June 11, 2011 - I should update you ... Many of you remember my story about the three guys who tried to rob me in Kampala last year. If you remember, one was shirtless and had a swastika tattooed on his arm. (Everybody should have a robbery attempt at least once a year , don’t you think?! ) The men were pressing me, and my bag, telling me they needed my money. I kept them busy talking to them about God and libraries until a headmistress arrived to pick me up. Her first words were, “Trudy, those were robbers!” A couple days later, I returned to the same place and walked down the hill to try to find them. I found them outside a ramshackle house. In the end, that house got torn down, and I paid for a new one.
I went back to find them last week. The swastika guy shook my hand, but another guy, Charles, came running and practically lifted me off the ground giving me a hug! He couldn’t believe I came back. I left Bibles with them last year, on my last day in Uganda. They are attending church, and seem like different men. The bad news: I asked them where they live as I didn’t see the house. Charles shrugged; so I would guess they are homeless. Two of the men have children. Debbie’s group has some extra items for kids (including a backpack), so I will visit them again next week and deliver presents!
I am not sure how to describe my second team – the ladies from Illinois. They are fantastic. Debbie Rhoades’s church, (Debbie is the pastor’s wife) and friends sponsor 55 Ugandan students’ school fees, and have sponsored these same students for 3 or 4 years. They also pay for 16 students’ lunches each year. This year, they brought endless wonderful items, including balls and jump ropes, for the orphanage my niece, Melissa, has been helping. They are also providing funding for 106 pair of shoes for students at Martin Nkoyoyo school. What can I say? They are definitely God’s hands and feet. To top it off, they are great company. We have had lots of laughs, and inspiring times of sharing in the evenings.
Today (the 11th) the ladies worked from 9 - 4, without a lunch break - in a hot library. We didn’t slow down. Namatala Primary’s shelves were too long, so some time ago we had a carpenter divide each shelf into two, which meant all the books/shelves had to be reorganized because of the dividing. The ladies were troopers. At about 3, I told them I would arrange transport and they could go to the hotel. I would be able to finish alone. They refused. I reflected on the many long days I have done this work by myself, and I was so grateful for their help.
Namatala has classrooms of 200 students. Today we sang in a classroom with some kids that were simply jammed from the front to the back on long seats/planks! My mind always flips back to our small classes at home. The good thing - these children don’t know of classes of 25, so for them this is normal. It bothers us - but not them. How I wish things could be “equal” and they could have the same advantages as our American children.
This evening I will attend my first Mbale Rotary Club meeting, though I did meet with the president of the club last week. I can’t say enough good things about Rotaries. The ones that I share with in the Austin area do so many wonderful outreaches to various groups. They have my highest admiration.
Again - thank you for caring, reading, and keeping us in your prayers,