It was a great and moving experience - despite the relaxed African-style time-keeping which we Mzungus (whites) sometimes find hard to acclimatize to!
As well as all the invited guests, there was a large bunch of the street kids themselves. After the ceremonies and all the speeches and choirs, the food was served (the best bit, as far as the boys were concerned!) and Mary and I were able to chat with the boys - at least, those who could speak English. Here she is with one bunch of them!
The building is in fact not completely finished - there is still a good deal of plastering to be done, which I guess will take another month or two. But the boys are still using it! Here are four of them in the doorway:
During the lengthy proceedings, the boys - being boys - got bored, and all disappeared inside the Hostel. That was fine with me (even if they missed my brilliant speech as a result!), as it meant they "owned" the Hostel, and regard it as their place. And that is what it's about.
Here is one of the three choirs who entertained us that day:As always, the singing and dancing was great.
The Guest of Honour was a very important politician, the Assistant RDC, Kasese, Mr. Muhindo Aminadabu. He even arrived with an armed guard. ("RDC" is Resident District Commissioner, a representative from the president's office to the district.)After his speech, he went to cut the tape across the doorway.
Mary and I joined him for this - the scissors were useless!
But a high point for me was meeting Ashiraf (see earlier post) who four years ago touched our hearts with his words about the life of a street child. He had forgotten about it! But when I gave him the photocopy of his address, he remembered. "You were part of God's plan!" I told him. "This building is here because of what you said that day!"More soon!