I enjoyed the boat ride out to Buvuma Island very much. As the wind hit my face, I was reminded of the boat trips I grew up taking with my family. However, the scenery and boat were not comparable to that of Indiana and Tennessee.
As our group approached the island in a wooden canoe, some were relieved to reach land after the two-hour BEAUTIFUL trip across Lake Victoria. At first, I could only see a group of people standing on a cement pier.
Getting closer, we could hear the children and see them waving to us. Some were even dancing and jumping around in excitement to have visitors. When our canoe reached the shore, we were helped out of the boat by men who did not fear the water.
Immediately, the children wanted to hold our hands. Some of them took my hand and just touched my skin, realizing that it did not look the same, but felt the same. These children had ripped, dirt-stained clothes and most were not wearing shoes.
I felt most welcomed as the children escorted us mzungus (white people) to the school. Unfortunately, these children were not dressed as well as the children who were inside the school campus.
When we reached the school grounds, it was obvious who was enrolled in the school by simply looking at their clothes. They had a nice uniform, socks and shoes. Realizing that the kids would not have clean clothes or shoes without their sponsorship made me wish to be able to sponsor all the children who helped us down by the shore.
I thought about how in America, all kids have to go to school, and how much I hated that sometimes. The kids standing outside the gate dreamed to be in school. Sponsorship is not only clothing the children, but allowing them the opportunity of education. My heart broke for all children I saw on the island...especially the ones not in school.
The group I joined brought school supplies and a few soccer balls to donate to the children at Kikongo Primary School. It was neat to see them all line up and receive their gifts. How grateful they were! The group also brought bubbles to play with the kids. I find it very fun that bubbles are a universal entertainment for, what seems to be, all ages.
Finally, the long-awaited soccer ball was brought out to the kids. They were so excited and immediately began kicking it around with each other. Before we gave the children the new soccer ball, they had been playing with a ball they had made out of grocery bags buddle then tied together. These "local" balls work quite well and are a great, cheap way to create a ball, but they also enjoy the new American soccer ball.
We were shown around the campus by the head of the school. We also met the island nurse. Yes, THE island nurse... as in there is only one. What a great ministry she has on the island. She showed us a water purification system using water algae. We were taken to where the people make bricks, where a man demonstrated the brick making process.
In all that I saw, it broke my heart, yet made me hopeful. I was heart-broken for the children who had nearly nothing and had to walk such a far distance just to get to school. I was heart-broken for the children who were not yet sponsored, therefore were not able to afford an education or proper clothing.
I was hopeful because of the opportunity the sponsored children now have. I am hopeful that the kids who helped us on the shore will be sponsored in the future. I am hopeful because the school is growing. I am hopeful because the school was built for the Glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. The school is not only a foundation for education, but a place for people to come fellowship and worship God.
About the Author: Originally from Indiana, Karli is a Volunteer In Action with WGM in Kampala, UG. She teaches PE and coaches swimming at Heritage International School. Karli has a passion for music and anything that keeps her active.