Yesterday I did not have a chance to go into much detail on the day... even now my computer battery is near dead so I'll be briefer than I would want to be.
Friday, we started at 7am heading down to Kibera slums and meeting early with our friends to prepare to go apply for birth certificates. We did not return back until 6om! A long day. The process is crazy - it had us travelling all over the city centre by bus, matatu, foot and even boda boda from office to office. The hoops they have to jump through and all the steps... crazy!! But after several hours of filling out forms with people who don't know their birthdate (trying to explain it's a specific date not just the year), their parents names, don't have an address and on and on. and lots of advocating for our friends (and only one visit from the police - ha ha) we were able to complete ELEVEN forms with all necessary copies, signatures, notarizing done... yay! At the final office, the staff had to look over each form and if the applicant had simply scratched something out and rewrote it above - they made them rewrite the whole form!! But our friends thought that was great and said it was because we were there advocating. Normally they would reject the form and make them go home and come back another day to submit it again. All forms have been looked over by the staff and everything is now there - but the offices were then closed. Monday they simply (or so we hope!) have to go submit them now. Here's hoping!! Here's a few photos of the adventure... (all on iphone for this part...)
Some of the boys... love how everyone wore their very best clothes. These guys look GOOD. Most of the time I feel like a sister to them - but when we walked in and saw them looking so handsome I felt more like a proud mama.
And some faces it's hard to say goodbye to....
Then we got back to our hotel around 7pm - with a taxi taking us to the airport at 8:30pm!! We quickly threw everything into our bags, showered, made last minute arrangements for a few things and had Jack deliver one last shipment of jewelry! We then flew out to Uganda. Arrived around midnight - and early this morning started the trek North to Gulu. Things to know - I hate, hate, hate Kampala traffic. I love Gulu. Getting out of the big city and driving through rural Africa is amazing. Gulu is where I first fell in love with Africa. I remember reading a travel book before I went on my first trip to Africa and it said "you would have to be suicidal to visit Gulu" and we had to sign waivers to go there with the organization we were with. So I was scared - but it's actually an amazing place. The memories of the war with Kony still makes it a bit raw here - but I love it here. Here's a few images from the HOT dusty drive up with our hilarious driver Godfrey.
Then you get to the Nile river and you know you're getting close!! And there's always baboons along the Nile which is fun to see. Creepy but fun.
And then we finally arrived in Gulu!!! I haven't been here since November 2012 - and yet it all came back to me. I hadn't booked a hotel (whoops) but was able to direct the driver right to the hotel I had stayed at in June 2012!
We cleaned up quickly and went to the end of a launch party for the fashion designer, Ketty, we came to meet with here in Gulu. She's designing purses for us - but she was having a launch party for her fashions - so gorgeous! A DJ, live painting, the best crowd ever and so many incredible fashions!! I also met with some vulnerable women who make paper bead necklaces that are ah-may-zing and who I am meeting with again tomorrow. Here is the amazingly talented Ketty - and then a few more from the night!
Can not wait for a full day in Gulu tomorrow and meeting with all these incredible women.... on INTERNATIONAL WOMEN"S DAY!!