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A Boston Journalist…Part 7

Our last stop in Uganda turned out to be the highlight of the trip. After bidding the nuns goodbye, we headed west to visit St. Kizito’s School, the largest of the schools that GTL sends girls to and the crown jewel. It is the school where Sister Salome serves as principal. We have 65 girls there.

The school, located on a hill in the small village of Bethany, is really in the middle of nowhere and getting there was quite the adventure. The little dirt roads were certainly the worst we had encountered. The potholes were four feet wide and three feet deep. The school is about 50 miles from Kampala. It took about three hours to get there. But it was worth it.

On our last day, the school held a special Mass – and what a Mass it was. High energy music and dancing made it a fun event. Not what I was used to growing up Catholic, that’s for sure.

Later, we ate a sumptuous meal and then helped to feed the girls. We also were treated to a show, where the girls dressed up in grass skirts and native costumes and sang and danced. They also made us dance for them. That was embarrassing.

The day’s events also included a ceremony where the ashes of GTL’s founder, Roger Whiting, were buried in a field behind the school. Roger’s widow, Jeanne, flew in for the occasion. Then we all planted trees that were dedicated to each of us.

The girls were very outgoing and peppered us with questions. A lot of them wanted to know about snow. I showed them some pictures that were on my phone of the parking lot of my condo complex taken after a blizzard. Snow had been plowed into piles 10 feet high. I wish you could have seen their faces.

I was pretty much burned out before getting to St. Kizito’s — I was homesick and tired of riding in the van — but the day energized me. I was excited about getting back to Kenya — by air this time, thank God — and to visit a couple more schools and then take a one-day safari before flying home.

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