Wednesday, June 23, 2010
First team ends stay in Uganda
Greetings! Our wonderful LOL team should have arrived home yesterday! They left early for the airport - had a flat on the way - fixed it, and ten minutes later - another flat! They had to unload from the large van and take small matutus (small, dirty window vans) Maybe God really wanted them to stay in Uganda!
So much to share ... but will try to stay short. I am now at a different school each day. Yesterday, I met with 20 classes at Kitebi Primary, and 14 classes the day before at Ugandan Martyrs Primary. I went over the organization of the library, how to use a shelf marker, the process to borrow a book, and before each class left, we sang "Making Melodies" - their favorite song. The kids are so excited about the libraries. If you could only see the eyes and smiles. Wow! Today some of the classes were 100+. They were so proud when they walked out with their books! At Ugandan Martyrs, I had an interesting lunch. I was served in the home of several Catholic "Brothers" who live on the school grounds and work/teach/lead the Ugandan Martyrs Primary and Secondary schools, though they are government schools.
I am reminded of what one of our volunteers, Ken Anderson, said when he arrived and looked at the libraries. He simply stated, "This is tangible." So true - a gift and partnership that will last and change lives. The first class I shared with yesterday was first graders. Right in the front was a little boy with whom our team fell in love - a skinny little boy with glasses. I believe his name is Paul. He was beaming because he felt like we were personal friends. I almost cried knowing how much he meant to the team. He waited at the gate at the end of the day to tell me goodbye. Ahhhhhhhh. (My team is now crying) :) At every school, pupils have come to me and asked for the team members by name. The team made such an impact, by giving of not just their time - but their hearts.
Billie, Paul, and I went to visit Derrick's home (the boy from the bus). It was in the slums - a small, mud, brick home. They were so thrilled that we visited. I liked what Paul told Derrick when he tried to apologize for his home. He told Derrick he should be proud of what he has, and of his family (mom and brother), because God has provided for him. Derrick had to quit school after 6th grade because he didn't have funding for school fees. He is now 19. A young girl at the Mukasas, Rasheda, is 13 and would need to start in the 4th grade, but hasn't been to school because they don't have funds. Our librarian, Betty, in Mbale had to quit school after 10th grade. She is now in her early 20s, but would like to finish high school, but doesn't have enough money. So many needs ... .
Sunday when I was visiting children at Namirembe Primary, (after helping peel matoke bananas for their lunch) they told me that black skin is thicker because it doesn't turn red when it is pinched. However, their insides are softer, which is why they dance better. They felt of my hair and said it wasn't natural. Black curly hair is natural. :) I have promised to meet with them again at the school this coming Sunday to continue our conversation, plus they are teaching me songs in their language, Luganda.
I am staying in the home of Noah and Jane Semugoma. She is the headmistress at Namirembe Primary, which houses our first library. They are truly wonderful, kind people. I feel at "home." Last night their small Bible study group met, which was my third year to meet with this group. Pflugerville Community Church ladies had made and sent beautiful bookmarks, each with a scripture. I was able to let the Bible study group choose their favorite. They were thrilled and read and re-read to see which they should keep. Thank you PCC!
Today I am at Bat Valley Primary. Tomorrow morning I will meet with the Commissioners of Education in downtown Kampala. In the afternoon, I will hop on a bus and be off to a city in northern Uganda, Lira. This town has only had a couple years of peace, as they are located where war was taking place for 20 years. Thousands of children were kidnapped and forced to serve as rebel soldiers. Others were used for sex by the soldiers. There are huge camps of refugees at Lira. Please keep my safety in your prayers as I travel. I will stay with the headmaster of a school and his family. It is a five hour trip from Kampala.
My best wishes to each of you. Please keep our second team in your prayers as they travel from Illinois and arrive Monday. They will complete three libraries, plus restock an existing library.As they say in Uganda ... God is good - all the time. / All the time - He is good.
My best wishes,