|Today was quite a busy day. We got to sleep in a bit but it was jam packed once we got going.
Our day started out going to a women's prison. I had no idea what to expect going into this visit but my head was spinning by the time we left. Yes, there are women there that have committed crimes, but there are also women who basically had no one to defend them when they were accused of a crime. Some are educated, some don't know how to write their names. One of the saddest parts of the prison is the children. Children have to live in prison with their mothers until either their mother is freed or when they turn 18 - whichever comes first, and sadly most of the children we met today were only a few years old or younger. There is no education for these kids, few clothes or supplies and they have to live on whatever food is provided for their mother's by the prison. We brought along some items like soap, baby clothes, chap stick (which was a huge hit!) and some toys for the kids but there is so much more they need. It was amazing to meet these women, hear their stories and help were we could but it was a very emotional visit.
After leaving the prison we headed to the village to meet the women crafters that make all the paper bead necklaces and the other items we all love to buy. Before we could even pull into the main part of the village, children were coming out of everywhere to chase the bus down the road. We could hardly make it off the bus before being snatched up by whichever kids have adopted you as their favorite. They love to be hugged and held, and even just holding their hands is so important - they will fight over your hand holding time!
After a welcome greeting of dancing and African drums we were let loose on the crafters and did some damage to our wallets. Once we bought our share of goods we spent some more time playing and getting some quality time in with the kids. I got my hair styled by a couple of the girls. I think at one point they were getting frustrated with it because all I could hear was "muzungu" over and over again combined with some sighing. Oh that muzungu hair! It seems to be getting hotter each day so I guess we should feel lucky to have had a couple cool days to ease us in! We were all so sweaty and covered in red dirt by the time we left the village, but I guess that is expected when you are playing and being a human set of monkey bars.
But we weren't done yet! On to Jinja Town where we continued the shopping spree with carvings, paintings, clothes and anything else you can imagine. The amazing part is even though I got gifts for pretty much everyone I needed to, plus whatever I wanted I have only spent about $80 since I arrived.
Eventually we made our way back to the hotel to clean up, have dinner and settle in for the night. I was thinking earlier how I am very much in the middle of this group. Everyone falls into 2 categories - teens/college-age or adults with teen-age or older children. Then there is me. It's kind of fun though. The adults all seem to come to me when they want to get anything from the younger group and vice-versa. Does that make me a medium??
Another amazing day in Uganda comes to a close!
Once again, sorry for the delay and multiple postings at once! Between having only a few laptops to share between 23 people, random power outages and spotty internet, I posted as much as I could, when I could! I will post again when it's possible.