I felt that it was time to sponsor a child that was not as fortunate as our family. That was back when I was a young mother to my three children, two at primary school and one in my arms. Through a well-known charity I was introduced to Aaron Zziwa. He was only seven years old. He lived with his mother and his brother Ivan in Uganda. As the years progressed we wrote to each other and sent each other little drawings and photos. Aaron finished primary school and then he went to secondary school. When he finished this the fund suggested that I sponsor another child but I explained that I thought education was the way to change lives like Aaron’s and I wanted him to attend tertiary education.
The charity was not interested in helping me organise this, unfortunately. Aaron and I ended up emailing each other and I paid the College directly for his tuition. He studied Business at Makere Business College. During this time he decided he was interested in films. Now he has been involved with Africa Films making a few productions. So far the pay has not been amazing but he is hopeful of a bright future.
During the time when we wrote to each other by email I also set up a Facebook page for him and he is now friends with my family via Facebook. He is also “friends” with lots of other people from all over the world. We became much closer as we learnt more about eachothers lives. There are huge differences in the way we live but somehow a motherson love has developed. He has made me laugh many times and I have done the same for him. Once I sent him a parcel with a toothbrush and toothpaste, some hot chocolate, a mug and some marshmallows. When he received it, Aaron thanked me profusely and then said “but what are those squishy white things? Do we put them in our ears?”
Aaron tells me about his community and his ups and downs. That is why this time when I told Aaron I was travelling to France and he asked if I could visit him I thought… maybe I will. Now on August 30th my husband and I are heading off to Uganda to meet Aaron for the first time. To be honest I am quite nervous. I don’t want to disappoint Aaron, who now calls me Mum as his mother passed away eleven years ago. He intends on taking me to the area of Kampala where he lives but has warned me that it is nothing much. I have packed some Caramelo Koalas and Australian toys to hand out to the kids.
We are also going to visit the Mountain Gorillas. This safari takes a few days so we will head off from Kampala and Aaron and then spend time with him again when we get back. The Bwindi Forest holds some of the last Mountain Gorillas in the world. Tourists travel up the mountain through the jungle with guides clearing a path into the area where the Gorillas are. Small groups of about eight are allowed one hour with a group of gorillas and by all accounts it is an unforgettable experience. I am hoping I will see a silverback beat his chest for me.
We will travel from there to a few other parks of interests and then back to Kampala for two more nights before continuing our journey to France. Saying goodbye will be very difficult.
I feel lucky to have met Aaron and shared his journey to adulthood. I will stay in contact with him for the rest of my life.
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Jacqui Loves food, cooking it, eating it, reading about it. The colour of it, the presentation. The history behind it. Everything about food! Follow Jacqui on Twitter @everydaycook. She blogs temptations over at Everydaycook
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