The team arrived in Gulu last night. I was treated to the Royal Suite, complete with Kardashians on TV, after a room mix up. Gerry was pretty jealous, he really likes the Kardashians.
Today we visited Watoto’s Laminidera Village at Gulu. Lachie pulled out his magenta shirt, and Gerry, being from the Geordie Shore, then had to step up his game; he applied his Ugandan spray tan (red dirt) and off we went.
Laminidera is an excellent example of how well children in Uganda can do, when given the chance to succeed. Watoto takes in orphans and at risk children, places them in homes of 8 children to 1 house mama on school campus and educates them to an excellent level. 75% of students are expected to go on to university. Days are long for the high school students, 6am start, break in the afternoon, then back to class until 9 pm. The junior students finish at either midday or 2.30 pm, depending on age.
In past years the Kain Foundation has supported Watoto through various builds. We were treated to lunch in a home built by our 2013 team by the house mama, it was delicious! The children joined us and I was impressed with their manners, something the mamas take a lot of pride in.
We also visited the rooms where some of the staff live built by a Kain team, a double storey, where I had to stop Jodes from falling over the balcony. I saved her life.
Another building had been ravaged by a storm and, due to its poor foundations, crumbled recently … apparently it is the building built by the last team John Kain was part of.
We split into two groups and took two classes of high schoolers each. We each spoke with the children about our careers. I explained to them what a Paralegal does in a normal day, and how important it is to prove trust and excellence to the lawyers I work with (I took the chance to remind everyone how awesome I am). Kendall did a great job preparing motivational games for the children to play.
The pre-school children came out to say goodbye as we left. Gerry was treated to a child poking their finger hard into his scratched up soccer-injury and asking ‘what’s that?’, poor Gerry.
Watoto Laminidera was like visiting another country in comparison to the poor villages we have visited so far, where our funding is just starting. I’m hoping to return to Uganda in 5 to 7 years to see the changes the Kain Foundation have achieved at the schools we are funding through Junior Landcare and the Kkoba Community.
The team was incredibly impressed by Watoto and the future leaders they are raising. However, the head pastor explained to us that it has completed the majority of its building projects. Watoto is now moving to a community approach, taking it’s good work past the manicured boundaries of the property to the Ugandan communities beyond. This is encouraging because the Foundation has decided to take a similar community based approach in the years to come. The future for both organisations is about empowering communities to help themselves. You can’t argue with that.
Written by Liz Byron-Scott, Kain Lawyers