After the usual hair-raising journey through Kampala, through open-air junk yards where teetering piles of the aforementioned Toyota and Mitsubishi vehicles are abandoned retired and abused then gutted and stripped for anything of value, we stocked up in another mini-supermarket (minus armed-guard) on balls, bats, skipping ropes, sweets and lollypops and continued to church at the CRMI Mission site outside Bombo.
‘Church’ is an aspirational name for the four walls, bricks, piles of sand and dozens of pillars we found on the school and mission site in Bombo. Within the walls stood half a dozen mini- marquees of the kind that may be erected at the back of the village hall for an English fete, fronted by a single marquee housing a dancing choir, keyboard player and a young woman with the voice of an angel., which perfectly, is her name.
As I pointed out to Adam and George – the lads who make up Bondax – this was the 12” remix as the song swung and dipped, sped and slowed, morphed into others and finished with the inimitable John Bunjo briging us into a call and respond version of ‘Son of David’. (I’m pleased it was this song as these three words are repeated around 15 times before another line is added and the song starts again – we picked it up pretty quickly).
John spoke about the fallacy of worshiping things and that the could be lost – using audience members as land, money, houses and cars – cruelly casting them aside. John Bunjo is some speaker.
We were thanked as a group and the 18 of us were applauded as heroes (we hadn’t even done anything at this point!) After tithes, offerings and seeds were shared the service was concluded with all members of the church shaking hands and smiling while we offered one another to go in peace.
In what seemed like an instant small children spilled from the Sunday School and down the 12 steps to the church, quickly returning up the stairs with one, two or three plastic chairs on their heads – barging past one another to carry more that their friends and desperate to carry more and take more trips back and forth. Enthusiasm to help get the chairs back up to the school and into the classrooms was so great to see.
We found time to chat to the young leaders about their plans and school and college lives (these girls and boys in their mid-teens are acting as out interpreters for the trip) and then we were served a collecting of foods for lunch – delicious vegetables in the form of yams, sweet potato, ‘Irish’ potato, Kale, rice and beef curry before a trip round the new toilets (seriously!) and the rest of the project’s land and plans for the future.
Truly inspiring and that was before we ventured out into the nearby bush to see the next plot of land and future plans including Ivan’s New House.
Ivan is having a new house built (in secret) by the project for his family and wife. They are a poor family living in unsuitable housing near the school and church…the new plot will take 8 houses with shared facilities, close to a well and with access to the project facilities which support the local families to develop their skills and futures.
We also met Justine and her family (that’s her and her family in the above picture) who live close to the new plot and school. One of her children is sponsored from school at the CRMI project but the rest are not. She welcomed us politely and I decided there and then that we would be offering to sponsor one of her daughters to go to school.
We bundled onto the bus an don the way back to Kampala reflected on the power of one person’s vision. John Bunjo decided that he wanted to disrupt the common misconception of Africans with hands outstretched. He knew about the passion for people to work for a living and get the security and community they deserve.
CRI has been the vehicle for this and continues with more plans for a growing local support system.
Plans, Vision, and Futures are what the project is about.
Community, Education and Friendship is how it manifests itself in Bombo.
Thanks for reading. Next installment, the first field clinic.
(All photos accompanying are courtesy of my daughter Ruby, 16 Using a Canon Eos. Pictures will be for sale to support the charity).