Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rain at last in northern Uganda

This year the dry season hit northern Uganda so hard that life became difficult from December 2006 to mid-April 2007. All trees and other plants withered and lost their green colour. The ground became bare. The heat was unbearable, coupled with strong dry winds blowing endlessly, day and night, carrying with it a lot of dust into the houses. We needed a lot of water to maintain cleanliness in offices and family houses. But to make matters worse, water became scarce when most of the water sources dried up. Luckily, we remained with only one water source: the manual borehole. It became our only saviour and the most valuable asset in the village. It provided all the water for cooking, bathing, washing, drinking and cleaning purposes. Not only did it supply water to the SOS population of over 120 people, but also to the community in the neighbourhood although its water yield was insufficient. It would take over 10 minutes to fill a twenty-litre container.

On Friday, 13 April 2007, at about 5.00pm, (unlucky for some, but not us) everybody was extremely happy when the weather changed unexpectedly and it rained heavily up to the following day, which indicated the onset of the rain season. Now life has changed for the better. The vegetation is green everywhere and people are busy preparing their land for planting.

Monday, April 16, 2007

SOS Mother finds a new home

It's not only children who find a new home with SOS Children's Villages. Mary, a former aunt in SOS Children’s Village Entebbe, was transferred to SOS Children's Village Gulu and appointed an SOS mother effective 1st April 2007.

"My name is Mary, a newly appointed mother in SOS Children's Village Gulu. I was an auntie in the SOS Children’s Village Entebbe where I served since March 2003. Before joining SOS, I thought SOS children had unique behaviours and characters which appeared to me as challenging. But to my surprise, I found out that SOS children were like any other children. They were very welcoming, friendly and helpful. I also became kind, patient and helpful to them.

When I was in SOS Children’s Village Entebbe, I had a chance of learning a lot of good things from my fellow co-workers and children as well. I also had a chance to meet many other SOS workers from within and outside Uganda. I went to Nairobi for three-months training where I leant leadership and many other skills. I have gained a lot of confidence. I now speak and do my work with confidence.

When I was promoted to a mother position and transferred to SOS Children’s Village Gulu, it met my interest of becoming a mother. It again appeared to me as another challenge as I was coming to care for different children with different behaviours in a different environment. And when I moved in to Gulu, I was received warmly by the children. They helped me with my luggage up to the house. I found them lovely because they showed me acceptance right from my arrival.

I am now a mother of 9 children: five boys and four girls. We live in two small rooms in a relatively big building that we share with other families. We have limited space but we hope that when the new village is constructed, we shall enjoy being in a good spacious house. I am committed to helping my children to acquire values like working independently and having confidence, which I have not yet seen in them. I want to build my family into a good family by helping the children to acquire life skills and encouraging them to read so hard that they can become achievers in life."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sugarcane, a delicacy to children that needs great concentration

Sugarcane is so liked by young children and youth because of its sweetness. It is sold in almost every corner of Gulu municipality and is a source of income to many small vendors in markets and along the roads.

Once a week, after returning from school, children sit in their dining hall to eat sugarcane. Normally the mother of the week, the one responsible for shopping for foodstuff during the week, buys the sugarcane. Assisted by other mothers, they distribute it, cut in lengths of one foot (about 35 cm), to the children in their respective families.

Each family has a specific place in the dining hall with a table and chairs, where the family members sit at meal times. The children sit around the table and enjoy the sugarcane. The small children, and the big ones as well, quietly chew the sugarcane so almost nothing is left for the bees to feed on.

Amusingly, the concentration observed here is rarely noticed in any other activity, not even when they are having their favourite meal. There is no talking or whispering at that time. Heard are only varied sounds produced as each child sucks out the sugarcane juice. Do not make the mistake of removing a cane from any child, or you may regret it. Sugarcane to children is a real delicacy and a source of joy when children are eating them.