One walks into the Atin house and is rushed instantly with the sensation of love. It is present in every aspect of the lives that have been created within the walls of the spacious compound. Chelsea and Morris welcomed me to join them for a couple of days to enjoy the company of their six wonderful kids, matron and her son, Rasta the monkey, the two pooches and countless ducks and chickens. Needless to say, it was difficult to leave
Upon my arrival, there was a mix of curiosity and apprehension on the faces of most of the children. I was informed they do not receive many muzungu visitors. We walked to the “barber” for haircuts and as I stood outside chatting with Chelsea eyes would randomly slowly appear in the window and doorway checking me out. Once spotted, they would duck down. This happened randomly throughout the day. It was quite entertaining and interesting to see the different personality types coming out.
The next day, Sunday, I woke up to find a near empty, yet clean, house. Matron informed me all went for prayer, and encouraged me to join them at the church. I walked in, a bit confused as I did not see them, until I looked over to find them in the middle of the mob of singing dancing kids. They led me to bible study, and after a lecture by Richard to a room filled far beyond capacity, we walked home to eat and prepare for swimming.
Apparently, Sunday is swimming day. Chelsea brought out the bathing suits and the mass of us found bodas to take us to the pool. Before getting in, the pool attendant made sure to examine everyone, making sure they had no obvious…well I am not really sure what he was looking for, but it was quite annoying. He made Francis sit out, which he was not too happy about. So instead of swimming he got a soda- as did Zubedah because she was feeling a bit under the weather
I do have to say, it is extremely interesting observing the kids observe others. The pool is the happening place for the twenty hip menfolk of Lira. All of the boys exited the pool when it began to crowd, but none wanted to leave when asked. They just sat and watched, and watched. Even Francis, who had climbed to the top of the building just to sit and people watch. ..
I learned so much during my three days in Atin. But most of all, I learned that kids are kids. It is obvious that hard times have been had, and rough days for some have been lived through, but in the end a little TLC and a whole lot of love is the ultimate medicine and with the amount that is provided to them at Atin, they are overdosing on it. I left with love letters and happy notes in freshly learned print- ones that I will be sure to cherish for many days to come, as it is a blessing to have such a wonderful connection in such an unlikely place
Thank you everyone at Atin for sharing such a lovely weekend with me, thank you for sharing your joy and generosity!