Today we visited a couple of schools after a morning meeting with the LC 3 (sub county political leader) and Nurse Nalwoga (nutrition lead at health center). We visited Bulanga Children’s center (school and orphanage) just a few minutes north of our village, Namungalwe Rural. The headmaster had come to our front door earlier In the week to introduce himself and invite us to visit his private school. So we went this morning and the children were so so excited to see us. They were the most respectful and polite (as schools we’ve visited have been) and absolutely adorable! They ranged in age and after introductions sang us a song and some of the children danced…one of them I found out later was one of Esther’s girls (the women who gave us the yams )…so so cute (she has earrings on in the video). The older kids also recited a poem on Aids, which makes me think at least they are talking about the problem as most of the village is in denial about its affect on the community. Most people don’t get tested and if they do and end up having HIV/AIDS they don’t disclose the information to their partners, which is so unfortunate. It is hidden and in the darkness…which makes me think that most aren’t getting treated, aren’t taking any preventative measures and will likely die from the disease or complications associated with a compromised immune system.
After visiting the primary school, we had a delicious lunch prepared by our pseudo-mom, Mutesi, and then went to the local secondary school to watch a music competition. As distinguished visitors we were escorted to the front to watch the performances as students sang, danced and acted out skits about HIV, family life and social issues. I couldn’t understand everything, but I definitely could pick up on some of the story line. After a couple of the performances they invited us to share a meal with the teachers/administers…I’ll remind you we had just eaten a huge meal at home so of course we weren’t hungry at all! However, it would be rude to decline so in line we went…buffet style. I asked for just a little bit of rice and no matooke and some cabbage…a huge pile of rice and cabbage later I looked at my plate in desperation thinking I am never going to be able to finish all of this (which also was rude, in my opinion). So I grabbed a sprite and looked for the silverware…oh wait…they eat with their hand! Cool. So I take a seat and do my best to scoop up rice with my fingers and shovel (best word to describe) it into my mouth without making a mess…I’m sure you can picture it. Well…a few bites in and one of our hosts comes in with a big thing of matooke (plantain like…not much flavor). He noticed we missed out on it in the buffet and wanted to make sure we had some. We all smiled and laughed and graciously took a helping. At least, it’s sticky and helped me pick up all the rice and cabbage. After finishing the last sip of my Sprite I literally though I was going to lose it…a couple burps later and I was okay…but definitely was thankful for the digestive walk back home….oh Uganda.