SUNDAY 17 MARCH 2019
A second day of rest and, again, I failed to sleep past 4.30 am. No more than 5 minutes after I rose, the power went off and so I was quite happy to get back into bed until daylight appeared. I do believe I could get used to this in time! I am certain that, in spite of being so close to the equator, there is a definite difference in the length of daylight between March and November and that the mornings are darker and the evenings lighter in March. I shall research this when I have endless internet access.
Sunday prayers beckoned and I arrived on time if not a little early to catch the end of the rosary. Max, the Catechist, took the service and after the blessing, as has happened on my first attendance of each visit for the last 17 years, I was introduced to the congregation and I passed on my greetings from the people of St Augustine’s Church and my family. Row upon row of black faces sat before me and so different compared to two weeks ago in “Gussies” back home with our western faces looking pale in comparison.
After leaving the church, I went to visit the malnourished children who we had identified in Kyere in the hospital so I was pleased to find some of them already receiving treatment. I took the photo of a little Downe’s Syndome lad and, when I showed him his enlarged image, he kissed the screen! Little Godsgrace was looking so much better than in Kyere and the mother was so grateful for the care her child was receiving. She was to have an abdominal scan tomorrow with the assurance that her hospital bills are to be paid. I asked the mother why she had named the child Godsgrace to which she replied that when she first saw the baby and knew it to be abnormal, she decided on that name. This child aged one year but looking no more than a few weeks old had eyes only for her mother and already looked more human than she did only three days ago. She will never be normal but I can see that the mother will love and care for her no matter what.
The rest of the day was my own. A mug of coffee with two pieces of dry bread with Marmite and jam for breakfast followed by cold water with an egg and Marmite sandwich for lunch. I sat on my porch enjoying the peace as the children had gone to Mbale with Hanneke, Ouke and little Anna to swim. They will miss the Dutch family when they finally leave at the end of this month.
Modeste called telling me her tales of woe in health and wealth, neither of which were very positive. I had bought a battery radio for less than £9.00 for Okurut Emma (see 11 March 2019) and I thought I would try it to keep up to date with the news on the BBC World Service until I give it to him. Interesting programmes but it is definitely world news rather than UK news. I always enjoy “From Our Own Correspondent” at home and it reminds me of my initial visits to Kumi when I used to listen to Alistair Cooke with “Letter from America”?
My old friend, Joseph, came with a cavere (plastic bag) containing two eggs either warm from the sun or newly laid, the former I expect, and groundnuts in their shells. He started to sit on a log but it was lower than his knees would allow so I heaved him up and brought him a chair. He seemed to have settled himself down for the afternoon. Language is an issue but we coped and managed to get the gist of what the other was saying. Items of great value to the people are soap and salt and I had one spare long bar of soap and a packet of salt. I also gave him an old polo shirt of Chris’ which he was delighted with thinking the quality was high!
Soon, Ouke was back with the children and Anna (Dutch), Elija and Danielle (local) joined me to read my children’s books and do some colouring. The latter two had the time of their lives “swimming” in Mount Elgon Hotel in Mbale, their first taste of outside life! They really are delightful youngsters with their innocent approach to everything. Pronouncing my Christian name here causes much difficulty but the children pronounce it perfectly which sounds strange.
The day had passed quite uneventfully and I hope I find myself refreshed for the start of a new week.