There aren’t many words to express my feeling of gratitude, excitement and gratefulness to the Camp David team-US, we know there is work to do to keep building a future we can all be proud of, and we cannot do it, without people like you. I am inspired each day that Camp David International team have always worked selflessly to impact a child’s life.
On 23rdAugust, camp was officially opened, with both teams (Camp David and wells of hope team) arriving at the junior school at arriving at 5:30 pm. The team was greatly welcomed to the junior school with a dance performed by the pupils.
The team later met with the children, had praise and worship, Ben (Papa Big heart), who was the leader of the Camp David team, later introduced his team to the rest of the Wells of Hope team (children and staff). This was very exciting especially to the campers who could not wait to have the camp activity sparked off.
The following morning was characterized by excitement; there were 8 teams on ground,(pearls, Lions, Diamonds, Tigers, Panthers, Jades, Rubies and Crystals) and each team had counselors alongside to guide the campers through each day’s activities.
Remembering our first day for camp, my girls (the Pearls comprising the youngest girls) climbed a set of hurdles; I held onto two young girl’s hands, who fell sick on day one and two. I carried them along to the nurse each morning, afternoon and evening. The rest of the 9 girls followed as they swallowed up in mixed emotions for the two sweet sick ones, and yet the daily activities had to proceed for us. The two however were not ready to let go of the team members! Sickness would never cut them off the team, this was a great team spirit exhibited. I and the girls had each other’s back to the very end of the camp.
Being my first time for camp, though I was excited to meet the little girls (pearls),it was however a mixed emotion of nervousness and excitement because I dint know what, where, and how best I was supposed to handle the girls, at times I found it difficult to get to their best level of understanding. A team of 11 girls with different traits and personalities; friendly, shy, independent, caring, kind, stubborn all were different in their own ways but interesting at the same time. All these differences spiced up the kind of people I needed in a group. To me, my girls were best in everything, be it in their worst or best moments. I just had fun with them; laughing through each experience. We enjoyed each other’s presence, we took naps together, shared stories, talked about our fears, played together, cried together in moments of loss to the to the lions (the team with the youngest boys) , shared meals, talked about what makes us angry and how best we could help each other, shared our sorrow but later worked as team to finally beat the lions!
The camp activities helped to enhance positive impact in terms of building children’s confidence, self-esteem, team building, promoting creativity and above all feeling appreciated and loved as children. This was done through collective activities like celebration of the children’s birthdays. Both the children and the councilors/coaches and support staff were able to engage and interact with one another freely and happily without boundaries. Through camps as these, the children receive the benefits of spending time with different people, while the counselors feel responsible to create and sustain a secure attachment to children like never before. The support staff as led by Jackie Nakinda, Wells of Hope Ministries Admin Assistant, played a great role in welfare. All meals were well prepared and served on time throughout the camp. Time management was a great deal, the time keeper (Marjorie Lunkunse, Wells of Hope Ministries Deputy Executive Director; who was the Camp Director) was on point, as the bell was rung in time for change of activities. The media team (Lexi, Daniel; Mary and Rebecca, students from Wells of Hope High School) were seen running breathlessly giving their best to capture the moments through videos and pictures. They worked tirelessly to put all videos and photos together for a great moment to each camper.
With so much fun being experienced during the camp, my girls would continuously ask, “aunty Babra, are we going to have camp tomorrow as well?” This was a question asked as a result of enjoyment; the girls (pearls) asked it more often because they desired that camp continues. Aunty Kacie and Mama Rose (Grace Smith) were at the heart of the pearls. On several occasions, the girls kept asking me to take them see aunty Kacie and Mama Rose; Little did I know. I humbled myself to go by my girls’ request; I was overwhelmed by what I saw; “Thank you aunty Kacie for the sweets,” they said repeatedly on meeting aunty Kacie. On seeing Mama Rose, the children happily greeted her; while a few shyly stepped back speechlessly watching her beautiful smile as she interacted with them. When asked which team they were, they all replied in unison, “we are the pearls, adding, ever the best!”; this always made me feel so proud of my girls.
The pearls never let me down at any moment. My girls’ energy kept me going each day and night; even when it would seem so hard, they gave me the reason to try harder, picking me up from my bed each morning, giving me a push to the toilet, singing songs, telling me stories and asking me to dance for them.
There is a lot to talk about my sweet pearls, being my first camp that there was in my life, this I render the best thing that ever happened to me this year (2019)! Receiving the compassion award and having the pearls attain the best position of the little group, for me it was a great achievement 2019. I was thrilled by the fact that I could get to understand these children best as individuals, bond with them, share bed time stories with them; this was an opportunity for me to receive love from the little ones and be able to give back to my girls. These are among my best memories!
I refer to these girls as ‘my little bundles of joy’ I could never exchange the pearls for anything in this world! The relationship I had with my pearls was worthwhile.
To the Camp David team, your tireless effort to Wells of Hope Ministries is a great blessing to the children. This would not be possible without you friends; thanks to Camp David of the Ozarks for your generosity extended to create positive impact in the life of a child with a parent in prison in Uganda.
Written by: Babra Namutosi, Wells of Hope Ministries Asst Programs Coordinator