Here is a description of a visit to EDAPO in 2013. Enjoy learning more about this very sincere project to look after these orphans.
We bumped and dodged along the road on the outskirts of Kampala. Everything looks different along the way. Not like I remember it. Until we get to the place where city folk have built brick weekend bungalows, all shut up tight as it’s a week day.
As we turn down a dirt lane, the school emerges from the vegetation – low and plain. Children must be waiting inside the board structure. Finally, we stop at the EDAPO office. Mr. Kato has built an elaborate tree house. We climb up to inspect. It’s marvelous! There are pictures on the wall, including one of us from a previous visit to the area. He even raises rabbits up there. How does he keep the children out of the tree house? “They just don’t go,” I’m told.
After a short welcome in the EDAPO office with Mr. Mugabe and the TM teachers for this area, Madam Kichoncho and Mr. Barugahare, we walk over to the school. There is a small child crying loudly in the middle of the field. Madam Grace, headmistress, whom I have not seen in more than three years, accompanies me and gently calls out to the child. Some other adult comes out of the school to calm the crying child.
We step over the path marked by pieces of brick which is used for Word of Wisdom. Sorry that we have missed seeing that in person. It must just melt the heart.
The simple school building is full of children and adults (at the back) who have been waiting for us, who knows how long? They seem happy to see us – novelty of seeing “mugeesu” (white people), I guess. More of the TM teachers are with the group. We are seated at the front along with the leaders of EDAPO. There is the banner of welcome to us and a small cake for the ceremony.
Mr. Barugahare, who also teaches social studies and mathematics at the school, is Master of Ceremonies. We begin with speeches and singing of the Uganda National Anthem. It is great to see how proud they are of their school uniforms which Mrs. Barugahare has made. Some of the children are in special pull over shirts that the choir wear.
The choir has really come together since my husband heard them in February. Some of these kids have quite a bit of stage presence. Their voices are sweet and unstrained. Of course they move and have some drumming behind them. Everyone wants them to do well – and they do!
We cut cake and light candles. Everyone is recognized, but only the special guests get cake. Next time we’ll take a big sheet cake so that everyone may have.
The adults are so committed to the children. I can’t imagine any biological parents being more so. It is really so inspiring. Mark Mugabe is a brilliant promoter of this project. Grace Nankya is so gracious and she had foregone a government pension to lead this school. The school could be eligible for government support once it has proper permanent structures to house the classrooms.
EDAPO is really an inspiration.