East Africa: Journal of a Return. Part 4

For a long time I toyed with the idea of going to my beloved East Africa one more time. This year it happened; from mid-September to mid-October I was in Kenya and Uganda. Thanks to my Mill Hill colleagues it was possible to visit all the places where I have ever lived and worked. It has become a beautiful, educational and rewarding journey.

Final part: Kisumu

And after having visited several out-stations, we went back to Jinja on October 7, where we spent one night before heading back to Kenya.

Of course I couldn’t skip Rangala. This is where my uncle worked as Mill Hiller in the 1940’s. The church has been nicely renovated and left exactly in its original state.

The Rangala baby home was renovated after a large piece of roof was blown away by a storm. Sister Mary Esther (Asumbi sister) is in charge. She remembered my uncle from the time he worked in Asumbi , where he left in 1972! Very special.

Back in Kisumu I visited KUAP, the project where I was active for 8 years in the street children programme. The Art School still has the same instructor, Dan Auma, who greeted me very enthusiastically and updated me in his office. There are quite a few financial concerns. The students were busy with their artistic creations, but still made time to chat.

Nyalenda, where the school is located, will become an independent parish. There are already 2 priests who have been appointed by the diocese. A few houses and a latrine have already been demolished, trees have been uprooted, because a large church must be built, said one of the priests I spoke to. When those houses were demolished, the roof of the Art School was damaged and therefore leaking. No one takes responsibility, so there is no repair. I fear that the Art School will also have to make way for the large church of the new parish. I couldn’t get any clarity on this.

Together with Dan I went to the Domestic School next door. We went to see if  there is room there for a new Art School to be built if it should disappear from Nyalenda.

Dan Auma and Corry

The Domestic School was still starting up after the holiday, which was planned differently this year due to the catch-up program of corona.

In Pandipieri 2 of the 4 kindergarten teachers were still the same as before and their warm greeting made me feel right at home with them. The classrooms have been refurbished and now have a solid ceiling and a tiled floor. The furniture also looked a bit newer.

The kindergarten teachers are still 100% involved with the children.

I did not get that experience in the street children project. A lot of staff sat there at the computer and most of the kids played outside; a few were chopping wood.

The toilets that were built around 2004 were in a terrible state, the library was a shambles and it looked like there was not much content available.

In the administration office I also found some of the former staff members, all of them engaged in computer work. I think it has all become much more businesslike. But nevertheless everything is still going on!

On Thursday, October 13, back to Nairobi, after a brief visit of the interior of Mill View Hotel.

I can look back on a wonderful journey with gratitude. Met so many friends and acquaintances, reminisced, shared their concerns and plans for the future.

In short, a wonderful way to end my East Africa period with a good feeling.

The realization that you cannot save the whole world has become even clearer to me, but the few seeds that I have been allowed to plant are sprouting here and there.

This beautiful experience makes me understand better and better the prayer that I received as a farewell when I left Karamoja in 2016:

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

And grant me the wisdom to know the difference.

Corry van den Bosch MHM

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