The flight from Dubai to Entebbe is about 6 hours. Our flight was delayed in Dubai for 6 hours, so we took off when we were supposed to leave. SIGH! But during this time we had the opportunity to meet some folks who will play a great part in the days to come!
Fortunately we were able to use the phone of one of the Emirates folks to let Joshua know we were running late. However, he and our bunch of awesome (and patient!) mums and kids were still kept waiting at Entebbe airport for some time.
We arrived off the plane and unfortunately had a less than pleasant welcome...it seems to be changing each time we come to Uganda. Sunny got thoroughly scanned and patted down while I got to waltz straight through (seriously, I don't get this, I could've been carrying anything! But it soon became the norm)
Coming through the double doors to the outside/arrivals/greeting area into the bright light, suddenly there was cheering, screaming, clapping, shouting and people waving hands! NO WAY! I honestly could not believe how many people were there to welcome us. Josh had hired two vans to make the trip, and they were crammed full of our mums and kids! We were given the most beautiful flowers from Jane and Martin (two of the sponsored kids) and were smothered in hugs and slowly walked back to the vans.
Now began the trek to our Ugandan home, about 2 hours! Its 52km, and Google says it'll take 52min without traffic. Clearly Google has never heard of Ugandan traffic! But this gave us a great opportunity to chat and spend time with people we love so much, but hadn't seen for 4 years. I sat by Gloria (you may remember her from a recent Facebook post?) who is in her second to last year of high school and wants to be a lawyer. Man it's cool to be around kids with goals and aspirations! Man I missed her so much.
Late, when it was dark, we found Lara at Jurezi, our local "4 Square" type supermarket. We were to stay at her house with her mum and family, but she said it would be too hard to explain where that was. So she piled in too and off down a dirt road we went, past rolex stalls and the odd goat. "Now get ready to turn right. The road is just there but it doesn't look like a road"! Yep I really couldn't believe it when I first saw it, but after 3 weeks it seems like the easiest place in the world to find.
So we were home! Amongst our adopted Ugandan family with whom we stayed in 2010. What a great welcome, and how humbling to yet again be given our own room, meaning our sister Alice has to find another spot in the house to sleep. She wouldn't have it any other way though.
And so we filled our bellies with some mean homemade Ugandan kai, and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.............
Allow me introduce to you Wamala Kenneth, a 14 year old boy, who is part of our sports program. In the photo above he his happily holding a certificate he has just received as the best player in the Mabike Football Tournament, one of the local tournaments our teams have had the opportunity to compete in, thanks to your support.
For us who know what Kenneth was gone through, seeing his achievements we have been so encouraged and appreciate more the positive change this program is bringing to kids. To give you all a picture: Kenneth lost his father in March this year. His father had two families, and when he passed on the other family took all the little the family owned, leaving Kenneth and the mother with nothing. Because of that Kenneth’s mother turned to alcohol and now cannot do anything to look after Kenneth.
Thanks to God that when Kenneth lost his father he was part of the Kids First sports program and as soon as we got to know about his situation we were able to comfort him and be around him so that he didn't feel alone. We also give him more opportunity to participate in football, something that is really helping him heal. Our coach Lameck, who is amazing in the way he interacts and coaches these boys, has also been there for him and he his very proud of him.
Kenneth is happier and he has great hope of making it in life. He plays number seven and is a great team player.
For all our great sponsors who might not have heard the news: the Kids First soccer team has won a "world cup" of restoring hope to disadvantaged kids like Kenneth, who would have been on streets now or abusing drugs. We believe through your support we shall be able to win more trophies, spreading the love of Christ through sports, develop talents of neglected kids, reduce drug abuse in kids and also reduce to the spread of HIV/AIDS through giving an alternative way of spending leisure time.
Thanks a lot for supporting us. May God bless you for changing lives.
Here at Kids First we all have something to say, so this blog will be updated by members of our team as our work progresses to keep all of you in the loop!