Wednesday, 3 December 2014

I Just Want To Show You Something Before My Plane Crashes.

I fly out of Uganda today and my mind only just arrived here yesterday. Jeez I could stay. I could stay a lot longer, soak it in, understand it more, talk to more people. People LOVE to talk to you here. Even a whitey with bedraggled red wet hair in a rainy street looking a tad confused until a kind woman came out and asks me if I was ok, pointed me in the right direction.

Sometimes that's all we need, to be pointed in the right direction.

I just need to quickly show you some things.

An HIV sign outside a grade four classroom in a school. Photo: Suzy Sainovski/World Vision

Further up was another sign saying "Don't accept gifts" because child predators and sex-traffickers often groom children with money and food before they take them away, make them do things. Awful things. Unspeakable things that maybe we should talk about more because if our government cuts aid AGAIN I will fly to Canberra and stage a naked protest. You heard it here first.

         Photo: Suzy Sainovski/World Vision

This is a community centre for youth set up by World Vision right in the middle of a slum. Young people come here, learn vocational skills, read books in the reading room, have meetings, mingle. This beautiful girl next to me is 22 years old and has seen more things in life than anybody should. She told me, matter-of-factly, what she's been through. She's a peer leader now.

Also a peer leader is Ronald. We needed a translator but MAN WHAT A COOL GUY.

Photo: Suzy Sainovski/World Vision

Ronalds parents knew there was something wrong with his legs when he was four months old. He lives with his dad, and has a side job "tinkering" - fixing old bike parts, radios. He teaches the others how to do it to.

"I want to show them they can do things, too."

Photo: Suzy Sainovski/World Vision

Hands down the best classroom I have ever been to in my LIFE. All five of us girls said that, afterwards, some even teared up it was so beautiful. The teachers have incorporated children with disabilities into the whole school. We watched as ALL of the class were taught sign language to interact with their deaf friends.

A beautiful boy proudly showed me his braille machine. So proudly.

Photo: Suzy Sainovski/World Vision

I spoke a lot to the little poppet sitting to my right, who is also blind. She is nine. She is FAST and shy and beautiful and World Vision, man .. they do all of these things. And so much more.

I was completely terrified before I left Australia. "Talismans. I need talismans." My friend Pam read a book once about how we must give away the things we love so she sent me her dead fathers dog tags from the war. I've never worn them before but man they have helped me here. Thank my Pammy-la I love you and they soothed me when I freaked out. Which has been a lot. I've also worn a copper skull that a beautiful woman called Kairan from WA sent to me engraved with "Be real." I finally realised that's why I love skulls - they don't lie, or hide. They're real. Kairan I have met some incredible midwives over here ... you're going to do just fine. And Lila from Mama Nourish - I have been wearing the silver cloud ring on my pinky every single day. I like how the cloud doesn't just have a silver lining - THE WHOLE CLOUD IS SILVER. I got you the cross you wanted.

Goodbye Uganda my beautiful friend. I will be back. World Vision you blow me away. I've been trying to work out why I feel so much better during my time here and even though it has been SO hard sometimes, it's given me purpose and possibly helped save my life. Thank you for aligning yourself with somebody like me.


Letters to Home (written before I left)

So, a few more days and I’ll see your faces. I probably need a big bubble bath by now. This is just a reminder to change the damn toilet roll, unpack the dishwasher, and sweep the kitchen floor. All the boring stuff. Get the boring stuff out of the way first - it makes the fun stuff more enjoyable. Rocco, how many kicks are you up to? Max, you have nearly made it through your first year of high school! Dave, how’s that big bed all to yourself? I’m sorry I watched the rest of Sons of Anarchy without you hon - THE LAST FEW EPISODES WERE SO GOOD. You missed some corkers LOVE YOU GUYS xxxx 

DAY THIRTEEN When I was a little girl I used to sit on my bed at night and wonder what would happen when I grew up, who I would end up marrying, and if I’d have any children. And now I know. And it’s you guys. And you are my biggest treasures in the whole world - yes you Tim and Phoebe. And I cannot wait to see you again. I can’t believe I’m so far away from you right now … but soon I’ll be back, stomping around, being cranky but also awesome. I’m not a perfect mother - nobody is perfect. But I try really hard. Really hard. xxxx


Hey Cam. Did you see the Nile? Did you know there's only one equator? Just like there was only one of you. xxxxx Eden

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