Nyenga Children’s Home houses 22 children at the moment. For these children the children’s home is where their day-to-day life unfolds.
Nyenga Children’s Home consists of 4 buildings: a common house, a house for the boys and one for the girls, in addition to a storage house. The common house, located between the girls’ and the boys’ house, consists of a common room, a kitchen, and a storage room for the kitchen. Most of the food is prepared in the kitchen, in addition to an outdoor kitchen that is frequently used. Right outside the common house there is a patio where the children often play.
The girls’ and the boys’ house is where the children and caretaker sleep. There are two bedrooms with bunk beds for the children in each house. The adult caretaker has an own bedroom. These houses also have closets, a shower, a toilet and some sinks. Even though there is a toilet in each of these houses, it is the outdoor toilet behind the boys’ house that’s mainly used.
The house for storage lies behind the boys’ and the common house. Clothes, toys, tools for the farming, etc. are kept here.
School, play and chores
What is a normal day like for the children? The oldest children attend school Monday through Friday. They get up early in the morning. Sometimes the bed linen has to be washed, they have to get ready for school, put on their school uniforms and eat breakfast. Then it is off to a new day at school.
Some of the children at finished with school at noon and come home for lunch. Usually a dish consisting of poscho and beans is served. Poscho is made of corn flour mixed with water. This looks like mashed potatoes, but is much stiffer and has hardly any taste.
Between lunch and dinner there is time to play, but there are also chores that have to be done. This can be doing the dishes after lunch, helping out in the fields or washing clothes. Everyone has to wash his or her own school uniform. A clean uniform in school is expected and the children show up in stainless uniforms the next day.
Ugandan children play like other children. Lego brought from Norway is popular! They also like playing hopscotch and Chinese jump rope. There is a swing and slide at the children’s home. This is a lot of fun!
Nyenga Children’s Home has its own kindergarten. This is for children from both the orphanage and the neighborhood who are not old enough to attend school. In kindergarten the children get some simple teaching. They are introduced to the alphabet, numbers, figures and similar topics. After class they can play. Before they go home the children get a cup of corn flour porridge. For many of the children in the neighborhood this meal is of importance. With the cup of porridge they get some nutrients, while at home they in many cases do not receive a similar meal.
What do we eat?
Even though peanuts, tea and corn flour is common in Norway, this does not mean that Ugandans eat the same food as Norwegians. Breakfast is a relatively light meal; a cup of tea and some peanuts.
It is normal in Uganda to have mainly two meals: lunch and dinner. These meals consist in return of big portions. The lunch provides energy to continue working and the dinner will provide new energy after a long day of work.
At Nyenga lunch is served around one o’clock, while dinner is at around seven o’clock. The meal served at dinner is the same as what is made for lunch. During the weekdays lunch often consists of poscho and beans. Poscho is replaced by sweet potatoes if these are harvested. Sometimes spinach, avocado or peanut sauce will be served together with this. Fish is also served. Then it is Tilapia or silverfish that is prepared.
The Ugandans like to celebrate special occasions with special food. A hen or goat is might be slaughtered. The meat will then be fried or boiled (or both) and served with potatoes, rice and a stuffing made of bananas; matooke. This tastes good! Potatoes are considered a delicacy in the area where Nyenga is located and only served during special occasions.