Monday, July 20, 2009

Brown feet and Libraries for 2010

July 14-16

You know you have been in Uganda for a long time when you wash your feet with soap and they are still brown! I have been busy in Kampala traveling between our six libraries and visiting the five schools which will receive libraries next year.

I wish I could tell you a long, sad story about how I am staying in the slums, starving, etc. Actually, my team might be starving if they were here, as I am having matoke (green bananas wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over charcoal) at least two and sometimes three times a day. Most team members just can’t seem to develop a love of matoke and groundnut sauce. I can’t imagine that!

I have been staying with Jane and Noah Semugoma. She is the headmistress of Namirembe Primary, and Noah is the headmaster of Uplands High School. Noah’s father was a friend of the King and extremely wealthy. The Semugomas have a beautiful home that looks like a hotel resort, surrounded by a large compound wall. It is not the typical Ugandan home. However, it doesn’t have our modern appliances. It has a cookhouse where they cook over charcoal or wood. Staying here works well because I ride to work with Jane each morning and then it is easy to move between the schools in Kampala from her school. I am up at the latest by 6:30 to get ready to go work. The house is nice at night - but then it is back to the dirt roads, schools, and local markets. I must admit, I am rather tired at present.

The Semugomas are Anglican. Last year I was here when their Bible study group met in their home. This year, I was thrilled that I was here on Tuesday night once again and was able to meet with the same group. The scripture/chapter for the week was Proverbs 11 - in case you would like to check it out.

July 15th: I met with the Commissioner of Primary Education. Sarah Baziwe accompanied me. He was very welcoming and wanted to know all about our work in Uganda. He asked Sarah (former headmistress at Bat Valley) to make an appointment to go with him to all of our schools and see the libraries. She is also to deliver a full report on the work of Libraries of Love - including our present libraries, and next summer’s prospects, by Friday of this week. He will be writing a letter to the Internal Affairs Board recommending that we be given the legal status of an NGO (nonprofit orginization) with the government of Uganda. After meeting with Dr. Nakaada, I then met with the Permanent Secretary of Education, so it was a busy morning.

I might add here that this is the first time I have been able to spend a large amount of time with Sarah. My time with her has always been when I have been busy training in her library. It has been wonderful to get to really know her. She is a delightful lady!

After the meetings, I spent the morning at Bat Valley Primary and afternoon at Uplands High School. Bat Valley’s library is being well used, plus teachers were going in and out borrowing maps and globes. At Uplands, I was thrilled to be able to attend the Christian Fellowship once again. It meets during lunch time twice a week. It is impossible (once more) to find the right words to describe the feelings as I listened and watched as these young people worshipped, their voices swelling upwards, in a room that was totally full. I had to wipe tears as one young lady stood and told how difficult it has been to pay school fees, and how thankful she is to be able to attend school. She then sang a song about two hands and one heart that she has given to Jesus. What can I say? I wish you could have shared the moment.

Libraries for 2010:

Library # 1: On the 14th, I spent time looking at schools for 2010. Kitebi Day & Boarding School has 1,324 students. A favorite person of ours, Henry Kitwandwe, who was the Director of Students at Namirembe Primary, has been transferred to Kitebi, and we know he would keep a library running well.

Library #2: The former headmistress of Bat Valley Primary, Sarah Bazawe, has been transferred to Kiasubi C/U Primary School, which has 1,227 students, so that is our second choice for 2010.

Library #3: Many of our friends in education recommended the Ugandan Martyrs Primary School. It is also a public school, which has about 1,000 students. This school has a young enthusiastic headmaster and is probably the most well-painted and cleanest school of any. We will enjoy working with this young man, as we put together the 3rd library next year.

Library # 4: We have been fortunate to have permission from the African Children’s Choir to use their music on our DVD the past three years. They are building a new school in Entebbe and are thrilled at the prospect of receiving a library. Our 4th library will be smaller, as the school only has 150 students.

Library #5: I traveled on the 16th to the outskirts of Kampala to Kings College - Buda, which is one of the top rated high schools in all of Uganda. Our former headmaster from Mengo SS was transferred to this school, so we are doing a library for Patrick Bakka Mele, a good friend. I just returned from King’s College. Patrick has offered to put the library in a wonderful old church, which was built in the late 1800’s. It is in great shape and will be perfect for a library. Our high schools tend to want to put the libraries in huge study hall rooms where students are reading textbooks. This building will be perfect. King’s College has 1,200 students.

Actually those will be libraries 14 - 18. :)

Have a great day. Love to friends and family.


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