TODAY’S GUEST BLOG IS BY CLAIRE MARRIS.

We are now on our way to Kasese, a five to six hour journey on the mini bus with our driver Joseph at the helm. To pass the time I thought I would tell you about the other places we visited and people we have met in Masaka (most kindly arranged by our Masaka Cricket Network rep Robert Sundia -Mr Organiser, as I liked to call him).

After our day at Masaka School – where we have been diligently reinforcing the ABC HIV/AIDS message alongside some superb cricket coaching – we were taken to an orphanage so that Jo, Ken and I could distribute items of clothing, pens, pencils and notebooks to some of the children. I found this a touching experience, especially when we were greeted by smiling inquisitive children, who loved having their photo taken and seeing themselves on the back of our digital cameras.

We also got to see a classroom which seated 100 children during an English lesson. I was amazed at the beautiful hand writing and impeccable behaviour. Wow!!!

The following day, Robert had arranged for us all to meet Sister Helen Ahern – who was a patron of the orphanage. Sister Helen was in the Medical Missionaries of Mary before retiring. She plays an active role in the Buddukiro Childrens Agency.

What an amazing lady! Born in Ireland, she spent most of her life in Tanzania before being told she was going to die of malaria. She moved to Uganda aged 60 and has been here ever since. She is now in her mid 70s and still alive and well.

She has spent her life working with people suffering from alcohol and drug addictions, but now primarily works with orphans and children found on the street that have been pushed out the family home by step mothers and fathers.

One story she told us was about an 8 year old boy who was living on the streets because his step mother said he was eating too much. I don’t think our children know how lucky they are……

Helen gave us plenty of food for thought.

Yesterday (Friday) Paul “I need a bank” Rowe, our project leader, had spotted a sign for an AIDS centre close by…. Close being the operative word!!

Whenever we stopped to ask someone the way it was always “Oh just down there near that group of people.” We passed quite a few groups of people before reaching our destination… and then it was closed!

Fortunately, a lady from the centre took us to meet the manager. We exchanged emails and hopefully will arrange for a future CWB trip to pay a visit and take a look around.

The centre primarily focussed on prevention and intervention for AIDS/HIV, as well as offering testing and counselling to those already affected.

Take note English children!! As we walked to the AIDS centre, which took us a good hour, we were aware that also walking along were children from the schools we had coached during the day. They do this 5 days a week – morning and afternoon. Wow!!

That’s me done, only 4 hours more to go in the mini bus. Nice views though. Just been told I’ve missed seeing a zebra while my head’s been down writing this 🙁