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Swamp

Confessions of an Academic Pseudo-Giraffe
13.12.05  
Banulule
It had been a while since the last time we visited the Banulule School of Orphans. As we had some things to take there, and there were only the two of us, we had to go by car this time. Driving west from lower Muyenga through the narrow, bumpy street of red dirt, there’s a stage where the walls and big houses disappear, and the path (for that’s what the street has become by then) is lined by wooden shacks and other low buildings the colour of mud. That’s where the orphans live.

We parked next to the school lot, stunned after seeing that there were no longer any buildings in the little fenced area. A group of children was rapidly accumulating by the gate. Inside, there was nothing but a pile of bricks. The school was gone. “Sister?” Kaija asked. “Yes. Sister!” one of the kids gestured down the path. She took Kaija’s hand and off we went through the slum, with a few children in close contact, two white faces in a sea of locals. The little guides soon led us from the main path to a network of narrow passageways filled with nakes toddlers, chickens, and open sewers. After a couple of minutes, we found the Sister in a minuscule room with her two co-workers. Children were swarming everywhere, little ones carrying tiny ones. The welcome was as hearty as always.

The women explained that the Local Council had taken the former land. Apparently something is going to be built there. They had relocated to this cramped set of rooms, where they could just about fit the beds. There was no classroom. The school sign was leaning against a wall in the little open space between the huts; I hesitate to call it a courtyard. The Sister said there was a house available, but she would need seventy million shillings, half the total price, to be able to move there with the orphans. The house is nearby; we later visited it with the Sister.

One of the women walked with me to the car, and I drove back at walking pace via a longer, passable route, making sure I didn’t hit any buildings, animals, or charcoal fires. It was dinner time. The few kilos of potatoes, beef, and vegetables we brought won’t last long, but we decided to go back next week and bring sacks of rice, posho, and other dry food for Christmas. All the children’s clothes donated for Banulule by friends in Finland will certainly be in good use for as long as they last. If there was something in the boxes that the orphans at the school cannot use, I’m sure there will be another willing owner living within twenty metres.

Old Ones
helmikuuta 2004
maaliskuuta 2004
huhtikuuta 2004
toukokuuta 2004
kesäkuuta 2004
heinäkuuta 2004
elokuuta 2004
syyskuuta 2004
lokakuuta 2004
marraskuuta 2004
joulukuuta 2004
tammikuuta 2005
helmikuuta 2005
maaliskuuta 2005
huhtikuuta 2005
toukokuuta 2005
kesäkuuta 2005
heinäkuuta 2005
elokuuta 2005
syyskuuta 2005
lokakuuta 2005
marraskuuta 2005
joulukuuta 2005
tammikuuta 2006
helmikuuta 2006
maaliskuuta 2006
huhtikuuta 2006
toukokuuta 2006
kesäkuuta 2006
elokuuta 2006
syyskuuta 2006
lokakuuta 2006
joulukuuta 2006
tammikuuta 2007
helmikuuta 2007
huhtikuuta 2007
elokuuta 2007

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