Friday, August 20, 2010

Say Cheese Mpigi

Jamie and I headed off to Mpigi for a day, arriving early yesterday, staying the night, and then leaving early this morning. We just wanted a chance to hang out with the kids, sit around with the housemoms, and have some time with everyone. It’s been awhile and we’ve missed them. We also are starting to realize, through the hundreds of questions we get each day about our departure, that that is coming soon as well. So one of the things we did was quickly whip out the camera and do a blitz photography session of everyone just after breakfast.


Here’s a couple of our favourites.  For more of the kids, you can check out the full batch by clicking here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Football Tie

Jamie has been laboring to get a women's football team going for awhile and
it finally came together. A few practices, some trash talk, and some fresh
jerseys later and there was a match set. It would be the teachers versus the
senior girls. As an outsider, and someone who has watched a good portion of
Jamie's football career from the sidelines, it was awesome to watch a team
of women who have never, or very rarely played the sport become something
over the course of a few short weeks. Most of the practices consisted of
balls flying all over the place and women laying on the ground because they
were laughing too hard, but it started to come together and what errors
there were could eventually be blamed mostly on the undulating, rubble
strewn, heaving and hole-ridden field. And they were having a ton of fun.
When it came time for the game all the regulars were in attendance from
practice. Some bowed out from the pressure, content to watch from the
sidelines and point and laugh. Others came out of nowhere, none of us having
met them before, and came to show their talent. Both teams took to the
field, the ref bringing the whistle to his lips for the match kickoff. With
a shrill blast the game began, and three weeks of practice went down the
toilet as 22 women and girls bee-lined for the ball.
But despite those first few moments, the game was incredibly fun to watch
and the crowd grew as the minutes passed. Students were skrieking and
laughing at seeing their teacher play football. The senior girls were
getting more and more intense as time went by as they realized that their
garaunteed victory wasn't going to be as easy as they thought. A bad pass
sent a bouncing ball over the teachers' goaltender's head (not her fault as
she is 5'3") and as the game wore on it looked liked the students would win.
But a late shot towards the students' net was blocked by a handball which
meant a penalty kick. And this was the most awesome thing to see, because as
the whistle blew and everyone saw the handball, the entire crowd streaked
from the sidelines to stand around the penalty area and watch the kick. And
in that mad rush, you could hear one name repeating itself in the Luganda
chatter... "Jamie." Everyone was expecting Jamie to take the penalty shot,
and this in the last dying minute of the game. No way Jamie could get outta
this one.
She'd later say how terrified she was she would miss it. She couldn't even
listen to me gloat about how awesome it was hours after the match. But no
fear showed in the moment as she booted the ball past a Patrick Roy-clad
goaltender to tie the game at one, crushing the victory hopes of the
students, elating the teachers, becoming the hero of the day for the throngs
of crazy fans and students lining the penalty box in that moment. Overall, a
huge victory for women's football, and a moment I'm pretty confident will
live on in Kibaale infamy for a long time to come.
Or at least in our house.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Iron Removal

We've been battling the water situation here ever since we came. Putting
money, resources, time and training into water source repair has been so
great, and now that we've gotten on top of the problem we can start to focus
on long-term solutions in areas that are working well. Kibaale is our first
starting point... the well was drilled in December 08, and the minerals in
the soil have polluted the once clean water so that it is now filled with
iron and manganese. If you pump a glass full of the water, within 60 minutes
the water will turn from clear to brilliant orange or red. The solution here
is an iron removal plant. We've finished construction on this one and the
local residents who are using it say that the water is so much better, and
useable for cooking and drinking again. This is fantastic. Testing shows
we're removing 95% of the iron content! It's such a battle... first to
ensure that people even have access to safe water, and are not just drawing
it from puddles or polluted stagnant streams, and then to ensure that the
sources that are available are healthy. When the choice is either e-coli or
minerals, you have to provide an alternative.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Our Girl

Sean and I went to visit Syliva (one of the girls we sponsor) at boarding
school for Parent Visitation Day. It was so good to see her and the three
other lovely girls from the Kibaale area. Christine and Gerinah woke up at
5am to start preparing food for this special occasion and it was so
delicious! It's funny because Syliva never looks straight at the camera -
she is a little shy.