Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More News from Uganda

I am sitting at a cafe overlooking Kampala City. It is a city built on 7 hills - so all the lights are beautiful. I read in the paper today that 93% of those who live in Kampala live in the slums ... but tonight it looks great, and I am enjoying a cup of African milk tea. What a life!

The team visited several of our schools in Mbale: Wambwa Primary, North Roads Primary, and Mbale Secondary. They played sports at the schools and went in classrooms singing and visiting with the students. It is fun to go back to schools that have had libraries for a few years. If we wave our thumbs in the air, the kids burst out laughing and singing Making Melodies in My Heart! It is definitely their favorite song!

At Mbale Secondary, the team played volleyball - in the rain - and then started playing soccer. Paul (my son-in-law and Libraries of Love Facilities Director) crashed and broke his collarbone! We went to the hospital, where the shoulder was x-rayed and put in a sling. We sent a picture of the x-rays to Donita. The orthopedic doctor in Texas said it will be fine until he gets home, as long as it is stationary.

The team went on home visits with students from Wambwa. Ken and Karl Anderson had the longest walk. Their child lived 1 1/2 hours from the school. Ken said the walk itself was interesting, seeing the cows, goats, chickens, ladies sorting rice, cornfields, beans growing, and rice fields. The tiny mud huts seem something you would see in movies - then to actually be visiting in them is always touching. The parents are happy to meet the muzungus (white people) and are so appreciative of having their children's school lunches paid.

Last night, several students from my school, Laurel Mountain Elementary, skyped with students from Namatala Primary at Wilber and Sarah's home. It was great. I think the students in Texas were surprised that students here go from 7am - 6pm, and do all the work of keeping the school grounds and rooms clean. Two of the students, Enoc and Faith, stayed late to skype with a second group. They are fifth grade students. It was dark when we finished, so I had someone drive the kids home. I wanted to visit with the parents and explain why they were late. Herbert (a member of Wilber's church) waited in the car while I threaded my way through the mud/stick homes to Faith's home. Her father spoke good English and took me to meet the family.

Next, we headed for Enoch's. It was many miles down dirt roads, which seemed almost paths. His home was inside one door, with only a piece of cloth over it - located in a long retangular mud/stick building, with three other openings - which were homes. The room was the size of perhaps my bathroom. They had only one chair, which was slatted. The dad had to sit on the edge of a twin bed.

A small coffee table in the middle had a lantern perched on it. The room was so tiny, there really wasn't room for another chair. I stood to visit. They had no water or toilets, of course. Enoch is such a bright boy; it was hard to look at the conditions he returns to after a long day at school. At times, the conditions here are difficult to digest - and truly continue to roll over in your mind for hours...days/years afterwards. I got up early to go to Enoch's school to explain to his teacher why he probably didn't have his homework finished. I plan on continuing to check on him, and Faith, as well.

Tuesday night the Okumus (Wilber and Sarah) had the team over, with their church people serving dinner on tables out on the lawn. It was a beautiful evening. After eating, Sarah led us in several worship choruses, and Wilber shared a short scripture and spoke to the team about what a blessing they have been to people here. Truly a special evening! It is always hard for my volunteers to leave the Okumus, as they become fast friends.

Tonight I met with the lawyer that is handling the adoption of Mercy. She is being adopted by my nephew and his wife, Cody and Melissa Busby. My friend, Margaret, a Ugandan nurse, met me in town later, and we did the native thing, weaving our way through the markets and traveling in matatus. I always love my evenings out with her, seeing the real Ugandan side of Kampala.

I hope all is well in your world. We are having a grand adventure! Blessings to each of you!


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