Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Day In The Life

I had so many grand plans with my blog . . . but Uganda has a magical way of making the weeks past quicker than you can say “TIA” (definition: abbreviation of “This Is Africa”, a commonly used phrase mainly used in times of frustration e.g. when policeman ask for a $100 bribe for standing still too long, when only one thing on the menu is available that day but you don’t feel like a boiled egg with a goat kebab).

Before I delight you all with amusing tales of my days here I thought the best way to start is to describe my typical day (although there is certainly no typical type of day here i.e. TIA):

0300 - Wake up to the sounds of dogs fighting, roll over and think of buying a slingshot

0700 - Start the day with vegemite on toast, got to have a reminder of home

0800 - Wander down to Malaika Babies Home and try to avoid the pot holes that resemble craters and the drivers that treat the road as a Formula 1 racetrack

0830 - Detour into the babies home to say good morning to our beautiful babies.  Greetings from the bubs are mixed – some give huge hugs, others give a mouthful of saliva.
  I can’t explain what an amazing start to the day it is when the first thing you see is a gummy smile and a room full of gorgeous, but more importantly, extremely happy and content babies.

How could you not fall in love with this smile!

Cheeky grin

His thinking face

I love that our babies are always so happy

0845 - Dance off between Katie, Mary and I with our respective baby partners.  Disney songs are favourites on the play list and I sometimes wonder if we enjoy it more than the babies as we belt out ‘Circle Of Life’.

Katie, media volunteer and baby juggler

0900 - Retreat to the office which I share with Lucy and Katie, our media volunteer who makes the most amazing videos, showing all our supporters what we get up to here at Child’s i in Kampala.  

0905 - Begin reading emails which can range from ones from volunteers who are coming out in the next few months to enquiries from all over the world with people asking how they can get involved.  My role here is Volunteer Coordinator so I am the contact for all things volunteering here in Uganda and can answer almost any question you may have e.g. how do I get from the airport, where are the good places to eat, which prostitute bars should I avoid.

0910 - Marvel at the amazing support that this charity has.  I feel so privileged to be a part of it, especially now in the early days when I feel I can really contribute.  OK, it might only be with spreadsheets, email templates and fixing printers but that actually gives me satisfaction, being the office nerd that I am.  And I also provide the humour and comical banter.

1030 - Have a chat with our staff at the babies home.  If you haven’t seen them for a while they will ask if you have been lost.  It is literally easy to do here as I will purposely take a different road if I know one way has any type of birds walking around freely.  Our staff are brilliant giving our babies the best care possible.  I made a shonky deal with Olivia, one of the carers the other day.  She wanted me to show her how to use the toaster but I only would oblige if she tasted Vegemite.  We have a convert!

Martha, one of our carers.  She loves having her photo taken 
but will only let me take it if she has done her hair!

1200 - Lunch!  This varies each day and consists of traditional Ugandan food.  I will try anything once (except anything with celery) but with certain dishes I find it hard to go back for more.  A favourite in Uganda is matoke which is green bananas that are steamed and form a glue / porridge-like substance.  Surprisingly it tastes like steamed green bananas.  Occasionally we eat a sandwich, often questioned by the staff who ask why we are not eating ‘normal’ food.  

1315 - We have an amazing network of supporters, not only around the world but here in Kampala.  Not a day goes by when Lucy doesn’t introduce us to another supporter who has stopped by to see the work that Lucy and her team are doing.  Fostering and adoption outside your own family isn’t a common occurrence here in Uganda so showing people the home and telling them of the babies that Mary and the Family Placement Program have been able to place with families is the start of trying to change people’s perceptions.  

Lucy meeting with supporters from a local hospital

140o - Mary, our social worker, calls out from her office.  This usually means she has a computer question or she has broken a piece of equipment. Armed with blu-tack, scissors and chocolate I assess the situation.  The chocolate is to distract Mary so she doesn’t touch anything else. 

It is safer for Mary to hold a baby than a stapler

1545 - One of our new volunteers arrives, always exciting to meet a new member of the Child’s i family!  We have some amazing volunteers coming out in the next few months and we pride ourselves on giving each and every volunteer the best experience possible.  The way we do this is by giving each volunteer a role or project during their time with us.  Laura, one of volunteer carers, made a huge difference to two of our older boys during her stay.  They weren’t used to having a story read to them but because of Laura, all she had to do was hold up a book and they would run to the couch!  One of our volunteers, Emma, arrived this week and she is setting up our learning-by-play program, which we are really excited about.  Playing with play-doh this week was also a new experience for the boys but you know it is a success when the boys are shrieking with laughter because they are wearing a bracelet made of green play-doh!

One of my favourite photos.  Laura, one of our amazing volunteer carers, 
made such an impact on both the kids as well as the CiF team

Who would think sticky green dough would be so fun!

I love reading to the kids, they get so much out of it.  
My flat mate Phil sent me over with her favourite book and 
it is now the favourite in the home too!

170o - Help with dinner time, sometimes a messy and noisy time of day.  But also a really lovely time when you can feed one of our little ones and have some one-on-one time.   

Shelby climbed Mount Kimimanjaro for Child's i 
and stopped by to see us after the climb 

Such a great little helper!

1800 - Lock up the office and organise the night’s social activities. This can range from dinner at home, quiz at the local Irish pub (because every city has to have an Irish pub!), dinner out or a few drinks at our local.  Weirdly my social life here is so much busier than at home, funny what you can do when you don’t work in TV!

Night out with the girls, Rach and Em

Hopefully this gives you a good idea of what I am doing here in Uganda, it is certainly never dull!

Stay tuned for some other posts including my first reporting gig on the Ugandan Space Program and Rocket Man.  It's not one to be missed!

Bec xx

PS - One of the main aims of Child's i is to keep supporters updated as much as possible with newsletters, photos and videos.  If you would like to be on the mailing list for the monthly newsletter go to the CiF website to register -  You can also join our Facebook groups to get the news a little quicker!

1 comment:

  1. what a fantastic job you are all doing. The children look so happy. Keep up the good work! From Alison in Cheshire :)