After our weeks spent in Kampala and the long, but most beautiful trip from the capital to Mbaba (more about the trip can be read here), the day had arrived that we were finally going to meet the children from the village! With Happy over the months having shared with us numerous reports about the situation in Mbaba along with tons of photos from the children being involved in the activities he had been organizing for them, we were incredibly looking forward to see it all with our own eyes now.
Since our arrival in this part of Uganda the day before, we had started experiencing first hand that life in rural areas like this cannot be compared with life in Kampala. In the capital most of the people, except for the poorest who live in the slums or on the streets, at least have access to clean water. Although it is not commonplace that private houses have their own inside water supply, like we are used to in our Western world, at least many can easily get clean water from a nearby tap. Also, most houses in Kampala have electricity.
In the rural area where we had now arrived, although some positive developments are there, to find a house with electricity is not a matter of course. Finding a house with flushing water available inside is most exceptional. Water taps are there, but common is that many people are sharing one tap and that they can only get water from that tap when the demand for it is considered high enough. People will put their jerry cans near the tap, and when the number of jerry cans has reached a certain amount, water will be provided. When all jerry cans have been filled with water, the tap will be closed until the demand for water has again reached the required level.
Unfortunately, in the village of Mbaba, of which most is situated on a mountain, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, the situation is even much worse, as we sadly came to witness with our own eyes while for the first time following the dirt road leading up on the mountain, all to the location from where Happy is organizing his activities. We found no single proof that showed the availability of any electricity or clean water.
The dirt road, that was full of holes and trenches, led us along some small sugarcane and coffee plantations, with the main vegetation being matoke (small banana) trees. The further we drove up, the more we found these matoke trees dominating the environment. Every now and then a small, shabby house would show up. While we were hugely impressed by seeing under what primitive circumstances the people living here had to survive, we also became most aware of the peaceful atmosphere that this green and pristine environment was breathing. Adding to that peaceful atmosphere was the absolutely friendly and warm way in which we felt welcomed by the local people we found standing in front of their houses or walking along the road, every one of them not only highly surprised in noticing an unknown car driving through their village, but also immediately starting smiling and waving on realizing that Happy had brought Mzungus (white people) to visit.
Yet, the most beautiful surprise for us came when we, while finally having reached the location where the blue tent is marking the place from where Happy is running this organization, found many children awaiting us while ready to start singing a wonderful song which they had prepared to give us a very warm welcome…