We decided to divide up today and take two different directions. Todd, Andy, Henry (the Hearts and Hope Project Manager), Peter (the Education Coordinator), and Nicholas (the H&H accountant) spent the morning meeting with the architect making plans for the new regional secondary school. They also visited the land that has been purchased for the school and one of the few other secondary schools in the area.
Their time was well-spent. Andy and Todd are thrilled that they have more numbers to crunch and we look forward to having such a large project take place in 2015. Many more details will be coming!
Crystal, Violet (a Ugandan friend who helps us out), Mariah (another friend who is a Hearts and Hope employee and helps out during her breaks from the university), David (the H&H Advanced Sponsorship Coordinator), Ronald (the H&H Primary Sponsorship Coordinator), and I started out visiting Betty, a special needs student who is sponsored by a family in St. Charles. Her story was told in beautiful detail by Grant Ehlmann at Celebrate Uganda last year.
She has been at the school since February and is doing well! She was SO happy to see us; you need to brace yourself when you get a hug from Betty! We loved sitting on her bed and watching her open her package sent by the Ehlmanns. We also took her some other items she needed and cookies. Betty is being seen by a physical therapist twice a week and we all felt like she was doing better, both physically and emotionally. She told us that the pain in her arms has lessened. She also recorded a beautiful “thank you” message that we will be sharing later.
Our next stop was the St. John’s secondary school. We have 10 kids from Nakabango who are sponsored and attend this school. It was awesome to see them waiting for us in full school uniform on a Saturday! It was fascinating to see the many buildings that comprise this school and a joy to visit with these kids. Some of them have been in the sponsorship program since it began in 2006 and it was a thrill to see how well they spoke English and what great young adults they have become. Sponsors – you should be proud!!
Next we headed back to Kainagoga and visited the homes of four of the students who are sponsored there. It was humbling to see these kids with all of their siblings and to see where they sleep and where they eat. It was a much different visit from seeing them at school in their uniforms. Each of the homes was built with mud and sticks. Two of the four shared a foam mattress with an older sibling. The other two slept on the dirt floor.
We spent time with each family, asking about their family structure and how we could pray for them. I was touched by the desire each parent had for all of their children to attend school. The affirmation I felt in regards to our work to build schools and provide a way for kids to get a quality education was appreciated! Please know that, if you are sponsoring a child, you are making a difference. It is evident in the families we saw today.
We finished up the day with a quick visit to the Source Café. The dinner group tonight was small, allowing us time to visit with Ronald, Mariah, and Violet. I treasure each of them and we count them as true friends.
Today, we are worshipping in Nakabango and plan on attempting some special projects in the afternoon. Looking forward to seeing some old friends during our visit!