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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sarah's Story - Back in the saddle for River of Life 2011!

Hello everyone! I hope you are all ok! I’m doing well here. I’ve been back just over a month now, so I thought it was time I wrote another newsletter.

Having had a WONDERFUL time in the UK seeing friends and family, (and eating like there was no tomorrow!), I returned back to Uganda and received a lovely welcome from the White Eagle kids and staff, especially from the girls, who nearly knocked me over in their enthusiasm! Kitibwa was in a mood with me for some time (-I think because he felt that I’d abandoned him!), but now he’s back to normal, and gives me just as many hugs and kisses as ever! He’d learnt loads of words while I was away, and also knows nearly everyone’s name now. He doesn’t always pronounce them correctly, hence “Aunt Sarah” is “Ah-Fat-cha”, and “Kevin” is “Mi-mi-mi” – but we all know who he means! It’s sooooooooo cute!!!

Three of the girls had returned home over Christmas to live with their families (although we see 2 of them every weekend at church), just leaving 4 girls and Kitibwa in the house. And two of the remaining girls have had to go to boarding school, and so we just see them at weekends!!! So the house is considerably quieter than it was last year!!! But we continue to run the evening programme, etc., so my work hasn’t changed.

As I mentioned to loads of you when I was home in the UK, much of our emphasis this year is on trying to resettle our residential kids (i.e. those in the boys’ and girls’ homes) with relatives. It’s not possible in all cases, because some of our kids were abandoned, and for some of them it’s not safe for them because of violent relatives. - But for those that can, we are trying to prepare them to return home. So we’re busy writing policies, mentoring our kids, and arranging meetings with relatives. - But our homes won’t be empty, because we will take in more kids to replace the ones who go home – we already got asked to take in a little baby/child by the probations officer at the police station for some time until their situation can be sorted out (-but we don’t know if we can as they’ve not told us much about them yet!). So watch this space!

If it’s ok, I would just like to flag up one of our girls in the girls’ home. I hope that this doesn’t offend anyone, as that’s not my intention. Please ignore it if it does!..... but just in case anyone would like to have the opportunity to bless one of the girls that I look after, I’ve been told that one of the girls in our girls’ home, Judith (see picture below), is in need of another co-sponsor. She has been with the project now for several years. She is an orphan (both of her parents died when she was young), and came to the White Eagle Project when she was 10 years old. She has just turned 17 years old, and is in the second year of Secondary school - she didn’t start school until she was quite old because when she was little she worked as a house-girl (doing the cooking, cleaning, washing, etc. for a family). Anyway, she’s growing into a wonderful young lady (although I’m very biased!), and works hard at everything she does, and is greatly in need of another co-sponsor. (If you are interested in helping, please go on the website: )

Appeal over!

We’ve had elections here in Uganda since I’ve been back, and it’s been very interesting watching the candidates campaign ( - 1 man who wanted to be elected to the local government gave us hundreds and hundreds of grasshoppers – yum! - , to try and convince us to vote for him! I’m told that hardly any of our kids and staff who vote were persuaded to vote for him, but we all enjoyed the grasshoppers immensely!!!). When they last had presidential elections a few years ago, there was a lot of violence all over the country, so we were praying that there would be peace this time.... and there was!!! There were a few small problems in some other parts of the country, but nothing too major (nothing like a few years ago!), and Masaka where I live was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO quiet and peaceful – people keep saying it’s never been like that before in Masaka during the elections, so that was great!!!

The kids were all off school (and came back from boarding school) during the elections. We couldn’t go out much (just in case of violence starting up suddenly while we were out), so we had to entertain ourselves and think of things to do.... and we at the girls’ home decided that on the Saturday after the elections we would have a feast of chicken and chips, which is a rare treat indeed!!! (- it was funded by my brother!). The girls were sooooooooo excited all week, and there were whoops of excitement whenever anyone mentioned the coming Saturday, and then we spent ALL of the Saturday preparing our food – we had to kill the chicken and pluck it, etc., and we had to peel and chop a whole load of potatoes, and then do the cooking, which took us hours and hours and HOURS on the charcoal stove, but it was good fun as it occupied us all day and everyone got involved! And then in the evening, we had our feast!!! Yeah!!! Aunt Tinah is an AMAZING cook, and was in charge of all the cooking, and managed to produce the most wonderful tasting chicken ever!!!!!!! We stuffed ourselves silly (Hee hee hee!!!), and then sat there very happy and very full, talking into the night!!! We had a few chips left over, which the girls had cold for breakfast the next day, so as not to waste even a single one! It has gone down in girls’ home history as “the Big Feast of February 2011”, and the girls are still talking about it now!!! It was a fab day!!!!

I’ve been keeping on going with trying to learn Lugandan, and whilst I remain not very good at all, and can only say a few sentences, I have learnt some specific sentences.... these include sentences I can use when I go on the hospital ministry, e.g. asking how people are and what’s wrong with them, and can I pray for them, etc..... and so this month I managed without a translator for the first time at the hospital!!!! Yeah!!! I was so happy!!! I still prayed in English, but the rest was in Lugandan!!! When I didn’t understand what someone was saying, I just nodded and said “Bambi” in a sympathetic tone (which means a lot of different things, including “I’m sorry for your situation”) and that seemed to go down well when I said it, as people thought I understood every word!!! Ha ha! So that was good, and has given me a boost to keep on learning little bits.

I’m very tired at the moment, because Teddy has been borrowing my alarm clock to wake up in time for school (she has to wake up at 5.30am) and is getting confused about the time.... Let me explain... Telling the time in Uganda is a bit different - because the sun rises at about 7am and sets at 7pm all year round, they tell the time by the number of hours into the day or night there are. So what we call 7am, is the first hour of the day, or 1 o’clock... And this can cause some confusion, as I discovered this week when Teddy kept coming to wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me that the alarm clock didn’t go off and that she’s missed school - because when she sees it saying 2am she thinks it’s 8am and that she’s late!!! It’s very hard to be patient when you’re woken up in the middle of the night every night for a week!!!! Ha ha! I don’t know how people with young babies manage being woken up for months on end!

Anyway, I’ll end here, as this is a VERY long e-mail! It was soooooooooo lovely to see so many of you when I was in the UK over Christmas and January!!! I’m sorry for anyone I didn’t get to see!

Lots of love!

- Sarah