Sunday, July 31, 2011

Boatneck Top

I bought Christine Johnson pattern 311 for the boyfriend jacket, but it also came with a nice little boat neck shell. I decided to give it a shot. A couple of weeks ago I ordered a few 1 yard pieces of ITY knit from just to make some tanks and tops to wear under jackets or alone.

This was super simple to make - only a front and back piece. The armholes and neck edge are just turned under and stitched. I did this on my coverstitch, but I still don't have enough confidence with that to just turn and stitch so I pressed all the edges under first. This took a bit of time since polyester doesn't press well unless you use a clapper or something similar.

I'm finally figuring out to look at clothes that I already have and like to get some measurements from . This is what I did on this one.

To get the correct size, I took my fabric and wrapped it around me to the desired ease. I then measured the fabric edge and this became my finished bust circumference.

To get the hip size, I took a favorite top and measured the width. I also measured the length from the armscye down to make sure it would be long enough. I think I added 4" to this pattern. I also liked the wider hem on my RTW top, so I added enough to make a 2" hem on this top.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with the result and will probably wear it to work tomorrow. That's right, I go back to work (officially) tomorrow. Kids don't come until Thursday, but our district starts ridiculously early. I still need more summer vacation!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pants fitting

If you have not been watching the webcasts by Peggy Sager, you are really missing out. I hadn't been interested because I thought the patterns looked dated, but somehow I stumbled across the pants fitting one and was VERY impressed. She also explains how to get the look you want (style) from the basic pattern once you get the fit right. So don't be fooled by the envelope pictures! You can see past webcasts (and there are a lot - and they're free!) at Scroll down and click on the link for webcasts. I am trying to follow her method as I make this muslin.

I am using the Sally pant as my base pattern. Now, I would never have chosen this style based on the envelope picture, but this is her basic fit pattern, so I decided to start with that. Also, she makes 2 different versions of this in the webcast, and they both look very different. Peggy Sager uses finished measurements for her patterns - not body measurements. You take your hip measurement then sit down. It will spread a couple (or a few) inches. This is the measurement you use to determine your size.

I then took a pair of my favorite fitting pants and measured the circumference at the thigh (at the crotch), the knee, and the hem. I also measured the crotch to knee and the inseam and wrote all these measurements down. I then compared them to the pattern. This pattern has a very narrow width at the hem, but at the above ankle length, which is how I want to make them, they were the same as my pants. All of the measurements for the size 14 lined up with my pants, so that is the size I will start with.

First, cut out the pattern in muslin and mark the grain line, darts, center front and back. Silhouette patterns use 3/8" seam allowances, so I marked this with pen just on the CF. Oh, I usually have to raise the waist on pants because of a low, flat butt, so I added 1" to the top. Sine the pattern is designed for someone 5'8" tall, most people would not have to do that. I am only 5'6, but I added it to be safe. It is a muslin, so I will cut it off if it is not needed.

Next, sew the darts in front and back. Then sew the rest of the pants together except for the CF seam. I sewed about 3 inches past the crotch point.

End of session one! (Actually, I had a hair appointment, so this is when I stopped!)

Session Two:

I tried on the pants (or tried to) but they were way too small. First of all, I made the mistake of not measuring the hip measurement on my RTW pants or the Waist! Duh... I should have cut a 16 or 18! But the most foolish thing I did was to not TRACE my pattern first, so now I have not 16 or 18 left on the pattern. There are other pattern pieces with the "W" sizes, but the waist would be way too big on me.

So, the next thing I did was to measure the gap in the front to get the Center Fronts to match. It was 4" This means that I have to add 1" to each front and back piece. I cut the muslin from hem to waist between the darts and the side seams. The reason I did not cut it up the middle is because the darts should be 4-5 inches away from the CF and I did not want to have to reposition the darts should this work. For my muslin, I only did the correction on one leg front and back to see the difference.

Well, now the CF comes to my center, but it is still too tight. Might be OK in a heavy stretch twill, but not in any kind of light weight fabric. So now, I'm thinking, "What do I do?" I could add another 1/2" to each piece, or I could cut the W size and try to grade it down. Either way, I think I would lose the integrity of the lines of the pattern. Since this pattern happens to be the "fit" pattern for all of the other pants in the Silhouette line, I wanted to make it right. I contacted Peggy Sager asking what the best way to approach it would be, and she graciously offered to send me another pattern at no charge and suggested to make the 18 and then work from there. I am anxiously awaiting the new pattern and want to really get a pant with a good fit. So far, I really like these, but they are just too tight. I am seriously wanting to get Peggy's complete set of DVDs and will probably do it right after payday. In the meantime, I am going to watch all of her webcasts. I have found them very informative and inspiring.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I Should Start Listening to Myself - Vogue 8495

For some reason, I have been having a lot of headaches recently. I've always had migraines, but not usually so many in the summer. (Actually, I was hoping that the recent hysterectomy would have rectified that!) Anyway, I have told myself numerous times that I should not sew when I have a headache. It usually ends up in one problem or another.
Well, I cut out Vogue 8495 yesterday and I wanted to get it sewn up. I woke up with a headache today, but it didn't seem that horrible, so I went ahead. I had everything cut out to make view C with the collar and sleeves. I laid out my pattern carefully and had all of my border prints the way I wanted them.

This pattern has you do a weird thing with the yoke lining. You sew the front yoke and lining together and then the back yoke and lining together. Then, you join the yokes at the shoulders and slipstitch the inside shoulderseam. I have made sleeveless dresses that were lined with this same method, but have never liked the results. The stitching never seems to stay secure at the shoulder and you don't get a nice smooth curve. But, it had been a long time since I had done this so I decided to give it a go. Well, I got all of this done and the yoke sewn to the bodice, and all of the hand stitching when I realized - I was following the directions for view A (no sleeves or collar) and had enclosed the neck and armholes, so it was too late to put them in!! I must remember not to sew when I have a headache!

The top came out OK, but it is a little tight across the front where the yoke meets the bodice. I think the problem is because the armholes are too high. So, tonight I took out the bias binding, undid the yoke and recut the armholes. I only lowered them 1/4 inch, but I think that will be enough. It felt better when I tried it on, but maybe I will wear it tomorrow after church and see how it feels. Oh, yeah, you can probably tell by this picture that I still have the headache.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Uganda part 6 - School in Uganda

I know I've posted about schools in Uganda before, but being a teacher, I am always amazed at the conditions of the schools. We complain about the number of students we have and the condition of our classrooms, but there is no comparison to the schools in the villages or the cities.

The cities have somewhat better school buildings, but it all depends on where you go to school. All schools are "pay" whether you go to private or public. Apparently there are very few public schools and they are in worse shape than the ones I will show you here! This year I did not visit any of the city schools, but I did get to visit the school in Busanna and peek in at the classrooms in Kasana since they were right next door to where we were sewing (in the church)

Many of the schools in Uganda are owned by one church or another. There are many Muslim schools, and they offer some tuition-free schools in order to build up their "clientele". There are also a lot of Christian schools and then schools that teach both Muslim and Christian theology (I don't see how that happens)

Teachers are allowed to beat the children. However, you never see any discipline problems and all of the students are quiet and attentive. Even with 50+students in a classroom! It is my understanding that many of the teachers in Uganda are working for free right now and many have not been paid in 2 years! I don't know if this is only in the villages, or in the cities as well. The pastor of the church in Kasana is also a fourth grade teacher, so I am going to try to get some pen-pal letters going with my students as soon as school starts.

Most of the schools in Uganda do not have books. Can you believe it? One school I visited a couple of years ago in Kampala had a whole room full of books, but there were no class sets of anything, so they really couldn't be used for instructional purposes. The students have composition books and copy whatever the teacher writes on the board. The teachers do not even have teacher's manuals. School in the city starts at 7am and goes until 5pm. Many of the schools are boarding schools, so even though the parents may live in the same city, the children would live at the school. Students start in "baby class" at age 3 and they have a shorter day - they only go until 1:00. I think the shorter day goes all the way up to second grade. In the villages some of the schools get out earlier, like at 2:00, but it just depends on the age of the students and the village. Many go until 4.

The students put on an assembly for us. Here they are lining up

We don't have any of these at my school. When the director saw me taking a picture of the goat, he asked me why. I said, "We don't keep goats at our school" He laughed and said, "These goats do not belong to the school! They belong to a neighbor. We are just keeping them here" (oh, that explains it.)

I am getting ready to start school again. Our teachers go back on August first and the students come on the fourth. I will not have 50 students in my class. I will have desks, books, and teachers manuals. I will get paid. I will have to remember these things when I am going crazy and feeling all of the stress and pressure that our schools have today!

I have more pictures here if you are interested.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Uganda part 5 - shopping in Jinja

This is a typical scene on the street of any "city" in Uganda. Shops are very small, very close together, and you might find the weirdest combination of items in any one store. Some stores are definitely specialty shops and might just sell paper, or electronics, or shoes (generally used).

The streets are busy and crowded, but Jinja is a bit of a respite from shopping in a big city like Kampala. I liked shopping in the bigger city, but my friend Karen says she'd rather shop in a town where you don't have to take you life in your hands just to cross the street. Actually, that's not an exaggeration. The cars in Kampala drive FAST, about 6" between them - and I mean front to back and side to side! Also, they don't care if they hit you, and many men will yell out to you, whistle, or call you names. Not pretty. Jinja is much more mild in that respect, but again, it is much smaller. That also means there is less selection and things are a bit more expensive. We were fortunate to find this shop owned by an Indian man. He was very nice and when he found out that we were buying fabric for the villages and to sew for children, he was compassionate. He gave us the best price of any other shop we'd been to by far. The "cotton" that we bought there was about 15,000 Ugandan shillings for a 6 meter piece. That means it was a little under $1.00 per yard! The reason I put "cotton" in quotation marks is because they always insist it is cotton. This is a thinner material than the wax-print and I believe it is part polyester. I like it though because the dress I'm wearing in the picture is made of that fabric. It does not wrinkle, but was cool enough to wear. The wax print was a little more expensive, and I actually just prewashed some and have it on my cutting table.

We took our friend Betty with us while shopping - which you must do in Uganda. There are 2 prices for everything. The regular price and the Muzungu (white person) price. They don't try to hide it. It's just a fact, you are Muzungu, you pay more. Also, you MUST bargain your prices. If you don't, they will consider you a fool and really take advantage of you. If a shop owner is unwilling to bargain, they are "rude" and you can tell them so. I'm glad we had Betty with us.

We ended up having to go back to this shop and buy more fabric. We did not have Betty with us, but fortunately for me, the man remembered me and still gave me the same good price on the fabrics. Oh, and I was telling you that there are weird combinations of things in the shops? Well, this shop sold beautiful fabrics and soccer balls!!! Go figure.

In Uganda there are basically 5 types of fabric.

  1. Sequined and embroidered fabric - there are a lot of Muslim and Indian people in Uganda. These fabrics are typically used for their traditional dress.
  2. Polyester charmeuse - this fabric is used for the traditional "Gomez" Ugandan dress. This is incredible for me since we all know how hot polyester is. Also, the Gomez uses about 6 meters to make. It is layers upon layers.
  3. Kitenge fabric. This is the beautiful wax print fabric that is used to make the 2 piece dresses that more of the "modern" girls will wear. I believe this style actually comes from Kenya.
  4. The "cotton" which I believe is polyester. This is more "affordable" and comes in the same beautiful prints as the kitenge fabric
  5. The solids and other print fabric that is lighter weight. This is more of a broadcloth type fabric and is mostly used to be tied around the waist over the nicer clothes. Sort of like we would use an apron. This is sold in 4 meter lengths where all of the above fabrics are sold in 6 meter lengths. I bought some of this fabric the first year I went to Uganda, and although I really liked the print, I hated the fabric. It was off grain and never would hang straight. I ended up giving that skirt to the Good Will!
I did this year find one place that sold wool and twill for men's trousers, but I think you have to look deep to find that stuff. It always amazes me that in that heat so many wear long pants, long sleeves and even sweaters and jackets. Even though it was much cooler this year, it was still in the 80s every day and humid.

M5586 for me this time

I loved my daughter's top so much, and since the pattern was already on the cutting table, I decided to make one for myself. This version is made out of a rayon crepe. The print is pretty busy, so I used a solid rayon/linen blend for the yoke. I like the contrast.

There were a few things I did differently on this one. I cut the yoke a straight 10 on this one, but left the body back an 8 and the front a 10. I did not have to do a FBA since it is so full in the front, but I did widen the hips out a bit. I did not use the "maternity adjustments" that I did on Grace's top :-)

On this version I used bias tape to finish the armholes and

used the blind stitch function on my machine to do the hem.

Yesterday was my birthday, so my son Nick came down from Fresno and we all went out to our favorite little place for Teppanyaki. We had a great day.
Uh,, you can't tell that these two are brother and sister, can you? I think they're gorgeous, but I AM a little biased!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Uganda part 4 - the trouble with treadles

While we were in Uganda, we bought 2 sewing machines. Both of them are treadles. Since there is no electricity in the villages (and even it the cities it is very unreliable - more on that later) treadles are the best bet for sewing of any kind. You see them everywhere. Apparently, they still make new treadle sewing machines in China or someplace and send them to third world countries. The machines (with cabinets) ended up costing us about $100 apiece. There was no choice over make and model - you take whatever they have. The machines we got are singers and very pretty. Unfortunately, it seems they are pieces of you know what.

So, since we missed our shopping day in Kampala (lots of flight problems, delays, and cancellations) we ended up doing our shopping in Jinaja. This actually ended up working out better because we had to take BOTH machines back and get them replaced. Jinja is much closer to where we were than Kampala.

We struggled with one of the machines all day the first day of sewing, and discovered that there was a mechanical problem with it. Florence has some experience with machines, so she figured this out. We took that machine back and borrowed another machine from a tailor in the village. (The term tailor is loosely used - in Uganda, anyone who sews is a tailor.)

On the third day, we couldn't get either of the machines to work. We had a sewing machine mechanic come over and we worked on the machines all morning. The one we bought also had a mechanical problem (different than the first one) and had to be returned. The one we borrowed kept jamming.

If you've ever sewn on a treadle machine, here's the problem You have to get the machine going forward. I know this sounds simple, but when you are working that treadle, it can start off going backworkd. So, you spin the fly wheel toward you and start peddling. This makes the machine go forward. An experienced treadler can keep it going forward. I am not experienced. The ladies I work with are more experienced than I am in using this kind of machine, but still considered "learner." When learners are using the treadle, we tend to let our feet slow down or stop when coming to a curve, corner or end of a seam. Then, when we start sewing again, this makes the machine go backward. Of course, then we hit the flywheel to make it go forward, which it does - until it jams. This is hard on the machine and causes problems. I think we spend more time fixing the machines than productively using them. Also, you need to oil treadles frequently while using them. I'm not sure why this is.

The mechanic who came over was named Enos. He was very helpful and seemed to know what he was doing. If I had to spend all that time fixing my machine instead of using it, I don't know that I would really want to sew!

Uganda part 3 - the Villages & a New Plan

The last week of our trip was spent in the village of Kayunga Kasanna. This is a small and beautiful village outside of the city of Kayunga. It is on the Nile River (if you walk far enough into the village, which we did not do this time, but did last year.) It was wonderful to go back and see familiar faces as well as new ones.
During the first week of our trip Karen and I spent a lot of time refining our plan for the villages. A few things came to our attention that we were not aware of. First of all, with this being such a male dominated society (and abusive) there was concern that the sewing machines could be destroyed or sold if put in the women's homes. This brought on a chain of other concerns and considerations, but finally we came up with a plan. My biggest concern was what we had planned and how much time we had. We only had 5 days at the most and we wanted to teach 2 women how to make shorts, button shirts, and dresses. OMG, under the best of circumstances I don't know that I could teach 2 new beginners to make these three garments well in just 4 or 5 half day sessions. I was really stressing out about this. I knew we did not have access to electricity, pressing equipment, good light or reliable machines (another post about that later). In addition, there was the language barrier. (I do not speak Lugandan and very few women speak English. Those that do, don't understand us and we don't understand them.) Nonetheless, we really wanted to make this work, so Karen and I did a lot of brainstorming. Also, our original plan was to do a basic micro-economics business plan, but after talking to some of the women, we realized this would not work either! I did a lot of praying about all of this. Well, thanks to God, we came up with a new plan.

We knew that the women we worked with (we planned on two, but ended up with three) would need a lot of practice time. There would be no way that we would be able to get them up to speed enough to be making uniforms in one week! We went into the city of Jinja and bought a lot of fabric in beautiful colors. We now were planning on training 3 women. (Actually, I was doing this part and Karen was working with 20 other ladies on hand embroidery.) We came up with a "business plan." The women would each need to make at least 4 pair of shorts (elastic waist), 3 shirts and 3 dresses in order to develop their skills and confidence. These practice garments would then go to children in their villages who needed clothes. This was a perfect solution. Their giving back to their own villages would be their "payment" for use of the machines. The machines would be kept at the church (2 in Kasanna and one at the resource center in Busanna.) After the women completed making clothes for the children of the village, they could then use the machines to make garments to sell. The patterns that we used would still work perfectly for school uniforms when used with different fabric. Also, at this point, if the women wanted to buy the sewing machine so that they could take it home, we made an affordable price (1/2 of what we paid) available to them.

I worked with 3 women from 3 different villages. The first is Kathy. She lives in the village of Kasanna. I have known her the longest and of the 3 women, she speaks the most English. Last year Kathy took us on a walk through her village and we even took shelter in her home (mud hut) during a rainstorm. She has some basic sewing skills, but is still a beginner.

The next of the women in Florence. We met her last year and she lives in the village of Busanna. She has intermediate sewing skills and does a lot of sewing already. For example, she knows to understitch a neckline, but didn't know to trim corners or seam allowances. How I wish I could work with these women for a much longer period of time. Florence understands some English, but not as much as Kathy. She rarely speaks in English.

The newest to our group was Phobe (pronounced "Faybee") She lives in a village called Sababu. I have not been to this village, but hope go go there next year. It is more primitive than Kasanna. They do not have a church building there, so she will have to walk to Kasanna to use the sewing machines. It is about a 2 KM walk. She was very shy and quiet, but had such a beautiful spirit and really wanted to learn. I think she knows a few phrases in English, but doesn't understand much. Also, I think she has had no previous sewing experience. Fortunately, sewing is very visual, so she picked up very quickly. I'm really missing these women right now.

While I worked with Florence, Kathy and Phobe, Karen worked with the other ladies (about 20) on embroidery. We had decided before we came that we would do embroidery since this is something that they could all do, each having their own piece to work on. The women loved this and were proud of their work. They also told us that this is something they could do to make items to sell. They were very excited about it.

The women that did embroidery, also hand sewed a little drawstring bag to keep their supplies in. We also completed 1 pair of shorts, cut out 2 more, 1 dress with two more cut out, and one shirt. Hopefully they can do the rest on their own.
You can see more pictures here and I'll be adding more sometime this week.

Friday, July 08, 2011

McCalls 5586 - now maternity.

I've wanted to make this top forever but have been putting it off for just as long. The problem was that I did not know what I wanted to use to embellish it with. I'd looked at JoAnns (our only resource) a few times and had never found anything I wanted. I did see some beads I thought would work, but really wanted something that I could just glue on. Yesterday I decided to pull out McCalls 5586 and make it for my daughter. I was surprised to find that there are very few maternity patterns in the pattern catalogues, but thought this top would do well with some minor adjustments. I had some wonderful rayon jersey that I thought would be perfect, but I still didn't know how I was going to embellish it. I went to JoAnns this morning and picked up a few different things, but as soon as I put these rhinestones on the fabric, I knew it was just what the top needed.

I cut an 8 in the back and a 10 in the front. The yoke is an 8. I also pivoted the Center Front on the fold out about an inch at the bottom to make the front bigger and lengthened it about an inch and a half as well. This should make the top still fit well as she gets bigger. I like this top so much that I wish I would have made it for myself! hahaha!

The rhinestones were just some black acrylic packaged rhinestones that I found at JoAnns this morning. I used Aleens Jewel-it Embellishment adhesive to stick them on. The package says to let the glue come up around the jewel, but I found that this made a stain on the fabric, so I used less glue on the rest of the jewels. It says to wait 7 days before laundering and at least 24 hours before wearing. Hopefully the "jewels" won't all fall off the first time she washes it!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Rebecca - first attempt

Well, after many hours, and lots of ripping out seams and discovering mistakes, it is finished. I made a big mistake with the elastic, which, in turn, caused me to have to cut the back band shorter. So, it is a little tight in the band, but not too tight to wear. (unless I gain back the 5 lbs I've lost lately!)
This bra is basically a muslin, so I just used what I had on hand. It is wearable though, so that is good.

Here is a partial of my review at PR:

This bra took me 2 days to put together. The next one should go together much faster. I now realize that I prefer non-elastic straps, so next time I will make them out of fabric. Also, this pattern has a fairly wide back, which I did not think I would like. Even though I made a mistake that made my band smaller than it should be (in circumference), I still think this wider back really helps eliminate “fat back” and looks nice under a top.
back view

Fabric Used: the pattern calls for lingerie lycra for cups and sides. I did not have findings that matched any of my lycra, so I used tricot instead. The lower and side cups, as well as the sides and back are all lined with powermesh, so you really can use any kind of knit you want.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: For this one, I made a straight 75E. I’m going to try the F next time to see how they compare. I did not make any intentional design changes, but I did run into a few problems that created unintentional changes.

Conclusion There are several things that I need to change or mistakes that I made. I will let you know what they are so you can avoid the same mistakes.

  • First of all, I do not like that the lower cup does not come up high enough to cover the nipple. I’m hoping that using the next size up will correct this. Otherwise, I will line the upper cup with flesh colored tricot.
  • The center front is a little wide, so I will make that a bit narrower next time.
  • The English instructions I used said to add 10mm seam allowances to the upper seams, or whatever size elastic you are using. Well, the pattern calls for 1.5 m plush elastic and with all the changing from metric to standard, I didn’t realize that it didn’t say what size. I had 5/8” elastic on hand and didn’t realize that I had only added 3/8” seam allowances to the pattern. This caused the back to come out too narrow, which meant that I had to shorten it in order to get the hook closure to fit right.
  • The pattern didn’t really show any way to clean finish the upper edge of the cups where the elastic meets and there are seam allowances turned under. Next time I will finish this as soon as I add the elastic.
  • I like using 5/8” elastic at the bottom, so I will need to widen the seam allowances there, although I can use 3/8” at the top.
  • The wires I used I had ordered from Sew Sassy last year, but they were too long and I had to cut them. It was kind of a pain, but I was able to get the plastic tip off and replace it on the wire. You might want to measure the cup and your wires before beginning.
  • I used crappy plush elastic from JoAnns which has WAY too much stretch. This is fine for the sides, but terrible for the straps. If you end up using this type of elastic, do NOT make your straps out of it. (also, it's not very pretty)

Since it is very difficult for me to find my bra size in RTW, and when I do I’m usually looking at $75.00 up, I’m definitely going to try to perfect this pattern. I do like the shape of the cups better than the result I got from KwikSew 3300, however, I think the construction on the KS pattern was much easier and gave just as nice a result.

There is still some wrinkling under the cups that I'd like to correct, but I still think I need to go to the bigger size in order for it to fit better in the CF. Also, I'm hoping the larger size will bring the lower cup up more

Monday, July 04, 2011

Sewing with Rebecca

I had surgery earlier this week and am not supposed to be doing much of anything. I tried sewing a couple of times earlier in the week, but ended up giving up before I could even get anything traced. Well, yesterday, I finished tracing the Sewy Rebecca bra pattern. It has a 3 piece cup and a band. (Most of my RTW bras do NOT have a band)

I bought this pattern last year as I had been inspired by several bras that Sigrid has made. When I got my pattern out about a month ago, I thought I had the wrong size because of the chart on the envelope. As it turns out, I had the right size after all. I was inspired again to make this bra after seeing the beautiful one that Cidell did just recently. It seems like it is taking me forever to put this thing together. First I traced all the pattern pieces, but then realized I probably needed a 75E, but won't really know until it is finished. So, I traced it again.. The pattern does not have SAs, so I added them. Then, I realized that I needed two different sized seam allowances, so I had to change those. Fortunately, I had a great set of instructions in English from Elingeria, where I ordered the pattern. Unfortunately, they no longer carry this pattern.

I am just using basic white, because that is what I have. I have a beautiful colored plum with matching lace, but no bra hook piece in that color. After making this one, I'll know if that will be easy to alter or not.

This is definitely a heavy duty bra because the back pieces are pretty wide. This is what I have done so far:

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Uganda part 2 - Compassion

Last year we had a presentation at our church from Compassion International. Karen and I decided that we would sponsor a child together and looked for one from Uganda. We picked out a little boy named Julius and have been supporting him for almost a year now. When we were planning this year's trip to Uganda, we decided to see if we could hook up to meet him. As it turned out, Julius lives in Jinja, right where we were staying! There was a lot of red tape involved in scheduling our visit, and it took weeks to get it approved - good thing we started early.

On the first Saturday of our trip, we got a ride out to the local Compassion headdquarters located in Jinja. We met with the administrator and found out what the program was all about. Basically, the money we send covers Julius's school fees, uniform, medical care, and each Saturday at the Compassion site. There they receive breakfast and lunch, health screenings, and classes in spiritual growth, hygiene, physical fitness, trade skills, additional academics, and some kind of emotional support. What I found most encouraging was the fact that the director (Patrick) was a Compassion child himself, and that's how he survived.

We met our boy Julius and were given an introduction to the assembly of students that morning.

After that, we got to go out to visit Julius's home.

This was the best part of the trip. Even though his home was a hovel from the outside, and the walls were made of cardboard on the inside, his mother had it neat and clean, and decorated nicely. The home was very dark inside because there are no windows. It only looks bright because of the flash.

She had prepared food for us, which I'm sure cost her dearly. She had Coke (something given for very special guests), biscuits (cookies), bananas, and hard boiled eggs.

Last year Karen and I sent a little extra money on Julius's birthday, and with part of that money, they bought a chicken. The mother told us that these eggs were from the chicken that we had helped to provide!

The mother was very gracious and hospitable and we also got to meet the brothers and sisters. I think the father was working that day as he was a boda boda driver (motorcycle taxi).

Our little boy Julius is very industrious it seems. Here is a little car that he made out of an oil can. Of course, little brother had to put his toy car in the picture too!

After our visit, Julius drove with us back to the hotel and visited for a little longer, and then he went back to the compassion center for the rest of the day. We were very blessed by our visit.