Hi everyone, thanks for your patience. Much has happened and we have had little time to catch our breath. The team is well and has largely settled into the school routine, with large amounts of the evenings spent with lesson and talk prep. But just encase you were wondering exactly what we’ve been up to in the last month, the A-Z of it as it were, well… it’s your lucky day:
Ash had his hair shaved a bit shorter than he would have liked!
Barney gave some great talks to the street kids. He’s also Barack Obama.
Charlotte had her first visit to a slum area.
Dickinson addressed packages are arriving regularly.
Ella loves every little child we come across.
Fitzy revived her hip-hop and ballet skills at …
… Ggaba Community Church dance practise: where hip-hop meets traditional dance and Mikey met ballet.
Heidi has got a taste for boda-boda riding (motorbike taxis).
I LOVE KABALAGALA! (Pancake town.)
Jim and JC are growing ‘gap year’ beards, though JC’s is much bigger and better!
Katie is now known as Pig (for no bad reason!)
Largent Rape. Actual name of an American guy we met.
Mikey received a pretty cool African shirt for his birthday last Friday.
Nat was born to dwell in muddy habitats.
Owino Market sellers think Nat is Frank Lampard’s sister.
Phoebe: stay away from dogs.
Queen Elizabeth – “Is she your friend?”
Rolex and Chapatis have become our Sunday lunch regular.
Saturday mornings and Sundays spent at Calvary Chapel. A great place filled with great people, and great teaching.
Talent: does Makindye have it? Soon to take place…
Umpteen requests for our contact details (particularly the girls.)
Volleyball – our favourite way of getting sweaty.
Where are the chickens? (Hoping to get some soon.)
X-treme driving in ‘Squeakers’ (our bus.)
Yet to white-water raft but it’s coming up soon!
Zzzz – sound that fills us with dread (mosquitoes.)
By Charlotte and Ella
So, schools. Much has changed.
JC, Fitzy and Ella are enjoying their time at Treasured Kids, especially as relationships with the teachers and children, are developing. JC teaches Maths and RE (and is also a student of P1 Luganda!) Fitzy teaches English, RE and PE. Fitzy and Ella both teach P7 RE. Ella goes to Kindergarten 2/3 mornings a week, teaches English and P7 RE with Fitzy. She loves teaching drawing to Top Class, Kindergarten and enjoys taking P5 English, and is amused at the bizarre statements that arise from poems in the textbook including, “But the police cannot arrest a thief, until he has been investigated, it is not a simple job, my friend.”
JC enjoys rolling his South African ‘r’s while chatting with teachers and children, as well as when teaching. But his highlight of everyday is eating Fitzy’s lukewarm leftovers from lunch.
Fitzy enjoys trying out new Ugandan foods that the teachers bring her, with the exception of posho and beans. She is getting to know the teachers more and rediscovered her love of skipping at breaktime today.
All three of them take Children’s Fellowship on a Tuesday morning and have enjoyed teaching the children about the story of Moses and how God keeps his promises to save his people. These lessons have involved some fairly out there visual aids including, snake puppets, water and ribena (“blood”) and a marigold washing up glove covered in red felt tip pen (lepar’s hand). It has been rewarding to see some of the children engaging with the talks and responding to the application too. The rest of the team, in previous weeks have come together at TK on Wednesday afternoons to teach Games to about 200 children, which has also been mega fun (and mega sweaty!). The school Pastor, Deo, took the three of them around the local area last Friday which was really eye-opening. Historically the area is known for its conflict, gang warfare and witchcraft. The whole community’s water supply is filtered through a graveyard, and the name of the area translates as “Death has struck another one.”, and they also met some locals. It was amazing to see that, by the Grace of God, so much hope and light has been planted into that community by the work of Pastor Deo and the local church. Prayer pointers: +For more patience with the children when teaching (especially with the accent barrier!) +For Teacher Sarah, Lydia and Anthony, each of whom one us us reading the bible with. + For the work of Pastor Deo, that his visions for the growth of the church and God’s people in Lusaze/Kosovo, to be realised.
Children’s Corner Update
Children’s Corner is going well, we have settled in pretty fully by now. We have just adjusted our classes so that we are starting to work with some older children, which we hope to be more productive and rewarding. Ash teaches R.E and English to P4, Mikey is starting the same with P5, while Charlotte and Phoebe have started teaching P6 a bit of everything. We have formed some good relationships with teachers and kids, but we are still consistently challenged.
Mikey is relishing the challenge of teaching a whole year’s worth of R.E. in 6 weeks, and has unintentionally gained the eccentric Teacher Mark (‘a free man in spirit and mind / Mr handsome’ as he describes himself) as a new best friend. He also enjoys corresponding with Ash in the class next door by sending messengers with various banter and Office quotes.
Ash is really grateful for some good evangelistic opportunities and loves playing with a.k.a. scaring, little girls so much that they wee on him. Meanwhile he adapts with bemusement the rubbish found within the R.E text book.
Charlotte has been moved from the wilderness of Year 3 to the calm of Year 6, and is very happy about that. She has also made some motivational posters for the staffroom; and can be found, looking slightly out of place, among the Year 1’s where she learns Luganda twice a week.
Phoebe has fallen into a love-hate relationship with Teacher Susan with more emphasis on the latter. She has enjoyed soda-lunch breaks. She has also liked donuts more than cake. She doesn’t like going to the loo. She likes writing on blackboards and squeezing 4 year old, semi-obese Kimberly’s cheeks.
Things to be praying for are breakthroughs with some of the teachers as we try to promote a more loving way of teaching (definitely without beating). Teacher Mark has some confused views about Jesus as a result of Jehovah’s Witness influence so pray that we could show him that Jesus really is God, and the importance of that. Also pray that the kids would be impacted by the talks we are giving at chapel, and that they would take away a greater understanding of all that Jesus means to them. Finally, pray that we would be of greatest use possible and that we would not get bored or frustrated.
Life around the hill in Seguku continues to amuse, challenge and entertain. Apart from the decidedly hairy bus journey up to the upper school (the bus has succeeded in removing the majority of one corner of the road through excessive wheel spin), our teaching days have become fairly routine. Nat continues to soldier away at the under-resourced nursery for all 4 days whilst Katie divides her time equally, with Jim remaining at the Upper school all week.
The Lower School kids greatly value ‘Teacher Katie and Teacher Natalie’, something clearly seen if one visits at break time to see the games and songs being enjoyed, or if one enquires of the parents of their charges; all of whom that have been canvassed have given out high scores. On the days that Katie heads up the hill, Nat has had to deal with anguished pupils who demand to know where their Teacher Katie is. Nat continues to write and take the Child evangelism talks on Thursdays, although she is still struggling with the somewhat mixed quality of the food at lunch. A highlight of the time so far include the Pasta Friday, where pasta related arts and crafts were created with frenzied delight, by teachers as well as pupils.
However, there still remains little to do on the academic teaching front as there is now a new employee hired to help with literacy and the teachers still seem somewhat reserved about giving out teaching opportunities. Prayer about this would be welcome.
Jim and Katie in the upper school have somewhat different experiences. Katie continues to teach and assist with P3 and 4 English as well as providing sterling support in the teaching of Girls games. She is growing in confidence and becoming more used to taking classes and working with the older kids. Jim is now almost exclusively teaching P6 Science, currently working through all 5 animal kingdoms (all of which have what? Backbones!) and is arguably enjoying the subject matter even more than his pupils. He takes football and volleyball at lunchtimes and in Wednesday morning on the top if the hill, which is generally the highlight of his day. Both get on well with the teachers and kids.
This Thursday saw all 3 members of the King’s team take upper school chapel for the first time, speaking on Moses parting the red sea. In addition to helpfully large key sentence posters, extreme interval exercise sessions and humiliation of the Head Boy and Head Mistress were used to great effect. The talk was well received and we are hoping to do more in the future, as well as maybe organising a teachers bible study group (prayer for both would be appreciated).
Prayers would also be appreciated for helping us on all campuses to remain motivated and useful and for us to make the most of the time we have.
General Life in Uganda
Other highlights have included a trip to Mbera National Forest Reserve, where were walked through a beautiful bit of rainforest for about 2 hours, saw massive butterflies, a few of us were lucky enough to see some monkeys, and we saw a snail the size of a hand span. We stopped at Najemmbe Market to grab some lunch and Mikey almost amputated a seller’s hand that was holding a chilled orange soda. We bought huge bits of fried chicken on sticks, and some chapattis...our favourite snack! Calvary chapel has continued to be a great encouragement and church for us all. The Sunday services are a great time to praise God, meet other Christians and spend time in God’s Word. Both Mikey and Jim have had extremely enjoyable 19th birthdays featuring presents such as ‘Girls Fantasy Moisturiser’, fantastic homemade cards and the majority of one young man’s loose belongings stuffed in one of his own socks… as well as games of pass the parcel and empires.
The Street Kids
Since the last blog entry, we have started working with the street kid ministry at Calvary chapel on the weekends and the experiences shared have been emotionally far ranging, from joy to shock
Those suspicious brown eyes, gazing at me
Behind which flicker, horrors he has seen.
Those dusty brown feet brushing the floor,
Hardened with footsteps he’s been forced to walk.
His bright little brain destroyed by drugs
Those skinny shoulders and resilient shrugs.
Those restless worn hands, those thin scarred arms
That sculpted still face, unnervingly calm.
He asks of his past, the suffering and pain
Why have even his parents forgotten his name?
Why does he feel such perpetual shame?
And so many others feel exactly the same.
This unjust hurt, that he’s bravely embraced
Is more than any child should ever have to face.
His fragile heart, trusting and meek,
Matches that of the Saviour he seeks.
So walk him to the cross and show him the pain,
That Yahweh endured for his life’s gain.
Tell of the hands, nailed by men
Tell of the crown, thorny, bloody and bent
Tell of the arms stretched vulnerably wide
Tell of the spear stabbed in the side.
Tell of the laughing, mocking and jeers
Tell of the rejection he faced from his peers.
But most of all tell of the greatest thing
The love he imparted this King of Kings,
Because then and there, as Christ struggled for breath
He died a perfect man, a sinner’s death.
Now do you see, you precious child?
For your freedom he was defiled
By his wounds, you have been healed
And upon believing the spirit has sealed,
Your soul into his loving care,
A rulership kind, loving just and fair.
So offer him your life, in all its weary ways
Then safe and secure you’ll rest with him,
For all your remaining days.
As you can see, emotional stuff. We help out with the kids who come to Calvary Chapel on Saturday and Sunday morning as a group and then 2 of us head out to slums on Mondays to see where these guys are living. These guys range from 8-18 year olds and without help from Calvary, would be literally living on the street corners of Kampala where they would be subject to the elements as well as beatings from older men and the possibility of being rounded up by police, who take them to a juvenile detention centre more akin to Afghan jail, a prospect roundly feared. The are even open to kidnap from the underground spirit an witch doctor movement that use child sacrifice as a means of appeasing their ancestors. No-one will miss a kid from the streets. Solvent addiction is rife in boys as young as 10 and most have been doing it for their entire time on the streets, a fact clearly visible for the first hour of our sessions in the mornings. The Ugandan police and locals treat them with contempt and view them as a waste of space. Well, we can tell you without a shadow of doubt that this view is the wrong one.
It is truly amazing to see kids that have been so badly treated in life with some much joy and trust in their hearts. The Christian kids at church are tough s nails and although most spend a good part of the sessions trying to sleep, they are happy to engage in anything from cards to group games of bang and worship songs. The younger kids love to climb up the larger members of our teams and everyone likes ball games. Some, like Jordan, are from the north of the country, having run away or being stranded and all they want to do is go home. Andrew is an orphan who walked 50km from Entebbe upon the death of his parents and has been here for 4 years. Others aren’t even from Ugandan. One young man told Jim and Charlotte in a mixture of French and English how his Village in the DRC to the east had been attacked by armed men (possibly Lord’s resistance army) and he’d escaped into the forest. He’s been running ever since.
We talk to them, we teach them literacy and numeracy and give the word of god with the help of fantastic people like Andrew, Ruth, Rita and Derrick (who is still at school yet misses lessons to teach the. But its tough when you’ve been through what they’ve been through. When we talk about the hard parts of living a Christian life, we say standing up for ourselves again peer pressure and ridicule for God. They say trying not to steal in order to eat.
Its tough, but immensely rewarding. And for those kids that decide they don’t want to do the street life anymore, there is a house run by Jessica, a young American working with Calvary, when the kids can get away from it all, get clean in both senses, eat and give with god in their house. Until that time, they sleep in dank, dark room in the slums behind a heavy metal door to keep others out.
Prayer for us and them on this part of out Ministry would be greatly appreciated.
So, in the weeks to come, we have our half term holiday to Jinja and Bujagali Falls for white water rafting, bungi jumping and much deserved rest. It is eagerly anticipated. Will update again when the area Makindye deems us worthy to have electricity.
Team Smile 09