As we leave our apartment this morning to pick up a few last minute items before the election on Friday the crowds have already started gathering outside our apartment gates. A wave of yellow shirts, hats, signs, horns, etc. line the streets. It is wall to wall people with cars attempting to get through their masses. Screaming, chanting, whistle blowing are just some of the noises. When we are stopped in traffic people are coming by the car window chanting for their candidate.
I look over at Alex and he is just wide eyed at the commotion. He whispers "Mom are you scared?" Of course I had to put my mom face on and say that I was not, but a part of me was certainly uneasy about being in the midst of all of this. Thoughts raced through my mind, especially the one of Steven saying avoid crowds at all cost because you never know what will or could happen. I was somewhat comforted by the fact that Steven was sitting in the car with us, but it was still a little worrisome. However it was certainly a sight to see and experience.. I have never seen anything like this before in all my days.. wow....
What normally takes us a five minute drive took us about 30 minutes because of all the traffic and crowds that were gathered. However, we did finally make it to our store to get food and water to stock up on during the elections. It took us twice that long to get back to the apartment.
As I sit here and write this the people are still gathered all around our apartment complex. Microphones are blarring with the candidate making his promises for a better future for all. One thing about Uganda is they do know how to make noise. Whenever there is a celebration you can count on numerous microphones being in the center of it all. Another thing you can count on is music being played till the wee hours of the morning, horns on cars honking nonstop and people blowing whistles.
There is a certain love of whistles here. They seem to show up at every type of celebration, weddings, parties, elections, whatever the case may be you can always count on someone having a whistle and blowing it nonstop.
Anyway, the elections are Friday and since we are not sure what this will mean my family and I have chosen to live the next few days indoors and avoid the crowds and the traffic. Alex will have his music to keep him company, Steven has a newspaper stashed to read later, and I well I have a book that I am trying to finish. There is always the need to mop the floor because of all the dust so I guess I could do that as well.....NOT.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
On Monday Alex and I started our work at Mercy Home Orphanage. What an experience we had. I think we were both a little uneasy about going, but soon we were feeling very comfortable. All of the children that were there at the time came up to us and shook our hands and greeted us with smiles and thanks for coming to help them.
Alex and I started out by raking trash and weeds up into a pile so that it could be burned later. We were cleaning an area so that we might plant some vegetables there later. We had wonderful help surrounding us. Not only did some of the larger boys that lived there help us, we also had our driver Tabu, and our lovely friend Susan working with us to make a difference. We felt that we all made a good team and we could really make this place into a real home.
I realized after a while that raking was something I was not good at so I left my rake behind and traded it in for a broom. I went in the kitchen area which is really not any kind of kitchen we have ever seen. This is a really primitive kitchen. It has a dirt floor, brick for counters and three piles of bricks stacked three or four high as their stove. This kitchen was need of some tender love and care and I was just the person to do it.
However, as I entered the kitchen there was a young man working on a fire to cook the lunch (corn flour in water) for the children. His name is Vincent. Vincent has been living at Mercy Home since he can remember. He does not know his mother or father so this is the only place he considers as home. Vincent says he is fifteen years old, but there again he is not sure of his age because there are no records of his birth. Can you imagine going through life not really knowing how old you are, or why you wound up in an orphanage instead of with your parents? Even with this sad story Vincent had the most beautiful smile on his face. He is so sweet and he and I had a good time working in the kitchen. We have plans to build a proper stove and cooking area, as well as repair the counters and the walls that have fallen down in places. We also have plans to replace that dirt floor with a cement floor so it will be easier to clean and more sanitary. Vincent said he will be right there with me to do all the hard work.
I also found out that Vincent likes to work with his hands. Later when we were resting he took me to show me his sculptures he had made when he can get supplies, which is not very often. Vincent said making things really makes him happy, so already my wheels are turning in my head to find a way to help him continue expanding on his artwork.
We also talked about our love of music and how a person can do so much to lift some ones spirit through song. So he and I started singing… He sang some of his songs and I sang him some of mine. It was a true friendship that we were building and I believe that it will last a lifetime. All of this in just a few hours…. Can you imagine what is to come?????? I can’t wait!!!!