Cosy after-dinner chat leads to a visit to Uganda
One evening Sarah and Merv Colton from Straffan were having a cosy after-dinner chat with their good friends Claire and Robin Lyons and were intrigued to hear about a trip they were planning to visit their sponsored children in Uganda. So intrfigued were they that they asked could they tag along.
Some weeks later the intrepid foursome arrived at Entebbe airport, just outside Uganda’s capital Kampala, and soon realised that they were about to experience a facet of Africa that they had never before encountered.
“We were quite shocked at how busy and crowded the city was” says Mervyn. “The streets were absolutely swarming with people and it was all very chaotic”. After a couple of days in Kampala they headed off into the countryside for the main purpose of their visit – to meet the sponsored children and their community.
Mervyn says that they were totally shocked at how badly run down everything was. “Roads and houses seemed as if they hadn’t been repaired for years. Villages we passed were dreadfully dishevelled. This was definitely a side of Africa not normally seen by tourists.”
They had been told before leaving not to buy gifts for the sponsored children but that communal gifts were acceptable so they had loaded the jeep with seeds, flour, cooking oil and kerosene. When they finally got to meet the children, Christine (7) and John (11) there was much laughter and a few tears also.
Mervyn and Sarah found it hard to comprehend how the people remained so cheerful considering the hardships they had to contend with.
“We went in to some of the homesteads and I was really stunned by how few possessions these people have. They own next to nothing and yet they welcomed us with hospitality that was second to none”.
On seeing where the villagers get their water for drinking, cooking and bathing they decided that between them and in conjunction with Plan Ireland, they would sponsor a project to install a clean water supply.
Mervyn and Sarah also decided that they too would sponsor a child and since their return they have begun to sponsor an eleven year old girl called Joan.