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Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda - 2012

Proud of their cow

12th June

Writing this from Kigali in Rwanda now, missed a couple of days writing as being too busy in Kampala doing stuff such as swimming and eating out in swanky Italian restaurants.

It has been hectic to say the least! We landed back to Kampala on Sunday having a clear run from Reikia and all day we actually ran ahead of schedule, even if just by a couple of minutes! Aggrey (I have been spelling his name wrong, so apologies there!) maybe been reading the blog.... if so, Hi to you sir!

We visited a couple of farms in the area, and met the women's group in the area, who sang and danced and performed a play. It was all very good, and great to see how well they are doing. They have been in the program for a while, so it has had a massive beneficial help for them.

Reikia was the hotbed of the AIDS / HIV epidemic in uganda, and therefore there were many orphans in the area, and when we went to see Godfrey and Juilius it was a poignant moment when we went with them to collect water we passed an empty house, and in the garden were a row of graves. All the family had died from the disease and the land was standing empty.

Back in Kampala at the Mosa Courts Hotel, quite smart but not much WiFi signal so it was not easy keeping in touch with back home. It just makes one realise how much we are attached to our machines and reliant on technology now a days.

So, we suffered in silence and took to the hotel pool as a back up plan. After a red hot day in the car, it was grand and refreshing!

On monday we visited several farmers who were original recipients from Send a Cow in the late eighties and early nineties. It is their 25th anniversary next year so it was great to see some of the families and how the program has helped them. To be quite frank it was amazing.

One lady we went to see had a big house with six acres of land, walled garden and had also built 15 apartments on her land, which she was letting out. A very wealthy woman, who had returned to her farm with her husband after the civil war to find their house flattened and the land covered in scrub. The contrast to now is amazing. They put all the family through school and college, and have great standing in the community. They are still milking cows, but as they reach the "Growing younger into the sunset" they are scaling back a little, but will always continue to be grateful for how Send A Cow transformed their lives.

Another lady told a very similar story, and explained how people still came to her for advice and suchlike on farming and business matters. We also visited an old lady who received one of the first cows from the charity in 1988 and still was milking, or employing someone to do it for her, with her overseeing, a direct descendent of the original cow sent over from the UK. Getting the cow had eased her life immensely and provided her with comfort in her old age.

Coming back to Kampala we saw some rough areas, and a river so polluted and full of rubbish it was hardly moving, and yet just around a corner not a mile away there was a classy golf course and big houses and hotels. Poverty and riches side by side. Quite a sobering contrast. (not that I needed sobering of course).

We had been looking forwards to a swim in the pool, but I was ever so disappointed to find it was closed for cleaning....... I was distraught as I had been soooooo looking forwards to that..... but never mind, we went out to posh Italian restaurant which eased the pain somewhat, and had a good night with Aggrey and the SAC girls. I even got a laugh or two for some corny jokes from Aggrey.... perhaps I could have a future on the Ugandan comedy scene if things get tough back home.

Today we travelled to Rwanda for the next leg of our trip, and I am writing this at a bar in the hotel, watching reruns of the Euro matches. Ahhhh, it's looking up.

My only problem now is a strange one.... another one of those questions..... how exactly do lids come undone in transit on things? My toothbrush has been subject to a mugging from the antiseptic cream, leaving, literally, an unpleasant taste in ones mouth!!

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