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Ssiiba Ssatu (Day 3) - UP and UP and UP the Mountain! by Erin and Emma Hall

For some of us, our day began at 3:00 am with a wake up call from a rooster! We had a wonderful breakfast of fried, scrambled, Spanish (or maybe spinach? none of us were quite sure which word our server was saying) eggs, toast, and the most wonderful selection of fresh pineapple, watermelon and passion fruit.

After breakfast we met Tonia and Cobbs, the directors of Hope Community School, a local nursery and primary school that Cobbs founded in 2015 for local children who would otherwise not be able to attend school in their community. Before leaving to go visit the school, Tonia and Cobbs assured us the school was not very far up the mountain. As we walked to the school, we enjoyed some of the most beautiful views we had ever seen.

We were surrounded by hillsides upon which every available piece of the terraced mountain was covered with vegetable gardens and a rainbow of colorful wild flowers. Two miles (...not very far is definitely a relative concept) later, we made it up the hilly road to the school!

We toured the campus and were impressed with the biogas latrine and the sustainable vegetable garden which the children learn to care for as part of their curriculum. When we visited the classrooms, the children greeted us with songs of welcome. Then the real fun began when we coordinated sports and other games for the children. The children enjoyed the parachute activity, and we taught them some new games that everyone had fun playing such as Red Rover, Simon Says and Duck, Duck, Goose.

Though tired after several hours of activity at 6,000 feet, we were sad to leave the happy students. After our 2 mile return trip back to Karungi Camp, we had another great meal for lunch before visiting two local empowerment training programs, a wood carving program for men and a basket weaving and crafts program to help provide a livelihood for HIV positive women! Several of our team members supported the men and women by purchasing some of the beautiful crafts and carvings. Emma requested a special carving of a cheetah keychain, though she won’t be driving anywhere on these mountainous roads!

Before dinner we were treated (though somewhat surprised) by a group of young school children who came to sing and dance for us for about 20 minutes. The children were very talented and showcasing their skills to raise money for their school books and shoes.

It was a wonderful day!

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