• That Really Is Best

    Below is another early entry from Nathaniel’s African journal.

    christmas2Three sweeties climbed down from my friend’s Land Cruiser: Godfrey, Charles, and Viola.  Their friend, Kasumba (pronounced “Kuh-SOOM-baw”), lives with me.  They adore each other, and my friend brings her little neighbors to visit us whenever she can.

    I had not told Kasumba (age 10) that they would be coming.  In a land of unpredictable weather, severely bad roads, and unexpectedly-expected trauma, one never knows if plans will actually come about.  I didn’t want to disappoint him.

    But they came!

    Very happy.  Big smiles.  Expectant spirits.  Excited.

    The reunion was grand, as usual.  They brought Kasumba’s favorite homemade snacks for him.  A huge cluster of bananas and a jackfruit for us.  And a hand-woven wall hanging for me.

    The day was spent with three extra sweethearts mixed in with our gang.  I think it’s safe to say that a good time was had by all.  Good food.  A nice nap. Gifts, laughter, and celebration.

    Too soon it was time to leave.  Standing near the Cruiser, saying my goodbyes to my friend, I watched as the three heads popped out of the house, one by one, and came to the car.

    Viola first.  She was holding one of Kasumba’s toys.  A Christmas gift to him, now given to his “sister” (as he refers to her — though they are not related).

    Then Charles.  Also carrying one of Kasumba’s finest.

    Lastly, Godfrey.  His face was radiant, for in his hands was Kasumba’s favorite of favorites: a big semi-truck, complete with trailer and lights.

    My Aunt Carla had given me money for my birthday, so I was able to buy each of my kids a big toy like this for Christmas.  Oh, how Kasumba loves his!  He has played with it constantly, running it across the squared tops of our driveway curbs, down imagined highways, up termite hill grades, and across bustling sidewalks.  He has regularly cleaned it with the pride of a real long-hauler.  And, every night for the last two weeks, he has repacked it into its molded plastic wrapping.

    It’s his treasure.

    And now it’s Godfrey’s.

    “Oh!” my friend said. “Should they be taking your toys?”

    Our toys? These are more than toys!   I thought to myself.  These are our best!

    And I was so proud of my Kasumba.  He also knew that these were more than toys.  They were the very most he had to offer.

    So he did.

    “Yes, of course.”  I said.  “They must take them.”

    I patted each head on its re-ascension into the vehicle.  I helped with the seat belts.  I closed the door and waved goodbye.

    Another inside-smile.  Of course they should take them.

    That really is best.       

  • 10 Q’s 4 U

    We have asked the members of our leadership team to answer ten questions about their lives. (If you’d like, share your answers with us as well.) The AidChild magic is created by the efforts and partnerships of so many. We hope these will offer you insights into the layers and nuances of our work. (Look for more soon, and see Henry’s below.)

    martinSsenyonjo Martin
    Senior Accountant 
    (Pictured in AidChild’s Headquarters Offices in Masaka)

    1.  What is your earliest childhood memory?

    It is when I got missing from my parents and I slept at stranger’s home for a night.

    2.  If you had the choice to eat anything in the whole world, what would it be?  

    It would be chocolate cake. 

    3.  You are happiest when you are doing what?

    When am on a road trip to a new place with my best friends. 

    4.  Whom do you admire most in this world, whether living or dead?

    I actually do not have a specific person in mind, but in general I admire so many people that have achieved much for themselves in terms on wealth and knowledge.

    5.  When power is off, what do you like to do most?

    Have a chat with my family members at home. 

    6.  When power comes back on, what do you do first?

    I scream, “Yay, it’s back!”

    7.  What do you most value in a friend?  (What traits or characteristics?)

    Unconditional trust and love. 

    8.  What talent would you most like to have?  And why?

    An extraordinarily creative mind because it can help me achieve so much in life.

    9.  Tell us one of your best memories about something that happened with one of our kids. 

    It happened sometime back. I was swinging on the swings in Masaka with the little kids like Cathy, the twins, and others. So fun and simple.

    10.  What did you have for breakfast this morning?

    I had a chapatti.

    joanJoan Mutesi
    Nurse Practitioner, Nkumba Clinic and Home


    1. What is your earliest childhood memory? 

    I remember when I was about four years old, my mum asked me to pretend to go for a nap after lunch–with my elder siblings.  She had a party that she was going to. But since she wanted to take only me, and she didn’t want the others to complain, she asked me to then sneak out of the house quietly so that none of them noticed, and we went.  I had so much fun at the party, but going back home everyone was annoyed and none of them was willing to talk to me.

    2. If you had the choice to eat anything in the whole world, what would it be? 

    I would eat matooke [Uganda delicacy of steamed plantain bananas], rice, and chicken.

    3. You are happiest when you are doing what?

    Praying, worshiping, fulfilling my obligations especially at my work, and when I meet my goals.

    4.  Whom do you admire most in this world, whether living or dead?

    I admire my mum for she has been a role model of strong woman and of what a loving mother should be to me.

    5.  When power is off, what do you like to do most?

    If am around people, I like to tell stories, but if am alone, I dose off.

    6.  When power comes back on, what do you do first? 

    Watch movies, listen to music.  I switch on the television or radio immediately.

    7.  What do you most value in a friend?  (What traits or characteristics?) 

    I always value friends who are honest, kind, trustworthy, faithful, truthful and loving.

    8.  What talent would you most like to have?

    I would like to be a flight attendant.  And why?  I always admire it for opportunities to travel around the world, meet new people with different cultures.

    9.  Tell us one of your best memories about something that happened with one of our kids.

    I remember the first time I arrived at our Masaka home, I met this incredible child name Kawalya Joseph, aged one year and half. On our first eye contact, something amazing happened as I held him in my arms.  He felt so comfortable as he lay on my chest even though I was a stranger to him.  It was so touching that as I carried him on my laps, we had a special bond.  In just a few minutes, he had started to sleep off.

    10.  What did you have for breakfast this morning? 

    I took coffee and bread.

    Jjumba Henry
    Lead Educator, Masaka Center (pictured here with our dear Simon Peter).  

    Henry

    1. What is your earliest childhood memory? 

    My earliest childhood memory is following my big brothers to primary school and studying in Primary 1 classes without the knowledge of my parents.  I was supposed to be in nursery school.  This went on for a month.  The teachers later persuaded my parents to let me skip nursery and I remained in Primary 1.

    2. If you had the choice to eat anything in the whole world, what would it be?

    I would choose to eat game meat for a whole month!

    3. You are happiest when you are doing what?  

    When I am involved in an activity that is going to positively change or influence those around me and society.

    4. Whom do you admire most in this world, whether living or dead? 

    I admire Nelson Mandela for his commitment to change.

    5. When power is off, what do you like to do most?

    To play a game like football or rugby.

    6. When power come back on, what do you like to do first?  

    To listen to loud music indoors.

    7. What do you most value in a friend? (What traits or characteristics?) 

    I value honesty and reliability in a friend.

    8. What talent would you most like to have? And why?  

    I would like to have the talent of speech because speech has the potential to change people and society.

    9. Tell us one of your best memories about something that happened with one of our kids. 

    I remember little Cathy, 5, standing up one day during an interaction with all the kids and telling them to each take their medication on time like she does.  Most of the big kids were surprised that Cathy would say that (I inclusive).

    10. What did you have for breakfast this morning?  

    With the kids, I had a boiled egg, a banana, bread, soy porridge with milk. And it’s been another bright day!