Empowering HIV/AIDS orphaned children in Africa to a self sustainable future

Catherine Koch

Catherine Koch

Founder and President of Love Is The Answer, a Canadian registered charity serving orphaned children in Africa.

Uganda 2011 ~ Thank You For Appreciating ~


Greetings and Love from Uganda! After approx 24 hours of flying, I arrived well in Entebbe around 10:30pm local time, allbeit with rather large ankles, or as Nikki ( LITA’s VP ) and I like to call them, kankles 🙂 Disembarking from the plane down the stairs to the tarmac I was engulfed by warm humid air and immediately broke out in a “glistening”.. quite an awakening after the very cool air of the flights that found me wrapped cosily in my favorite shawl ( a beautiful gift from my wonderfully kind, Loving, adopted parents.. 🙂

Immigration was swift and most pleasant, and included me paying a $50 US bill for which I received entry along with a pretty sticker and stamp on a page in my passport! I fetched my 2 large suitcases, very happy to see them going round the carosel as I approached, as I had had to run to catch one of my connecting flights and had wondered at the time about them having to do the same..!

Proceeding past final security, I cast a glance round to see well over 100 Ugandans, calling out here and there, smiling, waving, many with signs! I eventually focused in on Vincent who was standing off to the side, smiling with a look of wonder and curiosity as if to ask ” Is that actually you?”. We exchanged several big hugs, many 3 stage hand shakes, many “welcome, you are most welcome” s, and eventually made our way to a special hire taxi he had arranged that would transport us to our pre-booked rooms at the Red Chilli Hideaway, a backpacker place, close to an hour down the road, in Kampala.

And just like that I was back.. sitting beside Vincent, crunched into the back seat of a vehicle that had half the room my long legs actually needed, breathing in warm, smoky, exhaust filled air, swerving to the distinctive beat of Ugandan music along roads with many potholes, taxis and matatus.. a delicious warmth in my heart and a great big smile on my face!

It’s now mid day of day 2 on the ground and Vincent and I have made some progress organizing our selves. I have managed to purchase a replacement sim card for my Ugandan cell and am now able to communicate with my old list on contacts.. and I’ve purchase a mobile internet modem.. a little gadget that connects to my computer by USB and will enable us to have wifi wherever there is cell phone coverage greater than 2 bars in Uganda.. so, hopefully, in Sironko! A huge improvement in the world of internet access since I was last here, when I mentioned this to the woman who was helping me at MTN she replied “Thank you for appreciating”.. A common Ugandan term, my heart was so happy to hear it once again.

Of course, accomplishing these things involved my inaugural boda boda rides ( sitting sidesaddle on the back of a motorcycle, sans helmet) weaving in and out of traffic.. a great opportunity to excercise surrender and trust! At one point on the way to Lugogo mall, my driver, Fred, slowed and veered a little to the right (so, into oncoming traffic, as Ugandans drive on opposite side of the road compared to Canadians ). I asked him what he was doing? “Branching” was his reply. And with that we did a massive sharp u-turn, cut through 3 lanes of oncoming traffic to the far left lane and turned at the next corner.. “Ah, yes, that’s it.. branching!”

I had a huge sleep last evening, quite comfortable within a mosquito net once again. I was awakened only by very loud thunder and heavy rainfall a couple times through the night, and then by the voices of the African women outside my screened window greeting one another in Lugandan this morning as their work day at Red Chilli was beginning.

Another day of rest today, doing a little laundry, have just reached the solar lamp people who will welcome us to view the two lamps we are considering for the caregivers in Sironko, and then by tomorrow at some point in early afternoon, we’ll be prepared to venture on to Mbale.. a 4 hour or so drive that passes through acres of tea and sugarcane on the way to Lugazi and Jinja, the source of the River Nile, and beyond to the east of Uganda.

Thank you to all who have made possible this journey one way or another, and to the many who support, inspire, encourage and accompany me every step of the way! I am most grateful to all, and I look very forward to sharing everything I can about the children with you, and with them, you!

Blessings in Love,

Catherine xox

Ps.. Happy Birthday Blessings Dad ~ I Love You and am always so grateful for the gift of you as my Father ~

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