Rain, rain, go away

Today it was raining, again.  Its been raining nearly every day for 2 months now.

That's why Uganda is so lush and green - they say you can put a stick in the ground and it will grow!

Unfortunately for most of the families we support in Bwaise slum, the rains are not so welcome. Bwaise is swamp; people build their homes here as they can’t afford to live anywhere better.

I've just got back from visiting Marvin, he is my favorite guide through the slums and he wanted to show me the worst hit areas.

He took me to John Kakooza's house. Both Marvin and John are part of Awamu's education project.

Marvin loves telling me about school and how he wants to go to university to study accountancy.  He lives with his grandma Regina, she is 65 and the sole provider for their household of 15 people.

We made this little video to give an idea of what it's like in Bwaise right now.

The smell is disgusting - like the toilets on the last day of Glastonbury festival and water is everywhere. Nobody in the slum has a toilet of their own, some families like Jon's share the cost of building one with their neighbours but most people use the public toilets at a cost of 200 schillings a time or defecate in a bag.

As horrible as this sounds, you get a lot more privacy in your own home than you do in the public loos.

As we moved further towards the river, the bottom of the swamp, you can see that the majority of homes are flooded inside. These are the poorest dwellings and where the majority of out children live.

Many live in temporary structures, families use will sleep in a flooded house because they have nowhere else to go.

As I write this it reminded me of a video we made with Brendon after some sever flooding. Thankfully, with some income generation support Brendon's family has been able to rebuild their home at a higher level.

But many people just don't have the means to escape.  They live day by day, just searching for enough money to be able to make a meal.

I feel angry and sad that the dwelling situation has not changed for many over the past five years I've been visiting - some drainage has been built by the government but no where near enough.

The kids we work with have so much stacked against them with malnutrition, some with HIV, lack of scholastic materials, poor schools, massive unemployment and living in flooded dirty slums.

I am completely in awe of every one of our children for their resilience and warmth in the face of adversity.

Every day those that have the opportunity go to school with such positivity and drive to learn and improve their situation, support their family and community.

I'm not religious but I can't find a better word than 'blessed' - which is what is feel every time I meet up with Marvin, John, Jaliya or any of the children in our project.

This year we want to give our children an extra special treat – away from the filth and contamination of Bwaise.

We’ve planned to escape the slums for a day to somewhere they can run around, play games and dance. We'll have cake (of course!) a decent hot meal, a small gift for each child to make them feel special and a small food package so they can eat over Christmas.

We work with 100 children and we think we can lay all this on for £850 - that is just £8.50 per child.

Can you spare £8.50 to give a vulnerable child a chance to escape the slums for a day?

Best wishes,