, let's find a toy company that would be willing to donate some dolls to the orphanage" they decided to teach the girls how to make their own. They fashioned them after dolls they had seen for sale in the market. They stripped banana fiber off some trees and helped the girls create these "banana baby" beauties. I guess they even found some fabric with which to dress them. The girls carried them around like treasures.
The children had so much fun in Melissa's group. I bet you could hear the singing and laughing and clapping for miles around!
Lonnie shopping at Nakasero Market in Kampala.
Yours truly having the time of my life drumming with Douglas and the boys at the final performance of dancing, drumming and singing.
Ann braved the traffic, fumes and crazy driving habits of Ugandans to get around by boda-boda, a motorcycle taxi named for once transporting passengers from "border to border."
In Gwembe village, Peter's nieces were jump roping, and Jane decided to join them!
Even Rose Mary got in on the fun.
Carol and I walking about in Gwembe village. That's Peter behind us.
Jane and friends.
Lonnie giving a demonstration on a cool art technique.
Here is where you get to see a cool demonstration about how water flows in one direction on one side of the equator, in the other on the other side and stands perfectly still right on the equator!
Ann conducted therapy with many kids on an individual basis. She usually began by having them draw pictures on a piece of fabric she called a "memory cloth." So many of the hand scrawled drawings were about helicopters, guns, busses and chaos; Ann was quickly able to begin a conversation with each child about their often terrifying past. And these kids, most of whom hailed from the northern part of Uganda, proudly wore their scarves like bandanas around their heads for days after their session with Ann.
Carol and Rose Mary. Rose Mary opened her arms and her heart to each of us.
Lynne enjoying a cold drink while our broken down van was being repaired on the way to Gulu. Fanta and Sprite catapulted to the top of some of our favorite beverages list while in Uganda.
Last, but not least, here are the secondary school aged kids Change the Truth is sponsoring. Notice the t-shirts they are wearing. We had just presented them to these hard working and determined young men and women. The t-shirt was designed by Erin Katz, a Kansas City high school senior. On the front, they say, "Open your eyes..." and on the back "to the truth." They were used to raise funds for CTT and Invisible Children at a Jewish youth rally last summer. Erin, your shirts made their way to the very kids we are helping; pretty cool connection I'd say.