Sunday, December 04, 2011

Silas in a skirt!

One of Silas’ friends here in Kampala is Christine - she lives next door, and since completing her O-levels 2 weeks ago, has been around a lot more. She is a lot of fun, and has taken the time to play with Silas which is great for us. Although Silas is doing well and doesn’t seem to get too bored with just his dad and mum around(!), he really does miss the friends he made at New Hope. Afternoons can sometimes seem long as he waits for Joel and Anya to get back from - we are very thankful for Christine ...and any grass skirts that Silas chooses to wear!

Sunday lunchtime is a good time to get together....and people come when there is food on offer - especially students!! For those of us further on in life - do you remember the days craving a home made dinner, which, when it came (as a change from the student staple of beans on toast) was like a taste of heaven? We are hoping to invite young people who have been through New Hope and are now in Kampala studying at university, doing A-levels, or taking vocational courses, to come for a meal every now and again.

A chance to reconnect with their ‘brothers and sisters’ from New Hope, for us to catch up with them, and of course to eat!

One thing that can be lacking for an orphan is the ongoing interest that key adults take in you as you progress through life. Some of the children we live and work with become very self dependent because they are so used to having to make decisions alone, and are not used to having people take a long term interest in how they are doing. This is something that we feel we can offer as ‘parents’ in their lives. It is low key but helps them feel valued and known.

another saturday morning

Our numbers have hugely reduced now that the Investment Year students have finished their final placements and gone back to New Hope.. this saturday even Steve was away - he was also at New Hope to run the 'hand-over'. When one IY finishes those students hand over to the next group - it's a chance to tell stories from the year, eat a meal together, and pass on information to the parents / guardians of the incoming students.
The house here was very quiet anyway...and Joel, Anya and Silas were on cooking the saturday morning pancakes. They are cooking with charcoal on a sigiri as it has become something of a challenge to find gas in Uganda lately. It is one of the items that has doubled in price in the last 8months. Anyway - cooking outside is a lot more exciting!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Anyone who has been to Uganda will know that matooke (big green bananas that you have to cook) is one of the favourite dishes. There is a particular way to peel, prepare and cook it, and it is generally the ladies job to do the preparing. I have been allowed to help in the cooking process before, but there is normally some level of surprise that a mzungu (white man/lady) can manage this particular task. It is a bit of a treat so we don't generally have it here with the IYs...and its also a bit of a fiddle to prepare! Cathie was my teacher/instructor on this occasion.

Steve in a dress......

Last week Steve went to a Ugandan 'introduction' ...the first part of the wedding ceremony in traditional weddings. The dress he is wearing is called a kanzu. It is worn over trousers and with a jacket (just a little warm in this climate it has to be said!). The young man he is with is Silver - one of the IYs. Quite a sight I am sure you will agree!

Another school trip!

Silas has been doing a topic about cars in school (his suggestion!), so a trip to the mechanics was in order! We have (sadly), got to know this particular garage quite well since our move to Kampala, as our car has had to have some substantial work done on it. Silas had a great time though .....with lots of pointing at crucial car parts .....Steve on the other hand had a slightly more frustrating visit... : our car has been making a strange squeaking sound since its last 'fixing' and Steve was going to check it out. He took it in to have a test drive so they could listen and make a diagnosis. Trouble was, there was no sound at all from the car ..(just steve trying to re-create the high itched 'eeeeessskkkkk' sound himself). The car behaved perfectly until it got to within sniffing distance of our house here and then the squeaking returned!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Morning

A pretty normal saturday here in the IY household. We generally do cleaning and jobs in the morning - today we sanded down benches than needed a coat of varnish - heavy work..but there were plenty of us.

Juliet is catching up on here washing - all by hand so fairly time consuming,....

and the two girls Zam Zam and Fiona had been invited out to an end of term party at a school where they have previously worked on their they were all dolled up and ready to party - at 9.30 in the morning which was quite a challenge for both of them!
Silas was caught developing a new lego creation - also a very important job.

The teenagers we live with do work hard, sometimes needing gentle -or less subtle(!) - reminders to get going, but mostly they are willing and very helpful. All of them do their own clothes washing, we have rotas for washing up etc, and at the weekend they also cook and do some general household cleaning.

We have grown to know them more closely with living all in the same space, and they have made it fairly easy to share 'our space' ...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Rainbow Day

Today at Joel and Anyas School it was 'Rainbow Day' in the primary section- they celebrate the great diversity of cultures represented within the school ..over 60. Children dress up in the colours of their nations flag, and there are various activities plus food tasting related to the different continents. Thanks to a masterful outfit made by her mum Anya got to be in the parade! Kathryn got involved in painting Henna on childrens' palms in the Asia section.

The school that Anya and Joel go to is an international school teaching the British curriculum, but most of the children are from East Africa - Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Then there are many others from the other African nations, China, Russia, Canada, Germany, Wales etc etc... We are so grateful for the chance to send Joel and Anya to this school. They have made friends and so far have fitted in well.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Our Friend Judith.

We have a good friend here in Kampala - Judith - who has lived here in Uganda for over 30 years. She is a bit like an adopted granny for us out here. Well - she has recently bought and begun building on land near to Lake Victoria in Entebbe. We all went out to celebrate the work so far (feeble excuse for a bit of a picnic!). We ate under the little cook shelter and let off some chinese lanterns once it got dark. Anya even wrote a little poem to mark the occasion. There is still a long way to go as you can see - so time for plenty more celebratory picnics!!

On Saturday it was the boys on cooking lunch you can see they really took the task to heart and made the most of their role serving us beautifully!! These two are James and Silver ..both are doing placements on construction sites. Where they got the ties from is anyones guess - certainly not Steves wardrobe! (the white stuff is the staple posho that we all eat a few times a week .... its kind of like stiff semolina!)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

full house

One great advantage of having a house full with teenagers is that there are plenty of big 'brothers and sisters' for Joel, Anya and Silas. The house we are in is a typical city house here - not much outside space and walls surrounding what space there is. The children - of all ages - make full use of any available space, but it has been great for our three to have others around who are more able to play, apart from just their ageing parents! We are very grateful for these young people and the way they accept our own children.....


One of Silas' first reading books is called 'The Pancake'....of course providing the perfect excuse to cook pancakes for morning snack. He certainly takes after Steve in his culinary expertise ... we are now looking forward to the day when he can create tasty breakfast dishes without any supervision by the parents! He is still enjoying being the only Brown child at home during the day. He is gradually learning to read, which I still find a bit miraculous!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

..Uganda v Kenya

Saturday 8th October had a day all of us in Uganda had been looking for to in nervous anticipation. The reason? The last match of the qualifying for the 2012 African Nations, with Uganda needing a win (a draw could do? if Angola didn't win!). Who were they playing...Kenya! A local derby with so much at stake, i love football.
Uganda have not been to an African nations for 30 years, so surely this was the time?
Judith, Joel and me went, (like being back in South africa). We dressed and set off, fairly early as we knew it would be pretty busy, kick off was at 5pm so we left at we got closer to the ground, there were cars parked everywhere so following the crowd we turned up a dirt road and deposited the car and went the rest of the way on foot.
The colour and noise was stunning, i don't know if i have ever been anywhere noisier, we joined the never ending queue to get and after not moving for seemingly hours, we gave up and wandered round to another entrance where we got easily. It was 2:45pm so we thought we go up and find a seat and then maybe get a drink we found the section of the stadium we were in, it was totally full except for the back two rows, (2 hours before kick off) which we quickly grabbed and settled down to a long wait and the pre match entertainment! As we waited for kick off, people kept coming in, though we were already full. In the end it was 2 to a seat, all the stairwells and passageways were full, so we were stuck in our seat until the end.
The game was fantastic, with Uganda piling on pressure for most of it, desperately searching for the 1 goal they would the 2nd half progressed, everyone knew in the stadium that Angola had won and so Uganda needed a goal, and so for the last 20 mins Uganda threw everything at the Kenya goal, but the ball would just not enter the the final whistle the Ugandan players sank to the turf while the kenyan players celebrated stopping their neighbours getting to the finals....Disappointing but what a day, great fun and everyone should experience watching a football match in Africa, nothing like it....and of course there is always next time!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Time to play and relax is welcomed. There isnt that much space outside the house we are in, and no parks really to go to in the city, but at least there is room to kick a ball, read stories, and hang out with friends. We are liking the rented house we are in a lot, and it suits the needs we have - with us and the IY students. It isnt the long term plan but we reckon we will be here for at least a year. Joel is here playing out at the front of the house - kicking against the wall and the gate ...its all pretty enclosed as you can see, not much grass, but enough space nevertheless.