Easter weekend was something else! From plastering a new classroom at Buhandagazi primary school in Rukungiri on Good Friday, to camping on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi (and dancing late into the night by our campsite in a desperate effort to keep warm). From visiting Kakomo Primary School on Saturday and then drinking enturire and miserably attempting to learn the Kiga traditional dance during the Rukundo Eguhemo (Let Love Prevail) event in Kabale. Not to mention rounding it all up on Easter Sunday at Grace Villa (a home for orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable girls), listening to stories from the home’s founder, Ruth Ndyabahika, watching the girls dance and cutting and sharing a celebratory Easter cake.
Eventful and humbling is understating it.
Our first stop was at Buhandagazi primary school in Rukungiri. After a joyous welcome consisting of singing, clapping and sharing lunch, we participated in a foodstuffs auction at the school’s nearby church. Auctioning foodstuffs is a common practice in village churches especially during holidays such as Easter. The auction was fun and once we concluded our bidding and listened to a few remarks from the elders of the school and the church, we went outside to participate in the main activity – plastering a new classroom for the school.
Quite frankly, we didn’t labour much as professionals were hired to complete the job. However, it was satisfying to know that Bakiga Nation had raised the money to have this need accomplished for the students of this school. This is an ongoing project that Bakiga Nation is invested in and every year, a new block or classroom will be added until the full need is met.
We completed our activities before the sun went down and drove to Kabale for the night.
Kabale is cold! Arriving at nightfall, we pitched tents for the night at the most beautiful spot, overlooking the marvelous Lake Bunyonyi. I wasn’t looking forward to getting into a cold tent and was thrilled that we had a campfire setup when we arrived, alongside Silent Disco. I soon realized that the more I danced, the less I’d need to shiver by the campfire. Having three amazing music stations to keep switching through made the task that much easier! I hardly got any sleep. Partly because I stayed up dancing and also because no matter how many layers of clothing and blankets I used, the tent just wasn’t warm enough. I made a mental note to check into Bunyonyi Overland Resort the next night.
Once we were all up, we made a quick stop at Kakomo Primary and Secondary School in Kabale to make a delivery. 500 kilograms of maize flour and 1,000 books donated by Aponye group of companies. The students welcomed us on arrival, their faces expectant and exuding gladness. I wasn’t sure if the happiness was because they were about to receive new books or simply because they had visitors from Kampala. Either way, it was awe-inspiring to witness.
Speaking of awe-inspiring…
We proceeded to Rose Gardens in Kabale for the Rukundo Egumeho event organized by Bakiga Nation. Rukundo Egumeho translates to “Let Love Prevail.” The cultural event usually takes place twice a year in Kampala and is organized to bring people together to socialize and celebrate culture. This was the first one of its kind in Kabale district, complete with vendors selling merchandise, local food, drinks like enturire, traditional dancers, music and games.
Our last day was bittersweet. Before we set off for Kampala, we made a visit to Grace Villa in Kabale. Grace Villa is a home for orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable girls run by a very lovely lady called Ruth Ndyabahika. Ruth has dedicated her life to looking after and raising these girls in a safe, healthy and loving environment making her a mother to over 200 girls. A few of them stay at Grace Villa while others are placed in loving homes close by. The girls are one big family and meet at Grace Villa every weekend for skills sharing, coaching and sports. Ruth told us a bit about the organisation’s self-sustaining and income generating projects and the girls danced and sang before we left. We brought them the foodstuffs we had gathered from Friday’s auction and they shared a delicious Easter cake with us before we prayed together and set off for Kampala.
For more about Bakiga Nation, visit their website www.bakiganation.org
How did you spend your Easter Weekend? How often do you support or participate in charity work/events? I’d love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments below.