Sunday morning, final day in Uganda, a day filled with both excitment to see my children (and never having to use a squat toilet again) and sadness at leaving this remarkable place.
Uganda is a country of such beauty and promise. We have never once felt unsafe or threatened here, just warmly welcomed and though we are sad to leave, the Canadians have much to be proud of: a fully functioning library, the only one in any school in this town, with a full time librarian and a full time English teacher; a renovated, clean and bright computer room (though there are only 2 functioning computers so far), a music room that is unique for any highschool in the area.
Perhaps most of all, we are proud to have helped 9 year Ishamail, the boy we found selling bananas to help support his family and pay his school fees. He came for a visit yesterday with his mother and two younger siblings. The whole family will be moving to the Kalule's family compound, given a place to live and the children will be enrolled in school. Ishamil dreams of becoming a doctor and now, perhaps his dream will come true given the family will be leaving that awful Kampala slum.
We took Ishamail to Cambridge Secondary School for a tour and he immediately fell in love with the drum kit in the music room.There was such unbridled joy on that boy's face when we placed the sticks in his hands.
Last night, we had a huge gathering of friends and family, ate a roasted turkey. We brought the cranberries from Canada, Ev did the stuffing, Mitch made the gravy and carved the turkey then the rest of us chowed down.
This past month has been without question, the most extraordinary time of my life and it all started when, in 2012, I visited Cambridge Secondary School and the kids from the Suubi group performed for me. The bond was set and I hope it will never be broken.
Our filmmakers, Paul Campsall of MetaMedia, Waterloo and Paul Francescutti, returned to Canada last weekend and have already started piecing together the Dream for Uganda film, which will be the featured film at the Nov. 2015 Grand River Film Festival. We will also be bringing a group of performers from Suubi to Waterloo Region so stayed tuned.