Monday, February 4, 2013

A few thoughts from the first day

 This post is mainly so that I remember the first day that Jinja Christian School opened! We started well, alarm set in time, breakfast nearly eaten and the first children arrive, only an hour early. Obviously excited children from the Village of Hope, dropped off by older students on their way to High School. It started from there, coffee not even finished and it was go go go. The blackboards needed to have a dusting, there hadn't been time yesterday. Ron needed to attach a few more toilet roll holders and fill the water supplying barrels for the toilets. Then, parents came in droves. Assembly started at 8 but one teacher couldn't be present because a parent needed help registering their child (just happened to be the man who sells us mattresses in town!). It was not chaos but definitely chaotic. People jumping queues, people wanting uniforms, people registering...

Assembly - not all there but a lovely start
Assembly was a highlight of the day for me, though we certainly started with less then than we had later in the day! It was lovely to hear the children led by a fellow pupil in the national anthem and then the Lusoga anthem, though after that I was called away to Headmistress duties!
Fortunately, the teachers knew what to do
and they finished off the assembly and started their classes which seemed to go well. The latest addition, Sarah, seems so ideal as she relates with the little ones, firmly but lovingly. The puzzles were a big hit for the afternoon with the younger ones who stayed. Lucy managed well, though I suspect she might be a bit tired, with making porridge for break and rice and gnut sauce for lunch. I enjoyed the lunch but Ron opted for the left over zucchini fritters.

Other than interviewing parents and children, trying endless uniforms on children (home made uniforms have no size tags!), I also became the first aid officer. We had a young boy who the teacher brought to me who was decidedly unwell, probably malaria. So, he went to the office for his father to be called. It was difficult to make contact with the father and so I went searching for a cool washer and cold water for him and a Panadol. I return to find that he is not there. I ask and no one knows, fortunately I am becoming adept and knowing the children and so knew who I was looking for and went in search of him. I came back to the office after an unsuccessful search and no one else knowing where he was. Then a boda turned up to pick up the pupil. We(note not just me) thought, incorrectly as it turned out, that the people that had been contacted must have sent a boda! So, I sent the male teacher to the only other place I knew of, the toilets. Yes, he was there, so after a drink and a pat down with cold cloth and a Panadol, onto the boda he went. Only to discover, when the same boda came back, that we had sent the wrong one on the boda. However, the pupil was safely back at his house. A good lesson to learn on the first day!

P3 class in action at the start of the day - it grew!
At one point today I mused about the differences. There are people coming from a distance to send their children to this school because they believe it will be good educationally, we pray it will. They can catch a boda to come and bring the child, they can pay the fees and will benefit from the school being good. Then, there is a lady I have known since 2011, and she has just had to pick up her child from people because the carer has died. She has no money, is HIV positive, and not particularly well and cannot work even if she could find it. In fact, in registering her child she could not sign properly and asked to make a fingerprint mark with the ink pad. What a joy that this child will get an education, alongside other much better off children, and each day get a good meal. We are so thankful to people who are sponsoring children for the school.

We still had no money so that was a bit of a problem as the sweaters and stockings, as jumpers and socks are called, needed to be picked up. So, Ron had one unsuccessful trip to town and then had to go again and get money the expensive way. Never mind, we just want the money to come through.

I worked with Florence, our bursar plus everything else, to get a route for the bus to take. Then, 3.30
The bus!
arrived, teachers dismissed their  pupils and the bus was meant to be there. Oops, some communication got missed along the way so the bus driver did not know he was meant to be at the school. But, no problem, the 'new' Jinja Christian School bus arrived (don't know anyone who wants to sponsor the school bus do you?) It looks great and after some discussion and
Waiting for the bus to be organised
clarification, not in English, the route was finalized and the children and bus were on their way.

The day however was not done as there were still more parents coming to enrol or check things out. Some fees to be paid, etc. I also met with the teachers briefly. Had to laugh at one teacher. She was taking some work home and said that she would do that instead of sleeping! Not sure what the teachers would think if they knew the workload in Australia! However, really happy about her commitment.

Well, the first day is over, we feel truly blessed to have had such a good start. We now have 47 enrolled students, privilege and responsibility! Not bad for a school of three classes! Thankful because God is at work and making this possible.

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