I was excited for my trip to Buvuma when I heard I was getting the chance to go. As an ordinary school teacher, a boat trip to an island which houses a school that serves a large number of orphans sounded like a good way to spend a Saturday. And it was.
The island was humming with activity. Upon arriving, we were swarmed by village children who, despite the language barrier, clearly communicatedtheir excitement about our visit. Within minutes of docking, we were playing dancing games and clapping games with an ever growing group of dirty but smiling kids. They took our hands and led us to the gates of the school.
Once inside the fence, the atmosphere changed. The children were clean and dressed inuniforms. The school buildings were also clean and well kept.
Our group was ushered to a circle of chairs to listen to the head nurse give information about the island's health programs (water filtration, immunizations, etc.) However, I missed the cue to move to the big tree. Instead, I was caught up in a small group of students. We started pointing to objects and naming them in our respective languages.
Very soon, there were a hundred students around me, watching and laughing at the stereotypical Mzungu. We started playing a simple echo game where the leader makes a sound or does a gesture and the rest of the smiling crowd copies.
It was a simple moment, but one full of joy. Eventually, I found my way back to the group to hear about the medical advances being implemented at Kikongo. They have a special biosand water filter that sounds like a wonderful, cost-efficient way to have clean water.
We went on a tour through the teacher's houses and the clearing where bricks are made. We were served a lovely meal and were blessed with a few endearing performances welcoming us to the school. Gifts were presented, songs were sung, bubbles were blown. It was a good day.
We left just a few hours after arriving. The kids crowded the cement dock waving goodbye until we disappeared around the corner of the shore.
About the Author: Originally from Pennsylvania, Jessie is a Volunteer in Action with WGM in Kampala, Uganda. She teaches Art at Heritage International School and an English class at the Center of Hope.