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Our christmas, Real Life Children's Initiative 1/3

Malin's fantastic friends (to the pygmies in Kabale) 1020 USD, Daniel from Israel 50 USD, Marie Nordquist-Kastling 51 USD; Jamilla Nordquist 10 USD

”Real Life Children's Initiative” slum tour

I ask the staff in our lovely hostel Fat Cat here in Kampala, for help finding an orphanage. They are very helpful and provide me with a flyer of a ”Slum tour”. I don’t think this is our thing. Costing 25 dollars to see people in the dirt, which we do most days in this trip. The receptionist make a call and says a contact from the “Slum tour”-company can do it for free and that they will pick us up in an hour. Great, finally something happening on this trip again. We have gotten to know some people in the hostel so the midwife Luise, a girl from Germany comes along. We meet the guide who gives the impression of talking to total rookies…I am almost offended by this tourist guide way.

​They really take their time showing us the ”slum” we walk slowly and they give us a lot of pedagogical info. I am not the person to go around talking like some sunday promenade when our mission is on (on the other hand, Christian who loves learning and observing, is taking notes and asking questions all the time through the - he also admits - a bit too long tour). I want to help these kids in the orphanage, now.

The school

​So finally we come to the place. This is the smallest, cramped place. In the backstreet of the worst plots.

​The place is in an area in the prostitute district, next to the bars. Its one of the plots in the lowest of grounds, the place gets flooded every year. Here we enter the narrow street. The orphanage is maybe 30 sqm. 3 rooms all entered from the street. Each entrance door has a threshold, over 60 cm high above the street, then a step down about 80 cm on the other side. This is an orphanage, even we grown ups have a bit of a trouble entering. But this is of course to protect the home from the floods. The rooms are small, dark, high in ceiling, maybe 4m. We enter one. It is difficult to put into our heads how bad this is. The 29 kids are all outside but it is difficult to imagine they all stay in these three spaces. We can hardly enter in between the beds, it is so little space. They have 10 iron beds, all of them double bunk beds. They sleep nearly three kids in every bed…when thinking back of this, this is more the kind of barn where you would guess they keep the pigs in. It is difficult to understand what we can do here. There is so little space, the three rooms and the kitchen is a rusty shed with only three walls. Only thing telling this is a kitchen is the fireplace in the dirt, the chickens and a stack of pots.

We have a five minute discussion about what to help with. Some bowls and soap for washing hands, schoolbooks and pencils(not too many, there is simply no room to keep it.) We also decide we can help them with four new beds, which will transform the bunk beds into triples, where possible. This so at least the oldest, biggest kids can sleep in their own bed.

After this we have lunch with our guides who I now finally do think a good job with their organization, but maybe they need to work on there ”slum tour”-presentation. We go back with our motorbike taxis and decide to arrange a christmas party, after all it is the 24th, our christmas eve in Sweden. The choice in the supermarket falls on making Glögg (almost similar to Glühwein). We get sweet red wine, spices, oranges and exotic snacks. We are happy. This is a beautiful way to celebrate a holiday of love. We do some good and we improvise in our swedish traditions, but also openly interacting with some other nationalities christmas celebrations. So we get the glögg heated up. We get a plastic christmas tree to dance around. Christian is the music man and gets the tunes flowing from the guitar, accompanying us dancing. We sing ” Nu är det jul igen”, ”Räven raskar över isen” and finish off with doing the rocket. It’s about 10 of us in total and we all dance, laugh and sing. Moods are great and we share and have a warm celebration late into the tropic night. It is a good christmas night. Thank you Jesus ;) !

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