I did not think it possible, but yesterday I had my fill of children. I am recovered now and ready for more, but yesterday we were all in overload. Erika, Kathy, and I went to the Kansanga resource centre where we were greeted by a mob of excited, barely controlled children. There must have been around 80 kids, mostly under the age of 10. They were waiting for us and had prepared a 30 minute presentation that went on for 3 hours. We were treated to song and dance, skits, readings (the abridged Disney book version of Cinderella) and demonstrations of gymnastics, netball and football (soccer) skills. The hoops for netball, which is similar to basketball, were provided by two men who stood at the ends of the playing field with their arms forming hoops. One of the football goals was missing a post so whenever the ball came to that end of the field some strong young men lifted the top bar to the appropriate height. Half of the boys were barefoot, and a cow was grazing at one end of the field, but that did not prevent a competitive game.
The child overload came from the need of the children to make physical contact with the mzungu (the Lugandan word for white foreigners – it means traveler). Erika had Simon, a young boy with cerebral palsy in her arms but that did not stop up to 8 other children at a time from hanging on to her hands, arms, clothes etc. Kathy and I had revolving collections of children on our laps and hanging off of us. At one point I had 5 children holding on to one hand. One per finger. I simultaneously had a slightly smaller collection on the other hand. It was especially challenging when we walked to the football field as one small child insisted on wrapping her arms around my waist. Her little child steps prevented my normal stride and forced me to shuffle down the road. The noise level was very high because, while the children were great performers, they were not the best audience and were unable to contain themselves physically or verbally while others performed.
Meanwhile, Bree and Marina were at the orphanage entertaining those children while other Ugandan volunteers terraced and fenced the new garden. They also seemed a little worn when they arrived home last night.
Today we have a tourist day and will visit a craft market. I plan to contribute to the Ugandan economy as much as possible.