Oh, the village of the dancers!
Each time we visit Butangala, there is a new dance, song, costume and performance which impresses us more and more! In addition to the dancing there was a local cadet corps which showed us their marches with long sticks (in place of show guns).
This village truly loves their students and fosters a sense of pride among the students through various school activities. One recent way they did this was by introducing “houses” in which all the students would be assigned and could take part in competitions and reach goals together. Seeing the students dressed in the 3 brightly colored “house” shirts was adorable and the dignity was written all over the student’s faces!
The new dormitory is another shining element of Butangala that has attracted many students from the surrounding area. Which means enrollment is up and the school is being supported by their own community. The girls who live there couldn’t wait to show us their beds, which they had all decorated and even had a competition to see who had the “best” made bed! It was hard to choose for sure, but in a possibly biased move, we chose the bed with photos of their sponsor prominently displayed.
It has been raining every day in the villages and this meant the speeches were cut short, but it didn’t stop the packet process.
Two of our team members, Heather and Teresa, were so excited to finally meet their students face to face!
Teresa & Yusif
Teresa sponsors a secondary student names Yusif whose had a rough life from a young age. He was 8 when he returned home from school to find his parents had left and abandoned him. Luckily the church leaders helped as much as they could to house him and get him in school. Now he attends nearby Pilkington College.
Teresa is such an important factor in Yusif’s life, and you could see it all over his face as soon as they met. She is family to him, perhaps the only family he has, and equally, Teresa was bursting with love and excitement to get to meet the boy whose letters have made her cry for years.
The bond shared between them is so special and it was a blessing to witness their first in person interactions.
Heather & Abdul
We also got to go to the house of Heather’s student, Abdul.
She was greeted with loud shouts of joy and praise from Abdul's mother and after touring the small mud structure, she shared her gratitude with many gifts.
Heather returned to the bus exclaiming “I got a chicken!!”.
The chicken then joined the team on our way home, although I’m unsure if it was as filled with as much delight as the rest of the team after such a wonderful day!
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.