Molly in Africa

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Week one of my time with the 'rents

Sorry this is so after-the-fact, but I still owe you the last two weeks of my Ugandan adventure. We packed a lot into a very short time, so I'm going to separate this into two entries.

Since my mum's entry in the blog the day after they arrived in Kampala, so much has happened! On that Sunday, we drove to Mbale with Fr. Simon Peter, stopping at the Nile River along the way to see the Bujagali Falls.

On Monday, my parents came to CRO (Child Restoration Outreach) so that they could see where I had worked for six weeks while I was here. Eric, one of the social workers there, and I took my parents and Fr. Simon Peter on the regular morning street walk which was a pretty powerful experience for them. They got to see where we find most kids, hear about what the children do to find food and/or money for food. My parents went back to the hotel to rest at that point and I was able to spend the rest of the day with the children which was wonderful for me since I had missed them all so much after having been gone for only two weeks! That night, my parents, Fr. Simon Peter and I went to Esther's house- the place I called home in Mbale. It was a great night filled with tasty food (Esther is a great cook and made all of my favorites!), good company (Esther, her two daughters, the neighbors and a few of Esther's friends all came) and singing!

The next day was the Christmas party at CRO and my friend Matt Maroon (from UD) joined us that day. My parents were the honored guests at the event and to be honest, it was a bit long and boring. The kids did a great job with their songs, dances and dramas, but there were a lot of speeches (which is true of most formal Ugandan celebrations) which were a bit tedious. Saying goodbye to that community was really hard for me. I had made such strong connections with people there that it was hard to imagine going another two years without being able to see them. (I say two years because at this point, I am hoping to go back to Uganda after I graduate.)

We left Mbale the next day and traveled west to Mbarara. On our way, we visited the source of the Nile (which Matt was REALLY excited about), stopped in Kampala to have lunch with my assistant academic director and stopped at the equator! In Kampala, Fr. Simon Peter left us and Muna, the driver from my study abroad program, picked us up in his mini-bus/van which allowed each of us more room. The following day (we're on 21 Dec for those of you keeping track), we entered Rwanda and went out for dinner that night to celebrate Matt's birthday! :)

The next day, we visited the genocide memorial museum in Kigali (the capital of Rwanda where we were staying) and we went to visit a genocide site which was a church just outside of Kigali. My study abroad group had visited both places during out visit to Rwanda three months earlier. The museum was the same, but it was really interesting when we went to visit the church. When I had been there three months ago with SIT, there were bones and debris and lots of little things in between the pews, all over the cement floor of the church. When I got there with my parents and company, it had been swept and cleaned. The bones were separated into piles at the front of the church, the material goods (jerry (sp?) cans, rosaries, thermos bottles, shoes, etc) that were around had been organized in a separate building nearby and there was a whole different feel to the place. It was a really interesting contrast and in many ways I was disappointed that my parents couldn't have the same experience that I had.

We left Rwanda the next day and the weather was perfect- clear and sunny- which meant we got to appreciate Rwanda's beauty as we exited the country. We ended that day at a hotel in Masaka just about twenty minutes away from the village where Fr. Simon Peter's mother lives. I'm going to stop this entry there, but I will give the next week's events in another blog entry, I promise. :)

Oh, and I tried to put pictures up with this blog entry, but it didn't work. I'll post pictures in a separate entry and maybe that will work. We'll see...


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