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leaving KENYA ...arrival in UGANDA

UGANDA | Thursday, 21 January 2010 | Views [673]

It’s been so long since my last entry and transitions of great
magnitude have occurred. On a lighthearted side, I celebrated
Christmas with a bang of the Congolese drums and rumba rhythms of the
luo. On the eve the 6 roommates and I headed to our favorite outdoor
club which hosts Congo bands every night. There we danced our hearts
out till 3am. Now we go to this club often as it is free and has the
best music and dancing in town. I join the African beauties on the
floor and get down with my dance side for hours on end. But this night
was special. The professional dancers pulled me on stage twice to
perform with them as they taught me the routine and I stayed on stage
for near 20mins. They were so amazing and they were impressed by my
progress as I get gradually better at moving my butt as if it’s not
attached to my torso in the usual African style. This I learned from
the little boys and girls in our compound who dance like ive never
seen children dance. Anyway it was probably the best way to bring in
the holidays ever! But for new years I decided to travel on to greener

to the black gold and red nation of Uganda. Body sunshine and blood
are the representative colors of their flag here. I’m about 5km
outside the capital Kampala. I’m currently residing in a compound of
great enormity which caters to about 25children and young adults. It’s
a beautiful space with great potential as there is much space and a
high capacity for support for volunteers and well wishers. It is
called the kin initiative organization. The motto to provide kin for
the kinless. In other words, the orphans who usually go to extended
family members after parents pass are often neglected of basic needs
like food, education, emotional, and spiritual support. With the kin
initiative, those in need find a new sense of hope as they are giving
a new family of others in the same position as themselves who are
willing to open their arms and accept them as a member in the
community. Children stay here and attend school during the day and
return to study and also work in the compound doing cleaning, cooking,
and group care.

When I arrived in Kampala after a long 12hr bus ride from Nairobi, I
had to wait for about a half hour to be picked by Uncle Ben, the
founder of kin. While sitting on the sidewalk with my big pack and
rain jacket on, a woman came out of her juice restaurant and told me
to come inside, even if I didn’t want to buy anything, she didn’t want
me in the rain. She gave me a large bowl of roasted groundnuts and
even helped me find some things I needed to locate. I thought wow!
Only in Uganda would people be so willing to share without
compensation. I felt at home already.

Uncle Ben escorted me to the compound where I was greeted by all the
women and children as they kneeled to the ground and took my hand
above their heads. I had heard of this custom and before I came I was
somewhat disgusted by the idea of one person kneeling to another as if
a hierarchy existed. However my recognition of this amazing sign of
respect has completely shifted as I seen women do this to older women
and children even to older children. It is a way to level oneself to a
person in a manner of acknowledging the importance of their existence.
I highly respect this custom!

In the compound I have been waking each morning for a lovely session
of yoga as the sun hits my bedside by 630am. I start art and listen
reverently to the BBC world news as they give a great presentation on
African updates. I do art for the local school to make teaching aides.
At around 10am, I have a group of kids who started at 10 in number but
since they spread the world like wildflowers, I now have over 20 who
come learn arts and crafts. We then play a large game of Tipo, or an
African version of hide and seek. Let me tell you it is the most
extreme and fun game ive played in years. Our area is covered in
banana, papaya, tomato trees, water catchment tanks, large African
drums, and many other natural systems for hiding. As 19of us run and
hide, one tries to see us all behind our natural hiding spaces yelling
out my name….”sister” they call. This is my name here btw as we’re all
a family here. We play for a few hours until im called for a delicious
lunch often filled with pineapple avocados, rice and local veggies. By
2pm I have a group of 7-10 girls coming to learn how to use a type
writer for typing class. This consists of me getting creative with
words and writing them on the board to practice memorizing keys. Very
simple but fulfilling. I finish my evening often with a walk through
the fruit tree bush here in Gganda village and then head in to read a
book and do more art before dinner which is served at around 10pm. The
hospitality is divine and somewhat embarrassing. I want to clean my
room and help cook and such but I rarely get the chance. At least
twice a week a child is in my room when I leave sweeping and hand
mopping the floor. When they enter a building they remove their shoes
and I try to as well. I tell them I want to keep their space clean but
they chase after me with my shoes saying, “Sister your feet will get
dirty”. Makes me laugh but feel so shy as I feel like a porcelain doll
they don’t want to have broken. I was allowed to chop potatoes last
week and once even removed my shoes without them noticing, a freeing
experience. This place is beautiful and I love my new family.

The Kin Initiative is a registered NGO non governmental organization,
which strives to help the less fortunate. Here I have purchased and
begun creating a website www.kininiative.org for them and I am now the
official international volunteer coordinator for them. They have a
grand potential for hosting volunteers and the cost for time spent
here is the most minimal ive come accross since I started my journey.
I encourage everyone to keep checking on the site as I will be
attempting to have it running soon and if you are willing to travel
abroad to Africa, this is the #1 place id recommend. I could see
people coming to this location seeing it as a paradise setting you’d
find in a 5star hotel but with less noise and friendly atmosphere with
very concerned beings. You will feel welcomed as a family member and
appreciated on all levels as the KIN understands that even the most
meek have something to give.

Tags: dancing, kampala, simmers, uganda

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