Thursday, August 1, 2013

Things keep happening

An additional cook - Margaret
It is now a month since we arrived back. The pace of life is a bit different with lots of the work not being physical which can make it not feel like as much is being achieved. However, the physical work has been progressing very well with the next four classrooms well underway. We have employed Margaret, a widow with three children who has come a number of times in extreme need. With Lucy our cook due to have a baby in a reasonably short time, she is able to help her and cook for the workers. So much nicer to pay her than give her a handout.

We have had some interesting times, with the need to ask a teacher to move on as he really didn't fit with what we are trying to do. Significantly for the poor man he did not understand us when we spoke with our good Australian accents. This of course was extremely difficult only made easier by knowing he doesn't have a family that he is supporting. The teacher is continuing until the end of term and has already been to Kampala for a couple of job interviews. Fortunately we have been able to employ someone else (not so much for this role) who is very experienced and yet very keen on learning more. We are still working on getting another teacher, had a funny time today when trying to contact someone's referee (thinking it was a pastor) and it was a Sheik!

The next four classrooms - doors and windows ready and brickwork started
It has been good to see some progress in the teaching of the children. We are asking for big changes in style for teachers (interestingly not that far from what the new Ugandan curriculum wants) and this is hard. Hard for local people to understand and to implement. Consequently I am often in the classroom working with the teachers and pupils. We hadn't managed to buy paddle pop sticks prior to coming and since I hadn't been able to find anything similar was wracking my brain for an option. Suddenly, I thought (well probably God popped the idea in) what about drinking straws. So, our bundling sticks are drinking straws cut up and they seem to be working well and are cheap and accessible. There is a lot of work to be done with maths. Most teachers don't understand the principles behind why you want to do things differently and in this area the curriculum doesn't help. Anyway, suffice to say I am putting lots of work into developing curriculum and working with the teachers. 

Learning maths with aids - exciting times!
Together we have been working with children from the Village of Hope on their mathematics (though this will extend to other subjects). We have found that many of them are needing additional help and we want to make sure that those capable of doing well academically get the chance. Some of their enthusiasm is fantastic.
Ron has been doing some practical work - a fantastic new wall in the bathroom means not getting water everywhere. Pipes in ready for the rainwater coming off the roof of the new building. Helping the workers and encouraging them. A bookcase for each classroom is the next project started today. He is also working on some database and financial stuff for the administration of the school. School record keeping in schools is not renowned for being good. Often in order to find if something is paid,  numerous receipt books are searched through. Ron also is being given opportunities at our church with leading a Bible study next week and preaching in a few weeks.

The next rainwater tank - at the moment a hole 12foot deep!
 (Please beware children)
We are seeing what we are doing now for school can be transferrable. We are also getting insights into many opportunities for that transferability, though we are not actively pursuing any of these at this time, of course.

Life continues to be fun here. We love the fresh mango/pineapple/banana smoothie that is usually partaken of each evening. We are so thankful for God's provision and His guidance. We love it when He shows us the Stop sign and the Go sign. We are thankful for the wonderful Ugandan friends we have, they give us advice, help us and genuinely love us. We are amazed at the interest of others in our work and continue to know that He will provide for all our needs. Less fun is the lack of water at times. Not nice having been in the dust all day and then there is no water. However frustrating, we are aware that we are so fortunate to normally have water on tap, to have been able to put in water tanks (though they did run out) and to have a lovely house to live in. The simple things can be lost in our other world but here we have learnt to appreciate them so much. Fun things (to us) happen, like waking this morning to an infestation of flying ants and seeing people desperately collecting them. One man's delicacy is another one's rubbish!

The laptops get used by teachers and other local people. Sometimes we are called on to assist people as well, the man in the picture is a local pastor getting help from Ron. The lady in the picture is a neighbour studying for a degree and is able to type up assignments without expense on our computer. We love being able to help the whole community.

When there is no water - this is how we get it! From a local stream in jerry cans. The building work must go on! So thankful for the tanks and the water came back on, so it was only one trip.