Ray of Hope’s children enjoy a day out
Visit to Jinja and the Source of the Nile
To call it a ‘day out’ is to underestimate the significance of the day in the minds of the children. If you think of ‘holiday’ and a year’s weekend treats all rolled into one, then you will have a better understanding of what a ‘day out’ means to Ray of Hope’s children. We are very grateful to our Friends at Ballard School in New Milton for once again funding this treat. The children at Ray of Hope are aware that they enjoyed this day thanks to the generosity of the parents, teachers and children at Ballard – in the picture above the children are holding Ballard School’s pennant.
It was a two-hour bus ride to Jinja and the Nile, made even longer by the three traffic police roadside inspections we had en route – incredibly, despite the obvious mechanical flaws in our aged bus, the driver was at each checkpoint allowed to continue without any penalty!
We arrived at the Nile
Despite the long drive the children were excited to be out of Kampala – a ‘first’ for most of them. Our first stop was the Falls where the Nile exits Lake Victoria. Although not a long-drop falls, they are nonetheless dramatic in their flow and obvious power. The hi-light for the children was when we agreed to pay a local man to launch himself into the white water holding on to just a plastic Jerry can – health and safety doesn’t apply in Uganda! Despite disappearing in the foaming water for many seconds, the young man survived, and to our relief climbed ashore below the falls. From the Falls we moved on to the Nile, leaving the white water behind and seeing instead the beginning of the great river itself. We learnt that some of Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes were cast into the river Nile – as they were into a number of the world’s great rivers – and this event is commemorated with a statue and plaque at the spot we visited. Before leaving for Jinja and lunch we bought the children an ice cream. When asked later what the best part of the day was, they were unanimous in saying that it was the man jumping into the falls and the ice cream – that’s children for you!
It could always be argued that a day out was a luxury that perhaps we should not have given the children when there is such desperate need in their community, but this money was given for that purpose and the day out enriched their young lives. Having only previously seen their country from the perspective of the slums, they now know that they have a beautiful land, green and lush, and a place to be proud of – what price for such childhood memories?
Steve & Liz