Saturday, July 30, 2011

Our little Angel at Lake Bunyonyi

Whilst half our group treks to see the Gorillas the other half stay back at our campsite free to take advantage of the pristine lake and perfectly manicured gardens. Brent and I opt to visit the local orphanage with a Ugandan man named Duncan. Duncan was sponsored by an English couple when he was a child and as a result was able to attend school and get an education. As an adult wishing to somehow repay his sponsor family Duncan used his education to set up an organisation called 'Little Angels'. It is a place for needy children and orphans to get an education, find a guardian to house and feed them or if they are lucky receive a sponsor parent.

The school we visit is little more than 3 small wooden rooms with a few rows of wooden benches and a blackboard. There appears to be no other resources including books and play equipment. After spending a short while with the children in the classrooms we move outside to help feed the children their porridge lunch. Unfortunately there is not enough t go round so several children go hungry that day. After lunch the children gather round to sing to us. One of the songs they sing is called 'Make a melody in my heart' and it is so catchy we find ourselves singing it for days afterward. The children sing like angels and move with rhythm and soul. Their voices bring me to tears.

After some playtime Duncan asks us if we would like to donate some money or sponsor a child. Brent and I hadn't discussed this so I am pleasantly surprised when he responds "yes, we would like to sponsor a girl". I am absolutely beaming at the thought of being able to make the kind of difference Duncan's sponsor family made but then he asks us to choose a child. Brent and I agree that this is too difficult and ask Duncan to choose a child who really needs sponsoring immediately. We can hardly contain our excitement when he brings in 6 year old Samansa. She is shy with gorgeous dark eyes and braided hair. I realise later that during the singing I had mainly photographed Samansa because of her beautiful voice and passion in her eyes. Little did I know then that I would be sponsoring her.

It was wonderful to be able to spend some time with Samansa and take photographs with her. Although she is not an orphan her family suffer from extreme poverty and by sponsoring her we are ensuring she receives an education, food, clothing and HIV testing. Brent is already planning her Birthday gift of Hawthorn paraphernalia, although I think books or a doll would be more fitting. As her sponsor parents we can have as many updates on her as we like through Duncan via email and receive photographs every 3 months. AS we part, I wave goodbye to Samansa sincerely hoping that we ca one day return to Uganda to meet with her again.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Kristen,it is nice to hear that you have enjoyed your time in Uganda and on the lake Bunyonyi. However I am wondering if you have thoroughly checked the organisation you kindly decided to donate to? I am living at Bunyonyi and have heard some worrying reports about Little Angels nursery. I do wonder why some children had to go hungry when Duncan had just bought a brand new car and he is now building is second house.
    Less than 200 metres from Little Angels is a fully equipped brick and cement nursery school where children require no sponsorship.Unfortunately tourists cannot be taken to this school as the teachers value the time children spend in the classroom learning and do not think that singing and dancing for visitors and tourists is educational.
    I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it is important to know that your money has been spent as you intended. If you decide to continue with your sponsorship of Samansa i recommend that you send to a registered school account. You should also inform the district education officer of your donation so that they can check for accountability. Good luck and enjoy the rest of your travels