Anyhow, last Saturday we took 19 children and 6 staff on this hour journey from Mbale. After stopping at little trade centers along the way to ask if we were going the right direction, we reached Buchekai and this is what we saw...
Seeing as there was great need, the children at LCH had the idea to donate some of their clothes and give back to their people. I am so humbled by these kids. They have little, yet from the little that they have, they gave greatly.
After officially registering our visit and donation with the Red Cross, we were able to move around and see what life was like at the IDP camp. (Rachel and Ritah peaking past the first tent)
I heard statistics on the radio that there are around 3000 people living in the camp, now unable to return to their home because either it was destroyed completely or it is no longer safe. They continue to wait on the government to relocate them and give them a piece of land to resettle on.
Red Cross was holding a class for the young people about the facts and risks/dangers/consequences or teenage pregnancy.
I walked around with Abel, Mercy, John, Ivan, and Emma (taking the photo)
Auntie Sylvia greeting a child. Most of the people at the camp spoke Lugisu.
The river nearby acted as the swimming pool and the laundry mat.
It was interesting to hear the questions that our kids asked to the man who was leading us around: "What do you eat? How many people sleep in your tent? Are you ever afraid at night? Do you feel sad to not go back to your home?" Their eyes were opened that life is not easy here at the camp. And the concept that they covered at school became real life to them.
A family inside one of the tents(below). Whether 5 people or 25 people per tent, each family shared one and was given one mattress. The rest was up to you. Much of the ground was uneven and in this particular tent, although there was a tarp, the ground below was totally soggy from rain.
They were distributed food but we were told by someone that they often get almost rotten posho and a few beans. And the tents were SO hot. Seeing as there was no place to go, you found people just loitering around.
After we finished touring the IDP camp, Edward drove us to the village of Bududa. We were wanting to see the actual site. At some point, the road became impassible for cars so we had to get out and start "footing". Luckily it was a cooler day.
Doreen, Zulufa, Nabwire Brenda, Jarod, Me
The mountains were beautiful!! Covered with lush green matoke plants and other crops.
Nabwire, Naster, Me Sylvia
Our groups got split up- the runners, the normal pace, and the slow-pokes. I was in the middle group with Rachel and Sylvia. They were fun to be with. At one point Rachel said, "Teacha- take my hand and pull me. I can't manage this mountain. I have never climbed a mountain. Unless from the garden to the home is a mountain. Can't I just get on your back!!!" Ha. But I will say it was a tiresome climb/walk. And seemingly never-ending.
Rachel also had the new experience of crossing a little log bridge. She was not so sure about it but followed my lead.
Finally, a long 1.5 hours later, we reached the site of the mudslide. I don't know how these people made it, some with broken limbs or carrying people or possessions, to the IDP camp. It is far.
You think you can imagine a mudslide in your mind until you actually reach it and see its greatness and vast impact. Wow. It was serious. On the radio I heard that around 250 people died in the mudslide. Where we were standing used to be a trading center and the health center was just next to it. Now they are completely covered below us, along with many people who were not able to be rescued before the mud dried up (sorry if that is too graffic, but it is the truth).
The Ugandan army has already taken up location on site and is awaiting a huge helicopter that can fly in a bulldozer to grate and remove the remains that are below the rubbish. (Our group that ran up the mountain was able to see, up close, a helicopter land and take off.)
Huge boulders, like the one below, toppled down the mountain, crushing anything in its path.
Once we had really seen what "mudslide" meant, we headed back down the mountain for another long hike.
When we arrived at the car, we found our friends (the runners) playing in the stream. It was very nice and refreshing, and cold.
They told me, "Teacha, get in. Just your feet, we won't get you wet." Ha. Luckily I knew better than that and had someone hold my camera and phone. As soon as I entered into the center of their circle Jarod shouts, "Let's baptize her in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." By the end I was completely drenched.
It was a wonderful, fun, eye-opening, exposure giving, educational, exciting day. Thank you Lord for your protection and hand over us and thank you that you have given us good things that we might also bless others.