Yay - official Kids First business has begun! Today we went into town to catch up with Joshua. This means walking from our house to the closest taxi/matatu stand (past our rolex guy, yuss!), figuring out which taxi you want to get on (where is it going, to town? ok by which route?). Once in the taxi you can just sit back and enjoy the ride to town, stopping every few hundred meters to pick and and drop off people. Sometimes you'll cruise slow by the side roads while the "conductor" yells out to passers by to entice them to catch a ride.
What I love most about these taxis are the sometimes meaningful, sometimes ridiculous, always awesome sayings that most have on the back window. Check it out:
Kampala city was also pretty different from when we were last there. The big roads look bigger without potholes. The raised garden beds have flowers in them. The wide pathways are wider now without hawkers selling their nicknacks on the pavement. Joshua told us that the new Kampala City Council Authority, headed by a woman (a big deal) has made these changes. They are cleaning up the city to make it more modern. It sure has worked. But it makes you think, where did all those hawkers and street kids end up? It's not like living on the street is an ambition for many. If you're on the street because you have nowhere to go, then you get kicked out, where do you go?
It was another taxi from town to Bunga, where we met with the Kids First leaders: Gertrude supports our mums. Aggie manages crafts. Stella deals with the schools. Mary is in charge of records. Juliet has been there from the beginning and seems to have a hand in everything! We talked with these awesome women till the sun started to go down. There was so much to share, and I wrote down as much as I could because this stuff is seriously moving:
Aggie, talking about how craft making has helped changed lives: we are working hand in hand, co-operative, with a sense of belonging. There is now hope. Working with crafts is the one thing that makes all other things possible -> craft has opened a world to women with no education, no income, few skills. It has taught women not just to make crafts, but budgeting, team building, forward planning, etc. The biggest need? A room to house crafts and where women can meet to make them. Our women still keen outside in a dirt "courtyard" subject to the elements.
Gertrude echoed the same: now we have money to establish our lives. Thank you for loving us like a family. Kiwis out there, we may never really know what it's like to have nothing, there is always some back up, some benefit, something. But if these women don't work, they don't eat. Neither do their kids, who also don't get treatment for malaria or other illnesses. This can really be life or death.
Juliet reiterated that craft making and other Kids First ventures have helped to empower communities so that people don't rely on hand outs. She advised that having money helps a woman contribute to their family, which brings more harmony to a home where they were previously disrespected and even abused when seen as a dependent by their husband.
This has been a long blog. It could be much longer if I could actually tell you everything we talked about and how awesome it was. I can't and for your sake I won't try! Well done for reading so far! I'll leave you with this quote from Joshua which about sums things up:
WHAT YOU ARE DOING MAY SEEM LIKE A LITTLE
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!