Wednesday, July 11, 2007

End of Ugandan trip - until next year :)

Friends and Family,
It is 5:00am, which is 1:00pm in Uganda. I am in Gaithersburg, Virginia, spending a day with some Ugandan friends on my way home. I will fly to Texas
tomorrow morning.

Backtracking: Wilber said the reeds to drink Malwa are about 6ft. tall (not 1 1/4 yards:). That explains why they can sit around the room and lean back
to drink. It also explains why I taught English, not math!

Wilber and Sarah raised Wilber's brother, James, and Sarah's nephew, Billy. They are now in their late 20s. Billy spent the night Friday and then rode
to Kampala with us Saturday. He kept suggesting that Kenyan Airways had really old airplanes. While we were eating he would slip in little things
like, "Trudy, just don't look at all the rust spots."

The crazy guy had a great time time teasing me, as he knew I really don't like flying. I made him promise he would be on his knees praying at the time
I was to board Kenyan Airways to fly to Nairobi. My guess is he was probably laughing at that time instead, since I'm sure he knew that Kenyan Airways
actually has modern, comfortable airplanes. Many of the Americans sitting around me were taking Kenyan Airways to the States.

Billy, Wilber, and I left Sunday at 5:20am, so we could make it to the service at the kids' school. Unfortunately, after about thirty minutes, we
found the road totally blocked. There was an accident the day before and still had not cleared the road. There were many trucks that had been there
all night waiting to get through. We decided to try to take country roads.

t reminded me of my first trip when I took the post office bus, which seemed to go to every small village in Uganda. The roads had many mud holes
because of the recent rains. Wilber and Billy really didn't know the way so we had to stop and ask often. Finally, they saw a sugar plantation. They had
to receive permission from a security guard to enter through the gates in the high wall. Wilber figured they must have good roads inside the compound,
and it would be a shortcut connecting us with the main road. It was actually a whole village inside the walls, with many shops. As we were leaving, again
there was a security station. The guards were checking identification in each of the cars. As we drove up, they bent over, spotted me, smiled, and
waved us through. Billy and Wilber erupted into laughter, figuring they thought I was important with Wilber being my chauffeur and Billy my guard.
The guys were so excited when we made it to the 'main' road. I had to laugh, as the main road is so terrible. It seemed odd to even think of it as a main

We made it to the school at 10:00, instead of 8:30 as planned - so much for the scenic-view trip! We did make it for part of the service and thoroughly
enjoyed visiting Billy Paul and Mitch.

Jane (Namirembe headmistress) and her husband picked me up at Herb and Ellen's. They live in a beautiful home 'upcountry,' as they call it. It is
on the side of a hill with beautiful foliage in the yard and covering the hill. I had a wonderful time visiting their family. They have five children.
Two of their sons, who are in their 20s, have separate 'apartments' on their land. They do have a young son, Arthur, who is in fifth grade. Jane and her
husband have also raised three other young people. The two boys were friends of their sons and had parents who died of HIV. The girl (seventh grade) was
told by her mother to leave home and get married since she didn't have money to feed her. They were all students at Namirembe. This speaks volumes of
what good people Jane and her husband truly are.

Monday: One of Jane's sons works for the government. This wonderful man provided a car and driver, so I could make it to all the schools on Monday.
At Mengo, I found that Patrick, the headmaster, had told the library staff that a room would soon be coverted into a separate library for the books we
provided. I was thrilled. As I mentioned previously, the 'library' they are using is so packed with students studying, it is almost impossible for
students to browse the library books. At all the schools, many, many books were checked out and the organizational systems seemed to be working fine. I
met with our new staff member, Henry, and Damallie, Namirembe's librarian.

Henry had already contacted all the schools and started making visits. They are planning a meeting of all the librarians in two weeks.
Humorous: When I was at Namirembe in a staff meeting a couple weeks previously, everyone was discussing what Henry and his wife should name
their new baby girl. I suggested as a joke holding a contest to solicit names. Henry apologized to me a couple times when I returned. I finally
figured out that he thought I suggested they name the baby Countess, when I was actually talking about having a contest. He was apologizing and feeling
bad that they decided they would rather name the baby Laura. :)

I should mention this was actually Henry and his wife's second baby. The first one was full term when his wife went to the hospital in labor. She
needed a C-section. The doctor didn't come to the hospital and the staff didn't know what to do, so they just left her. By the time the doctor came,
the baby had died. I can't even imagine the pain the mother must have suffered.

I did meet with Mr. Lubanga, the Permanent Secretary of Education. He had a hard time grasping that I wasn't asking for any type of funding. When I
mentioned that we would ship books in January, he wanted to know if we expected them to pay the shipping, etc. I finally convinced him that we
really just wanted his office's support. After visiting, he has agreed to send a representative to each of the schools to let them know we have his
full support. His intentions are for those in his office to work with the schools to encourage reading skills and use of the libraries. Also, I am to
send him an email when our shipment arrives in customs and he will contact them to make sure things go smoothly with a minimum charge.
It has been an amazing summer! It will soon be time to start again planning the 2008 libraries for over 7,000 Ugandan students.

Please keep us in your prayers, as we continue the work of Libraries of Love.

Note: If you are a member of a civic organization, church, or group that would like to see our DVD and hear about the libraries created this summer,
please feel free to contact us.

In the fall, we will have our annual BBQ and auction. We would appreciate your support.

Also, if your group would like to do a book or funding drive, we would be happy to supply any materials needed for the project.

Please continue checking our website for future LOL updates.

My best to each of you. Thank you for your continued support and friendship.


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