Thursday, October 25, 2012

A pause in the whirlwind.

It’s amazing what four months can do.

One of many beautiful views of Kanungu

I was back in Kanungu for a few days as my school was on a week of holiday culminating the first term, and the village was quite the whirlwind of activity. New shops have been completed since I visited last (and the girl in me was so excited to explore them!) Really though, in terms of retail, my favorite part of Kanungu is the cobbler, who does the best shoe repair for a $1.25 that I have ever seen. My much-used Payless sandals were coming unglued from their soles, and he re-glued them and stitched all the way around the edges. The last time I had him repair sandals was before I left for the USA last year, and those leather flip flops lasted me a whole season of teaching middle school without his work coming undone. There are examples of amazing African craftsmanship all over the place; this one just happens to be my favorite.

As always, much time was spent in the village schools, and my beloved class from last year is preparing for their primary leaving exams. (Imagine a test around the end of eighth grade that tells you whether or not you can be accepted to high school.) The test is cumulative, and it doesn't seem easy for the level of education in the region. The test is a universal one for Uganda that comes straight from the capitol. I suppose it’s like an SAT for high school, but remember the literacy issues I've mentioned? It becomes more complicated than it sounds, and there is no such thing as special needs or adaptations. I’m praying for these kids, and especially my friend Wilson, who seems like a nephew to me. If he does well, I have to figure out the money to send him to secondary school. I was a little misinformed about the fees- but it still doesn't sound like it tops $200 per year. But secondary school here is six years long, so my life plan will include money and Africa for a while. Still, I think it’s the worthiest investment anyone could make. Not to be trite, but education is the future, and that’s true of every nation. And then I have six years to figure out how to get him to university in or out of this country (a project that I hope the Kanungu library will be able to take on for any village student someday!) Over Christmas I hope to talk to some stateside universities about their Third World scholarship options. There have to be some out there, right?

Muzungu hair never fails to amuse- and I love every second of it :)

Meanwhile, just before I left for Kanungu, my school here in Kampala had their high school retreat. We were at the beautiful Garuga Beach Resort in Entebbe.

Lake Victoria (unfortunately, not swimmer friendly, but there was a pool!)

Garuga Resort- our wonderful accomodations

Much fun was had, and I gave my first sermon! Ok, several of the best points were borrowed (with full credit given!) from the amazing team at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glenn Mills, Pennsylvania ( What got me though was the conversation afterward- the boys and girls were divided by gender and age, and set with a teacher to discuss questions relating to the message. One of my questions for them was who do you talk to when you struggle? The girls, by a vast majority, were silent on this, and it caused me great pain. Where would I be without my close girlfriends from high school, to whom I could tell anything? They all discussed fear of being judged. Some admitted to confiding in their parents- once in awhile. So I’ve become determined to set up an older girls’ fellowship/community/friendship/chill group that can trust each other and truly talk. When the kids discuss God, they express annoyance that praying is not like Facebook or a text message; there is no instant reply. That, I think, is why we need the supplemental human sounding boards: people to listen, and help us see beyond the clouds of our own emotions when drama kicks its way into our lives.

Like my Seuss-y pep talk picture?

My sermon prep, and some loving Twizzlers from home in the USA were definitely a hit!
But along with the seriousness, the kids had a great time on this trip, and many laughs were had as students and teachers flew their way down a homemade soapy waterslide.

Teachers and students- same expression!

PE teacher gets in on the action


There is always more to tell, but I admit that I’m still recovering from last night’s ten hour bus journey (less than four hours of it on paved roads…)

As always

Lots of Love,


PS- Did I mention the teachers had Canadian Thanksgiving the other week? Poor Canadians, trying to be just like us Americans- even copying our holidays ;)
It’s all right! The real Thanksgiving is still to come!

Miss Terri, master of ceremonies

Some of the Heritage gang!

Food time!


It isn't a party if someone isn't teasing Michael, our IT magician and a dear friend :)

Mom, how much dessert can I have?

(No, I’m not ethnocentric, it’s just a running American/Canadian joke at school. Still though, the food will be better at ours! :P) -D <3 nbsp="nbsp">