SuubiOctober 30, 2019 in Uganda ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C
This morning we left the apartments at 8am (quite promptly in fact, as Watoto it seems do not operate quite so much on normal African timing, so we are trying to be good!). We headed straight to Suubi village, one of the main Watoto villages, about an hour out of Watoto (though probably only a few miles). Suubi is on a hill in a most stunning location with unbelievable views and surroundings. We had a tour round some of the classrooms, the on site goat farm (providing milk for the babies in Baby Watoto, as it is more nutritious and more easily digested), the church (where all 1400 or so children and young people worship every Sunday, and lead services with their music and dance skills). We met the pastor and spent some time chatting in the beautiful sunshine.
The highlight for us all, especially the boys, was Baby Watoto, an amazing house, large enough to house 80 babies from pre-terms to around 2-3 years. It is also in a stunning location with amazing garden and facilities, including 2 little swimming pools for the children to play in, which is quite unusual as in Africa, most people are afraid of water and unable to swim, but they have recognised that for these young children, the water brings them great joy and they say they are trying to remove the negative memories the babies have usually arrived with, and replace them with positive experiences.
Most of the babies come to them via the police or the hospitals, mainly because they have been abandoned at birth or worse. The unit has been able to house babies from as early as 28 weeks and often when doctors have thought there is no chance of survival. They had several sets of twins and have also had triplets and quads before! The stories are very moving. When the children reach 2 or 3 years, some are taken back into their biological families, if this is possible and many are taken to the main Watoto village, where they will become part of a family of 8 children and a Mama. There they will generally stay until they finish school, which can be anything from about 18 to 24, as in the Ugandan education system they repeat years until they can pass the year, so it is not unusual to be a year or 2 behind. Today we met Julie who told us her story and she is 17 but is in a class with some 15 and 16 year olds and others older than her. She would like to become a doctor one day, so she had a good chat with Zach!
We had lunch with one of the families, a typical Ugandan meal of matoke, rice, chicken, cow peas and a delicious ground nut sauce, which Julie had been given a day off school to help prepare for us! It was here that we met Denis, a boy we started sponsoring just before Nathaniel was born, when a Watoto choir visited the island. He actually lives in another Watoto village in Gulu, several hours North, but they kindly arranged for him to come down for a couple of days. We have been (unsurprisingly) useless at writing to him over the years, but it was great to actually meet him, and introduce him to cricket, which we played with the children from the family we’d eaten with, and were then joined by lots of local children, as they all live in houses nearby. Nathaniel managed to hit the cricket ball inside a couple of the front doors, which was quite impressive as they’re quite well spaced out as well as onto a roof ! They don’t normally play cricket but picked it up incredibly quickly with their natural athletic prowess and were particularly impressive at pace bowling too!
It was a relatively quick journey back to the apartments for a bit more garden cricket and a sit on the verandah, before going to enjoy David the chef’s delicious dinner.Read more