Benita is an 11 year old student in Primary 3 in the Kibaale Community School. She lives with her grandmother and 6 others siblings and cousins….. you see her parents are both dead. Her aunts and uncles are dead and the only person left is her 72 year old grandmother…. I sponsor her and have been supporting her with her studies for the past few years. When I was here in Kibaale last July…. I got to go and make a home visit and meet her precious grandmother…. that is when the picture was taken.

Now… that I am living in Kibaale for a year, I wanted to let her know that she is welcome to come and visit me. Since I did not know if she spoke English or not…. I arranged for one of the sponsorship office workers to translate for me…… Benita was very shy and never spoke a word except to quietly say her favourite class was English…. otherwise the ten or fifteen minute meeting was a dialogue from me. I gave her a bright pink rain jacket and a few of the pictures I took last year….. and she left.

About two days after…. it was Friday afternoon about 5 pm when I heard a light tap on my metal door and heard the words….”may I come in.” It was Benita…. to my surprise. She came with a friend. I welcomed them in and like a good hostess….offered the standard Ugandan “would you like a glass of water?” to which she shook her head. After providing them with water, I offered them some store bought packets of cookies and their faces gave forth a smile. A few minutes later, I saw a head popping up from behind my hedge…. guessing it was a friend of Benita’s asked her in and gave her a glass of water and a packet of cookies. Then I heard a loud voice at my door…. a young man was telling me he was Benita’s brother…. he also came for a visit… had a glass of water and numerous packets of cookies.. then with little or no words the four of them left.

The next day…. it was cool after the night rain…. and I saw the bright pink jacket coming across the field….. but it was not Benita who was wearing it but her brother.

Yesterday….. Friday afternoon….. I saw Benita staying at the end of my walkway trying to decide if she should come in or not…. I went out and invited her in… along with her friend…. then over the next few minutes one girl after another came to my door and in very quiet voices informed me that they were friends of Benita. In the end I had 10 little girls for water and cookies….. I tried to have a conversation but it just did not work…. then I asked them questions like ….. what is the colour of my top… or my skirt… then we counted and did the days of the week and months of the year….. so we had an English lesson and they laughed and drank all my boiled water…. but what an amazing hour visit. I was uncomfortable giving them more cookies so pulled out bread from my freezer and gave them bread, margarine and strawberry jam (from the Timothy Centre). Smiles were on everyone’s face.

My shy little friend has little and what she had seems to be shared with her other siblings and cousins…. but she has been able to come and visit the white mazungu lady…. Maybe one of these days, she will feel comfortable visiting on her own and speaking the little English she knows…..

I was blessed and I hope each of the girls were as well……