Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Day 4 – Final Build Day and Dedication Ceremony
Today we were up bright and early again for the final day of the build. It was overcast in the morning which was a nice change from the blazing sun. On Day 2, Stephen, Anna, Lauren, George & Chris had done a great job with the construction, all the windows were in and the brickwork was completed up to the top of the windows. That left about 5 rows of bricks to be laid.
After about 45 minutes of vigorous brick throwing to stack the bricks the scaffolding was adjusted and we got to work. I went for a wonder with Clare down to the village to take some more portraits of the kids as the lighting conditions were perfect. I took along the portable Epson printer so that I could print out photos for the kids…. They went ballistic over this. I probably printed about 50 prints for the kids.
Everybody in the Watoto village is incredibly friendly. As you walk along everybody says “hi”, the little tackers want to hold your hand and play with you and it’s not long before you start to feel like the pied piper.
I went back to the construction site and found that I had been relegated from “brick layer” to Muchunga shoveler….
Basically the lowest rung on the building hierarchy. I’m not sure whether that was because they inspected my brick laying from day 1 or whether they felt I was skiving off by wondering around the village. Never-the-less I shoveled Muchunga like there was no tomorrow… I was perhaps the best Aussie Muchunga shoveler they had ever seen (OK… I can dream on).
When we completed the building, we had a formal dedication ceremony that was really quite lovely. The Master of Ceremony was Isaac. I handed him a microphone and he went to town… I didn’t have the heart to tell him it wasn’t working. He did his best impression of a preacher up on stage. The boss of the Watoto village (Pastor Aurora) also said some kind words and blessed the class room and us.
Katrina also made a lovely speech that was short but really touched on the motivation of our employees to help the children etc. Then we were told it was traditional for the workers to sing a traditional Ugandan song… It was incredible… They were all clapping in complex sequences, singing harmonies, and it sounds like they all could have sung in the Watoto Children’s Choir. We were then put on the spot and asked to sing a song in return. With no advanced warning we were definitely caught on the hop and the best we could muster was a very lame rendition of the first chorus of Advance Australia. This was perhaps not the best choice considering we had a Scot, a Kiwi and a Swiss National on our team. I kept looking at George who was doing a great impression of a goldfish… mouth moving but not words coming out… until we got to the chorus.
After the dedication we went back to the Watoto village to spend some more time with the kids. George foolishly challenged on one of the boys to a soccer game…. Told him to go away and bring his “A Team”. Needless to say team HRX got spanked by some grommets with incredible skills. It was a lot of fun spending more time with the kids, they are not shy at all and they all have the most friendly, outgoing attitudes.
Tomorrow is our last day in Kampala and we are going to visit the Bullrushes baby centre and see the orphaned babies.