I have been arriving "home" at the Okumus after 7:00 each evening. The things I want to get done in the libraries seem like an ocean of various tasks. Yesterday, I went into many of the classes at Namatala Primary to visit with the students. The smallest class now is 190 students per teacher - with most 200+. It is another one of those sights that just digs in your mind and won’t let go. Later in the evening, I was working at North Roads Primary - a school which has a student population of 3,900. The noise, dirt, children, and chaos are overwhelming. The teachers work until 6:00. They said by evening, they are exhausted and still have papers to grade. Sad!
At the schools, I am told that students stay on grade level in subjects like math. It is just reading that is a problem. How do you teach large classes how to read, with no reading material? It will be a huge blessing next year when we are able to furnish class sets of readers to many of the schools.
I have been in contact with some Catholic brothers that have a large woodworking shop. We are going to have these men mass produce book cabinets for the schools in Kampala and Mbale quickly so the teachers will be able to store the books after students return from the library - translating into reading time each day. Thank you very much to those who have already donated funding to purchase some of these cabinets. It seems we will need approximately 115 cabinets. Oh my! I have found over the years, that when something is needed - God provides it in amazing ways, through amazing people.
Sunday, Wilber picked me up in Kampala and we went to his son and daughter’s visitation day at their boarding school. On the way, he had a flat. We then had another flat - different tire. Later, that tire went flat again. Also, we were catching up on news and drove right through the town and about 10 miles further down the road. When we finally made it. :-) We had a wonderful visit with Billy Paul, Mitch, and Arthur, who is Jane from Namirembe Primary‘s son.
Yesterday evening, I came in tired, dirty, and exhausted - mentally and physically. After dinner, we had devotion time together. As I sat and closed my eyes, I soaked in the voices of Wilber, Sarah, Mercy, and Lawrence (a cousin) as they sang worship songs. What a blessing this family has been - not only to me, but to the many Libraries of Love volunteers that have come to Uganda.
(Hey - Ashlyn, Jada, Lauren, Brooke, Sheala, Justin, Tyler, Daniella - it is almost time for sleep-overs at my house once more! Cheers! My love is sent to each of you.)