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Bye Mzungu

Hello for the last time,

So this will be my last blog. I am flying away from Uganda this evenining with layovers in Dubais and London on my way back to Calgary. What an experience it has been. One I cannot even begin to describe. I do want to take a moment to thank Ken Sanderson who assisted with every blog Ssubi did. The internet in Uganda is quite tempramental and I’m certainly no computer genius so I had a lot of trouble with the pictures. I ended up sending all the pics to Ken who inserted each one in each blog. Thank you very much.

The final touches of the school are nearly complete. The final coats of paint have been applied and a gate has been installed to match the fence. We have no pictures at this time but I am sure Philip and Tracy will get some on the website soon. This morning, when I last saw the site, some of the workers were putting together a play area for the kids where a slide will be added very soon. Electricians had also arrived and were in the early stages of installing the solar panel lights, which have been a great success in Gulu. I believe there are also plans to build eavestroughs that will flow into a large water tank, providing a consistent water source for the school.

As for myself, I am sad to go but look forward to more work with Ssubi in the future. It’s impossible to summarize my trip in one blog. The other night, Tracy’s friend Julia (who has lived in and contributed to Uganda for a decade) asked me to list my top five favorite things from my trip. It was a great request but hard to answer. Tracy pointed out how much I enjoyed the first football match in the rain. It definitely made the list. I have also had the time of my life riding bodabodas (motorcycle taxis) around town. Third was both trips to Gulu, first by car and then by plane. Each was incredible in its own right. And fourth, undoubtedly, is the Ugandan people. They are the friendliest, happiest and most welcoming, hospitable people I have ever met. The last took me a moment to think of but I recalled the afternoon of my second day here when I was riding around with Dusman. I found myself in the middle of a small village in the middle of Kampala. It was my first experience with Ugandan children. I saw them pointing at me from a distance, smiling and whispering, “Mzungu.” Mzungu means “white person.” Many times while I was here, I felt like it was my name. I waved them over and began taking pictures and even let them push the button. They giggled at the flash and laughed when I showed them the pictures and took turns shaking my hand. Two children multiplied into more than a dozen in a moment. When Dusman and I drove away, they ran alongside the car, waving and shouting, “Bye Mzungu! Bye Mzungu!” I explained to Julia that it happened many times after but that first experience was so specialand so magical that it stands above the rest. After that it became normal. She corrected me, saying that it never becomes normal. And thinking about it now, she was right. Even after that first time, it was always special. It just happened more often.

I can never thank Ellie, Philip, Tracy and Dusman enough. They are exceptional men and women who will forever have my deepest admiration and respect. What they do is extraordinary and I was so thrilled to be a part of it. I will cherish it, and them, always. Thank you, Ssubi.

Shaun

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