Today we had a very eventful day with many activities that were very successful.
We began the days program with tree planting for the upcoming holiday of
Tu’Bshvat, the new year for trees. We planted four trees along the village road
and built fences around them out of tree branches to keep the goats away. This
was followed by a speech from one of the elders of the community and Headmaster
at the primary school, Aaron Kintu Moses, speaking about the importance of youth
togetherness in the community.
The program continued on with a session led by AYA youth performing very funny
and educational skits about some tough situations they face in their lives
followed by a discussion. To conclude the session, MC Sarah Nabagalah led improv
games for the remainder of time before lunch.
We then led our final program, an Israel program exploring what Israel means to
you personally. The three groups, Gefen, Zion, and Tamar, each received a long
sheet of butcher paper and markers and crayons and were asked to draw what they
thought of after hearing the words America, Uganda, Judaism, and Israel. The
answers were so interesting to see and the discussion that followed was very
spirited and had all the members participating.
The days focus shifted towards Shabbat, as we began cleaning the village and
preparing for the night. We were joined by a group of people from Kulanu, an
organization that has been involved with the Abayudaya since 1995, as well as
three travelers from Israel and one from Australia. As services began, the rabbi
noted that, “Nowhere else on the earth will you find so many Jews from Uganda,
Kenya, the US, and Israel being led in Maariv by a Jewish youth from Kenya.”
Rabbi Sizomu recognized the youth leaders in the AYA for all their hard work and
preparation for the convention in front of just over 200 people who came to
attend the Shabbat service.
After dinner, the youth gathered together to sing z’mirot and show off their
ruach before concluding the night with the Birkat Hamazon.
We continued the next day with Shabbat morning services where we were led in all
parts of the service by the AYA youth, and heard a D’var Torah delivered by one
of the AYA members who is training to be a religious leader in his village.
The day’s program continued after some free time with a hike to the resting
place of the founder of the Abayudaya, Semei Kakungulu. Here we learned about
the history of Kakungulu and his founding of the Abayudaya while also
experiencing the thunder, lightning, and some light rain from the Ugandan sky.
We concluded Shabbat with Havdallah and the days program ended with a dance for
all the youth to enjoy.
Mosquito Bite Counter
After 5 days, the mosquitos finally get on the scoreboard