|While I dreamed of Connect Africa for so many years before, I never would have predicted that I would be writing you today with so much great news. This is my first April in Boston since 2004. I am missing the warmth of the equator, and the daily African life, but I am happy to be here reporting on the successes Connect Africa is enjoying because of all of your support. |
Most important news, Connect Africa's Children's Education Fund "Wings of Hope" will soon be self sustaing.
Connect Africa built an office and rental apartments two years ago, and is now in the process of building three more apartments on the property purchased in 2006. The rental income generated from these apartments is earmarked for: tuition, school supplies, uniforms/shoes, healthcare, and lunch for each child. Rental income from these apartments will provide funds for upwards of 20 children yearly.
A Day in the Life of Connect Africa|
I left having not met the mother of a new child we are sponsoring, Amiti Bety. Bety is 13 years old. Her home is 7-hours from the Connect Africa office. Charles, our director, met Bety last year, she was a house girl. He immediately questioned the future of this child, only to find that Bety had left school at the age of 9, and had been in some terrible homes since. Needless to say, we really wanted to help. However, we needed to meet the mother as well as find the right school for her since she doesn't speak the tribal language and hasn't been in school for many years.
The first venture was for Charles and Bety to travel the 7-hours to her home. They arrived at the bus at 7am; it finally filled and left Kampala at 9am, only to hit a 3-hour traffic jam. During this time, the bus made a stop. Charles got out of the bus and returned to find the bus gone, with Bety in it. It is truly unclear to me how he managed to get information about the bus; it is not like Uganda has a telephone directory. He got to the bus and there was Bety crying, crying, crying.
At 6pm, they reached Bety's home. Once there, Charles had the ordeal of explaining that he was not Bety's husband. Unfortunately, they could spend little time with the family because they had to catch a bus back. They reached Kampala at 1:15am, delivering Bety home.
We wanted to meet Bety's mom, have her visit Connect Africa and Bety's school. Charles gave the mom money for transportation to Kampala. She was scheduled to visit mid-February, things happened, and she did not arrive. Charles and Bangi (one of our older students) waited for many hours at different bus stations, with many phone calls trying to assertain what was happening. I neglected to say they speak different languages and Bety's mother does not own a phone, making communication very difficult.
In fact she did arrive Saturday March 28 for visiting day. While waiting, Charles parked the car. Upon returning, the car had a boot on it for unpaid tickets--2-hours later the rental dealer took care of the problem.
She arrived having brought Charles a hen, still thinking he was Bety's husband. Finally off to school, when they arrived Bety was jumping for joy. After eating and chatting, it was time to go. Apparently, the mom told Bety she did not have enough money to get back home. Bety had 20,000 shillings tucked in her bag, which she was going to give her mother; when Charles explained that we would take care of it. Bety was very relieved and comfortable.
The saga continues with getting stuck in traffic jams, getting the mom to my house, getting her food, making her comfortable, and getting the interpreter home. Very late that evening, Charles went to the house of the woman with whom Bety will stay during school holidays. We had chosen for Bety to only go home for Christmas, so that she could live with a family that would work with her in her studies. A friend found a woman named Deborah. When the four of us were to meet, a woman walked over to the table elated to say hello to Charles... as life turns out, Deborah was a dear friend of Charles in primary school.
As I write this, Bety is at Deborah's house, has finished her first term in grade 3 with remarkably good grades for her lack of education. Connect Africa and Bety owe a tremendous thanks to Rachel from Massachusetts and her many family/friends whose donations make this possible.
We hope that the future brings you to Uganda! We think of you often, and thank you everyday as we move around the villages and feel the difference Connect Africa is making.
Warmly, Lynn and Charles