I have officially crossed the line when I think about Fred the Dog and when I am really missing him. I have caught myself longingly eyeing up the resident cats, stray dogs and even the odd chicken.
I am missing the quiet attention only a pet can give you. The silent walks when you have a company of your dog who loves you unconditionally.
The children cannot compete with that. They ask questions and want me to be engaged and play games and talk and play more games. By the time we walk back in the afternoon, we are both exhausted. Like empty batteries.
Don’t get me wrong, they are cute, loving and fun but I have to admit that I am in awe of Ellie, the American volunteer, who has been here for four months and still standing.
As for Susan, the mother of the orphanage, well, she is in a completely different league. But I guess, during her adolescence in Uganda (civil war, losing both her parents, being sold as a sex slave, almost dying of AIDS) she has known so much hardship that she looks at her busy mothering life as a blessing.
She looks after them all, helps them, disciplines them and loves them. She administers the drugs for the sick (about 15 are HIV positive) and feeds the babies. She teaches the older girls how to look after the children and she warmly welcomes visitors and makes them feel at home.
A remarkable lady with a remarkable life story. And on 1st December – The World AIDS Day – Susan and her wards will be at the celebrations at the boma field, talking about HIV, watching educational plays and music performances.
But today she is a student. Most of the donations that we got this year we used to buy a laptop, loaded with Microsoft office and antivirus and now she has to learn the challenges of Windows 10. Admittedly it’s a bit like the blind leading the blind (or rather the shortsighted leading the blind – I have been working with the system for a short time).
Susan is the school head teacher as well as a treasurer of the charitable trust running the orphanage so she is forever compiling reports and lists. So we are tackling Excel. Unfortunately for her, I am a bit OCD when it comes to excel tables so she has her work cut out. But she does her homework and takes notes, so there is hope for her yet.
I guess that anyone who can recharge their batteries like she does, can deal with Windows 10.