Late Saturday night we arrived in Uganda.  Paul, our host from Watoto was there to pick us up, smiles and all, and we were happy to be in Africa.  The next day, Monday, we slept in, had a nice lunch and awaited the arrival of our Generosity Water team from LA.  This team included Sol Garcia, my fundraising partner and head of Project X, who I had last seen in Kenya back in January.  It was a fun reunion.  Tuesday came and we blasted off early, headed to Gulu--- or, northern Uganda (nearly six hours from Kampala).  If you’re in the know about northern Uganda, they’ve been through a lot.  Violence.  Brutality.  Rebel armies. Displaced person camps.  More fighting.  It’s a hard history, and I was anticipating some tough lessons. 


Our time in Gulu was joyful.  It seemed like any other Africa town, really.  First stop was Pece Primary School where Generosity Water had built one borehole.  They welcomed us with cheers and after an hour of photographing the borehole, they ushered us to our seats for the celebration.  They sang, spoke, danced, recited poetry, and their gratefulness for their new clean water shown through.  They offered us a gift--- thankfully, it was soda and cookies… and this sort of celebration actually became something familiar to us as we celebrated with many communities over the next week or so. 


Sol and I were like little kids at Christmas--- because we knew a visit to the well we built in the Pece village was next.  There weren’t many people there when we arrived, and the pump hadn’t yet been installed on the borehole.  The community had covered the cement structure with damp leaves so that Sol and I could write ‘PX and CU’ on the base of the structure.  We invested a lot in that well, and it was incredible to see it with our eyes.   The next day, we returned.  The drillers were there installing the pump mechanism.  They pumped it and the water came pouring out.  Incredible.  Singing, dancing, games and songs with the kids.  We also had the chance to purchase clothing for the scores of naked children roaming around Pece village.  Eventually we departed for Lira feeling so full.


Lira was a gem itself as well.  Another village with a borehole that had been built about six months prior.  This community had an extreme joy about it.  Even as our bus pulled up, they were lined up and already ‘singing’ their shrill cries of joy--- jumping up and down, so happy to see us.  Another ceremony.  They sang and danced, led by the extremely jovial man in rain boots.  I can still hear him singing, “heeeeeeey America!”   As they finished this welcome, they invited us to sing for them.  Not a good idea.  They had learned I was a dancer so I did a few simple chase sautés, and pas de chats, and we sat down.  Somehow, the community was still grateful for their new well, and wanted to send us away with a parting gift.  We heard it behind the mob of people surrounding us--- ‘baaaaaaaa!!’  A goat.  A live goat.  A huge sacrifice for them, and an honor for us.  But it was hard to keep from laughing.  Jordan, the Director of GW, explained how grateful we were but we couldn’t bring the goat on the bus.  We’d come visit our goat again, but if the borehole needed maintenance, they were to sell the goat and use the money to fix the well.  It was a fitting solution.


We visited a few communities near Lira without clean water to drink.  As we braved our way to a remote school, the 20 passenger bus we rode in got stuck on a large mound of dried earth.  The wheels spun.  It wasn’t looking good.  We headed for the door of the bus and realized the brush was so thick and covering the door so we couldn’t exit.  We jumped out of the windows of the bus.  Our plan worked, the bus was freed, and along we went chopping down branches along our ‘road’ that was more like a foot path.  At the school they asked if we would like to see where they get water.  We started walking and after a few kilometers the sun burned hot on our heads. We had forgotten our water bottles in the bus, we were tired.  In my head I was complaining.  I didn’t want to walk so far.  I wanted the water I had left in the bus.  But I didn’t dare speak the words out loud near the people who walk this everyday.  They walk 4km to drink water that is from a hole in the ground.  When they got there, they drank.  I had to keep from making a face.  We saw a little more of what their lives are like.


We drove back to Kampala from Lira, and worshipped at the enormous Watoto Church.  We did our best to sing with the missionaries there from Jerusalem who wanted us to sing in Hebrew.  Like I said, singing was not our strong suit, especially not in Hebrew. J  Saturday we flew from Uganda to Nairobi, Kenya.