Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Extreme Makeover Uganda & Fun Happenings

Singing with the team at Namatala Primary - in a class with 176 pupils
The 2012 team after the 'Extreme Makeover' of our first library at Namirembe Primary School, which was created in 2005.


The Team

June 4th – 19th: LOL’s 2012 team restocked five libraries and created two new ones. This team added to the many great memories of our teams over the past eight years ... each one unique. You have to love volunteers willing to travel to the other side of the world. And, oh my, how the Ugandan children love them!

This has been the ‘extreme makeover’ team – each day restocking and refurbishing our oldest libraries. They have also created one new primary school library and one medical library. Each day has been busy working in libraries, but they have also enjoyed various activities, as well.
                 • They have read books to groups of children;
                 • visited many classrooms;
                 • watched five lions walk in front of our van on safari;
                 • attended a 2 ½ hour African singing/dancing dinner show at a beautiful outdoor amphitheater;
                 • shopped one evening at a mall;
                 • went on home visits with children;
                 • watched a sports day at a school;
                 • played Netball against teachers;
                 • and had dinner at Pastor Wilberforce and Sarah Okumu’s home.

I have loved my time with this incredible team, as we worked together – and enjoyed Uganda. Each day reinforces that Libraries of Love is making a difference.
     • At Uplands High School, a girl was telling us that she had read almost every book in the library – and then started going down the stacks telling us about each one.
     • At a primary school, the librarian shared that high school students have been returning to read and asking to work in the library.
     • At a high school library - two days after opening - they had a meeting of the new literary club, with many students in attendance.
     • Children have been spotted walking home with books. 
     • And, two out of four kids who we visited their homes, had library books at home.


Fun Happenings

A parent at a school insisted I should take her twins. She was giving them to me, and I was free to take them to my country. They were adorable … probably 4 years old, a boy and girl.

I went down an alleyway and there were five ragged children by a yard. I looked, thinking, “I wonder if those kids even go to school?” They looked at me, and started waving their thumbs in the air, singing “Making Melodies.” They definitely go to school – and it must be one with an LOL library.

I got on a boda in Kampala. The driver said, “I know you! You gave me a Bible once.” He was friends with the three guys that tried to rob me – and then became my friends.
Our taxi driver was taking the team to their hotel and got lost on a dark road. While he was talking to Wilber trying to figure out where to go, two young boys were starting past the van in the dark. They stopped at my window all excited, and asked, “Do you remember us?” What can you say other than, “Of course I do!” Then I took a guess, “You’re from North Roads School aren’t you?” They answered, ‘Yes!” They were so thrilled that I remembered them out of 3,800 students! Funny!
At a primary school, an Indian girl came running up to me, put her hands on my arms – and with much excitement proceeded to tell me how much she now loves to read, and the names of the books she had been reading lately.
For sports day at Namirembe Primary, a high school band marched down the hill and into the school’s gates! Quite a sight! We love sports day – kids racing with bottles on the head; little ones seeing who can put on their clothes the fastest to prepare for school, etc.
Seriously, we are surrounded by daily ‘miracles.’ Children are reading consistently. Words are flowing into their beautiful minds and changing their lives, one book at a time. It is a happening!

Library time in Kusubi Laurel Library.