Rain, rain and more rain…

Tuesday 22 March 2011

In Kampala at the moment where it is raining, raining and raining. The traffic is totally disrupted and I just spent 2 hours in a taxi to get from one place to another, which should have taken half an hour, but we are in Africa and so it never goes as expected. A drought was predicted until the end of May and that shocked me. Many people are suffering from the drought, food prices are rising and, if the harvest fails, it will be a difficult period for many. But after the message was spread it started raining immediately and with rain we are happy. The plants are growing again and the plantations needed a lot of water to provide us with new bananas, beans, pineapples and potatoes. The water tanks are full again, people are raking their gardens and the cows have fresh grass, very nice.

Oh people, time goes fast, almost time to come to the Netherlands. Again without my girls. The passport issue is still not over and you could almost throw in the towel after all this frustration and waste of energy but we are still patient….

The family, the chickens, the pigs, the dogs and the cats are doing well. I am busy with the plans for the malnourished children project and I think we can start after my visit to the Netherlands. Two local nurses will do a training in the hospital where they already have a department for malnourished children. My friend Kirsty from Scotland is going to write a proposal and hopes to raise enough money. that we can move forward in the next three years. I am very much looking forward to it and I am sure that the project will go well. There are many malnourished children, especially those with HIV who do not have a varied diet, mothers are unskilled and sometimes have no idea how to feed a child.

We have already started the house visits. A 3 month old child weighing 3 kilos, mother (19) cannot breastfeed, father of course is nowhere to be found. Every week we go to weigh the child and to give advice, bring milk, clothes and other materials. After 4 weeks there is clear progress and we can start training so that the mother can take good care of her child. There are also 3 little fawns with huge stuffed bellies, this is because they don’t eat enough and when they eat, they always eat the same. The mother earns 3 euros a month by selling mats and can’t afford any extra medical care. The men (7, 5 and 3 years old) look unhealthy and cough up. It is not easy to help such a family, because you want them to do it with their own (local) means, but at the moment a lot of vitamins, protein and carbohydrates are needed to make them grow. We do all this wonderful on a moped (with Roni our regular driver), between the banana trees, the children screaming “mzungu, mzungu” on the way, the many birds and the beautiful scenery (especially at the end of the afternoon with a setting pink sun) on a mission, how nice that you can and may help others and how great it is to see that there really is a change taking place.

Last november had Spanish friends on the floor who brought a lot of fun and a lot of help. Bicycles that had to be repaired, gutters were built, pig houses were built, nice boiled and a lot of drinking. So nice to have some help in the house. In that period we also had a children’s camp. All the children of the families we help come for a weekend to eat popcorn, play old Dutch games and enjoy being a child for a while. It was very sociable and all the children went home on Sunday satisfied with a self-painted stool. The Spaniards came with a camera from Spanish television. It seems that the programme was broadcasted 2 weeks ago in Spain and I have already had quite a few reactions…. So now I am famous in Spain!

We have celebrated Christmas with us this year, full house… Grandma with her whole family (about 10 men), Jeroen with followers and so we converted the garage into a dining room again and we ate delicious roasted rice and sticky paste. Shouldn’t spoil the fun. Christmas with a lovely sunshine, friends and family around you. Although sometimes I long for such a white, cold winter’s day with a clear blue sky… but then 1 day after that sunshine again.

It is busy and I sometimes want some time for myself. So two other friends thought and that’s how we started yoga. I am (almost) every day on the hill (with a beautiful view) practising the downward dog with a DVD and when I am in Kampala I take a lesson. We hooked up with a teacher who wants to give us private lessons once a month. Lovely, 3 hours of yoga out of the blue and then back into daily life with a lot of energy. I miss dancing, yoga is a good substitute and it makes you aware of your body and mind. Yes, the 30-crisis slowly fades away and I get more peace in my ass.

Everything is going well here. Babirye, Rosah and Betty are three beautiful ladies you can enjoy for hours, Frank is doing well at boarding school and has a great time. Saige goes a bit less and clearly needs professional help. Resty and Betty don’t live with us anymore… long story… we still have contact and Resty is not doing well. We are trying to find a solution to the situation, but it is not that easy to find. Sunday lives in Kampala and does a web design course, it just didn’t work out between us anymore but we still have regular contact. Last week we had a chick drama. We had just received 550 new chicks and within an hour 250 were dead. Probably because of stress and overheating, but I was totally panicked when I saw them die one by one. At the moment we bought 300 new chicks and that means sleepless nights but I will gladly do that, if they will lay a lot of eggs in 4 months time.

The period before I leave is always emotional and chaotic. Lots of sense to see my Dutch friends and family, little sense to run, run, fly and leave my family here. I fly via Cairo but at the moment there are no flights that way. Of course I bring a lot of necklaces with me and come to everyone’s house for a drink and a chat.

See you soon!