I must tell you - miracles do happen! On Sunday, I picked up a heavy box of books and swung it around, which was not a good move. I could barely walk after that. In fact, I had to hold on to a wall to walk down steps. The team was coming the next day, so I knew it would be a huge problem if I had to spend a few days in bed or barely moving. That night I was in such pain I was taking pain pills and still hurting. I prayed that evening, and ask several others to pray, as well. The next morning, I woke up and went to meet the team - without any pain! Truly, it had to be a touch from God.
Last Friday, I went to the wedding of one of the teachers from Namirembe Primary. It was on the shores of Lake Victoria, a beautiful setting. The Ugandans have huge weddings, sometimes over 1,000 people. All of their extended families come. Because they have so many children, the extended family can be hundreds of people. Also, every person they work with attends, along with every member of their church(es). I counted 32 cakes at this wedding - plus they served a full meal. Chairs were set up under a tent for the bride's family - one for the groom's family - another for friends, plus one for the bride and groom. Each one looked like something out a Cinderella storybook ... with lights surrounding each. All of their friends donate for wedding expenses. That is the custom. It was all beautiful and lasted about seven hours from start to finish. :)
On Sunday, I went to church at the Watoto Church, which is attended by the grown children of Jane (Namirembe headmistress). Last year, we had the children's choir from Watoto at my school in concert, so it was nice to attend their church once more. It has been a wonderful week staying with Jane and Noah in their home. Every day has been spent sharing with classes at the various schools, and spending time with our librarians.
The second team arrived safely. They went to work upon arrival and created our 17th library - the African Children's Choir Laurel Library! (Laurel after my school Laurel Mountain Elementary). It is beautiful; the kids' mouths simply dropped open as they stared at what came together so quickly. The Herff Jones Company once again donated maps and globes for the new libraries, so we have been able to put up a beautiful world wall map and African map in each library.
The kids had an assembly when we arrived to welcome us - opening with beautiful worship choruses. After the completion of the library, we met again and various ones spoke about how much they appreciate their new library. We were also fortunate to listen to even more beautiful singing. Those kids can sing the roof off! What a treat! The team went back to the hotel for needed rest after their long trip. I stayed and met with each class so the students could begin using their library immediately ... knowing it's organization, and the process of borrowing.
It was great fun to meet with Lynne Dobson at the African Children Choir school. If you remember, she is the lady from Austin that raised funding last year to supply over 500 wheelchairs for the disabled here in Uganda. During the year, we are always going to meet, but get too busy - and here we are together once more in Uganda! She is a wonderful person with a big heart. Lynne is also a fantastic photographer. Some of her pictures of the opening of the choir's library are posted on our website (www.librariesoflove.org).
This Illinois team, and others in their church, have sponsored 36 students from Primary the last few years - paying their school fees and lunches. Today most of the students came in the library together to express their thanks through words and song. It was very touching (tears ...); many probably wouldn't be attending school if not for this support. The ladies then went on home visits with several of the students. The team came back overwhelmed by the gratitude of the parents/guardians. It is hard for us to even realize what it would be like not to be able to send all of your children to school. Their generous support is making a difference.
This is becoming much too long, so I will sign off.
My love and best wishes to you from a country where I truly feel at home, though I miss my family and friends in America.
A special "Hello" to Ashlyn, Lauren, Jada, Brooke, Sheala, Justin, Tyler, and Dani - my amazing grandchildren. My love is sent to you across the ocean. :)