White Bred and Butter

Growing up in a large family that ran around the world in the 60’s and 70’s, we had enough. How is enough defined? Not toys, bikes, games, 4 seasons of clothes, candies and cookies.

Enough =Food, Shelter and Security. My family were diplomats and so we lived in various countries with all the basic necessities. As kids, my mother always said “If you are hungry, eat bread and butter”. Hated that response.

Fast forward forty years…..Uganda on a Sunday. A workday for me, as my Internship site is a church and school. Sending off the Senior 4 Students to two weeks of exams, the 300 person congregation was particularly passionate this day. And we had electricity! Singing was accompanied by a keyboard and microphones making the building buzz with humongous harmony and ecstasy. Ushered to a place on the stage –I had planned to hide in the back– and after summoned to give a speech–I had two seconds to plan, and chose gratitude of Ugandan teachers and culture as my topic–I planned my getaway.

My getaway was to a commitment. In all of my research on WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and workshops throughout the week, I discovered that this particular Sunday is also Global Hand Washing Day. Well, I said…we have to participate! I scrambled to put a little program together, and thanks to my assistant Ernest, a program was created. The Sunday School class of 30 preschoolers had gathered in teams around 6 buckets of soapy water. Under the raindrops and darkening skies, we washed our hands while singing the ABC Song. I then marched over to the pit latrines where Ernest had installed for me a Tippy Tap–two sticks connected by a rope, a jug of water hanging. I busted all of the teenagers that didn’t stop at the station.

The spirited congregation didn’t stop there. Parading through Mbiko village, 20 of the Zion Group descended upon an ill member, bringing good cheer and fellowship and small funds. In typical Ugandan custom, we shared tea, white bread and Blue Band butter, filling our tummies and hearts. A full day at the office.



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