We often come upon small thatched houses, their inhabitats puzzled by my sudden arrival in their neighbourhood. Christine shouts out explanations to the curious as we go along and stops occasionally to make introductions.
At one point we meet a young girl in a torn dress clutching a small bundle wrapped in a blanket. She shyly holds out the bundle and I see a tiny face not a week old. "The mother...?"
"I think," answers Christine.
I can't helping thinking of the baby born over two thousand years ago to a mother in circumstances not unlike these.
We finally emerge through a clearing in the bush and catch sight of Sidonia's house. Her oldest daughter catches a glimpse of us and comes running her face beaming. She then disappears in a flash in the opposite direction calling for Sidonia. We are finally all ushered into the tiny home with its dirt floor and wooden bench carefully covered by a woven mat. "You are welcome Auntie!" .
Smiles and laughs all round as we settle down to admire baby Lydia and share what's been happening in our lives. Christine and Sidonia chatter happily back and forth in Luganda and then Christine translates for me. As I watch them interact I'm struck again by their joy. Their lives are tough: beyond anything I can even imagine and yet they face their circumstances with courage. I share some Christmas gifts I brought and watch the excitement as clothes are examined and then carefully folded away. The children climb up on my lap to say thank you.