Saturday, June 09, 2007
This entry was written a few days prior, although I was not able to post until today.
This morning I decided that I was going to pray with Bomba every opportunity I had. For the past two days, Bomba has been “bad” in class and has not had a heart drawn on his arm at the end of the Kindergarten class. When Bomba came in from morning assembly and was holding the door open, just after the last person left, I held Bomba’s hands and whispered in his ears, “God help Bomba receive his heart today.” Bomba smiled and went on with the rest of the class after shutting the door. Bomba’s job this week was to shut the door after everyone had left.
In Kindergarten they take many breaks, one break every hour, at a minimum. Bomba and I prayed after every toilet break. At the end of the day, Bomba received his heart! This consequence made him very happy! =) Bomba’s behavior was excellent. His teacher later asked me what I was whispering in Bomba’s ear, I told her, “I was praying with Bomba, praying that he would receive his heart today.” The teacher then relayed to Bomba, “God listens, and God answered Auntie Faith’s prayer. When she prayed that you would behave and God would help you be obedient, you were. Bomba, God will listen to you too.”
This made Bomba extremely happy. In fact, he waited to receive his lunch, so that he could stand in line with me. When he received his plate of food, he took the food to the table and searched for a table that had two empty seats, one for me, and one for him. This took Bomba a while, but he managed to do so. He then protected that very seat with his life. I was the guest of honour at Bomba’s table. =) We ate pumpkin, something kind of like a tortilla, and overcooked peas—when you’re hungry, it doesn’t really matter what you eat.
After lunch I was able to help some of the secondary school girls with study hall and tutoring. One of the girls named Winnie wrote me a nice letter. I have made a picture of it so that you can read the letter.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
This morning I woke up and took a nice 5k run. I had not a problem waking up and getting out of bed—yah…no more jet lag! When I put on my socks, I noticed I have my first sandal tan of the season…heheh! My feet have nice little criss-crosses on them. After coming back from running I took a nice cold shower and Abigail cooked us bacon and eggs for breakfast. Yah for breakfast being made for you!
Morning assembly took place in the classrooms, due to rain. These kids love singing hymns. The hymn of the week is, “God will take care of you.” We sang the Ugandan National Anthem, and then the hymn of the week. Jesca led the Morning Prayer in the classroom—we prayed that God would help us be obedient to the teacher and that we would receive hearts. The students have a heart drawn on their forearm when they are good during the school day.
I am able to jump in and help at any moment, which is fun. Today I especially enjoyed helping the students understand the bible story, as we acted out the parable. The children are very cute. I am surprised that all of the boys and girls have shaved heads; this makes it somewhat difficult to tell the difference between males and females. I am very slowly learning the names of the Kindergarten class. Skovia and Phiona are in Momma Alice’s family, I have learned their names. Bomba is “bad,” therefore I learned his name. Alice is absolutely adorable; I have learned her name. The rest, I still need to work on.
During my lunch I spent time with the math teacher, learning how she wanted me to help these students, this was an answered prayer. Yesterday I felt very unsure as to what was wanted—approach, when, where, etc.
Study hall is a quiet time for the girls at the JSS. Individuals asked me for help on select problems and otherwise it was quiet. Coaching the girls one on one was fun. The girls are appreciative and easy to work with. Today I helped Deborah and Joan. Tomorrow will be Essy and Justine Patra.
My days here are much less busy than they were at home, in fact, they are kind of relaxing, but I am blessed by these students day in and day out, as I was by the students in San Antonio.
And you thought jet lag was bad Day 1! Ha! I slept solid (which is fairly normal for me), and did not get up at 6AM when I had my alarm set for. I had planned on going running, nix that one. I did throw on some clothes, eat, and run over to the primary school, just in time for morning assembly.
Morning assembly is interesting. The children line up with their teachers, all in a row. They sing the Ugandan National Anthem, sing the hymn for the day, and have a time for announcements.
In the Kindergarten class there are 18 students, and usually two teachers in the room. I help them write letters of the alphabet, learn the numbers before and after any number between one and one hundred, and sound out words. You would think that you were in an American classroom, except the students are very quiet and respectful, answer the teacher by saying, “Yes, teacher…,” raise their hands, sing and pray to God frequently (only at appropriate times) and have lots of restroom breaks. Instruction itself is very similar and kids are kids.
At lunch time they served me a tiny portion, I had to ask for more. I am not used to eating so little; I think most “white” people eat much less than myself. The lunch time meal is a native meal. On Tuesday we ate potatoes, peanut butter sauce, and warm sauerkraut. I ate lunch with the students.
In the afternoon I went to the JSS (Junior Secondary School) to help during study hall (this is when the girls do their homework) and then to coach in math. 5th and 6th grade math is not my forte, but it is where the girls need help. Working with them is refreshing. They appreciate and want your help. I have been spending most of the time reviewing multiplication and division facts.
When I went down to Kim and Tylers to charge my computer both of them were out. I enjoyed a nice game of go fish with Maggie (Kim and Tylers 5-yr. old daughter), and read her two or three different stories.
In the evening, after supper and playtime, I went down to Kim and Tyler’s house. They showed us a documentary one of the mini-missionaries, Lesli had created. By profession Lesli is an art teacher at the University of North Texas, on her free time, she is an artist. The documentary was about bark cloth and basket weaving. Bark cloth comes from the bark of a tree. A person takes the bark off, hits it thousands of times with a mallet, and then stretches the bark. Ugandan’s have worked with bark cloth for many years and it is considered a cultural artifact.
We were greeted at the airport by the Micklers (FH group and members/missionaries supported by FPC) and by Mike Enis (Rafiki). Rafiki has four people from FPC—Virginia, Naomi, Abigail, and myself (Faith). There are a few other mini missionaries staying with us at the same time.
The ride from Entebbe Airport in Uganda to the Rafiki Village was quite interesting. People will do anything to avoid a pothole. I felt at times as though a semi just wanted to hit us! Kinda scary—I guess my Mom would have to drive! Oh and by the way…I’ve seen about ten Subaru’s here in Uganda.
Upon arrival at the Rafiki Village we signed in with the guards. Mike told us that we would be signing in just once, after that, “you live here and are no longer guests.” The village has two guards on the outside at all times, and another two on the inside. We are very well protected, as are the children.
We came into the village and were oriented immediately. They showed us the guest house, and were given about two hours to lay low—nap, read, unpack… I chose to unpack, as I will be here for 5 ½ weeks. This is a fairly simple process when you only have one bag of things for you. The bags with the bibles and pajamas that were brought were taken immediately and placed in a separate area with the ROS staff (full time missionaries).
At our first meeting we were given our assignments. I am working with Kindergarten in the morning, and tutoring (in Uganda they call it coaching) in math, in the afternoon. I was excited to receive my duties!
Dinner the first night was a neat experience. The seven mini-missionaries (I would be one of the seven) sat in a row at the back of the dining hall. The children came in with their mothers (Momma Alice was mine) to eat dinner. They walked over to the sink, and washed their hands with soap. No towels! =) As a family, they placed out the table settings, filled the cups with water, and served each of the plates, including a plate for me. One mini-missionary sits at each table. A child came and held my hand (there is a schedule for what table each mini eats at), and directed me to the sink. I washed my hands with soap, dried them by shaking them, and then was led to the table.
On a side note, Mom, you’ll like this one… When you sit down the first words you say to the mother and to the child are “Thank you.” They both respond, “You are welcome.”
One of the children will prayed and then we ate, as a family unit. Table conversation was a minimum, or shall I say it was non-existent. My understanding is that this is typical. That’s difficult for me, as my family gathers around the table and talks. You eat, and that is all you do. The boys and girls eat quite a bit of food. More than I do on most days! (And I eat a lot!) The food is bland, but not too shabby. The pineapple is amazing, so are the avocado and the mango.
After dinner we had playtime. With my kids I played “in and Out the Village,” “Duck, duck, goose,” and just running around. Play time lasted for 30 minutes; it becomes dark around 6:30PM. The children went back to the house with Momma Alice and she prepared them for bed. I too could not get to bed fast enough, being on a different schedule is quite the challenge for one’s body. Needless to say, I went to bed, fairly early.
My first flight from San Antonio to Chicago O’hare did not go very well. This is okay, because we know that God is good. The following flight, also on United Airlines took us from Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow. This flight went okay. I was extra blessed with two seats to myself. =) I was able to sleep the majority of the flight—at the end of the flight, I guess I was a lot less stressed, because I about passed out during the landing. That was scary.
Our team was able to take the Heathrow Express into London for the price of the cheap metro ticket, due to construction. The cheap ticket is also a slower train. Yah! Our lucky day! Due to a 12 hour layover at LHR this gave us about 4 hours to run around and explore some touristy spots in London. Lexi’s (our group leader) friend met us at one of the train stations and from there; she took us on a walk of part of central London. We were able to see Buckingham Palace, the Canadian Embassy, The Westminster Abby, The National Museum of Art (we were able to view a Rembrandt, and a Monet, among some of the more famous artists!), and Big Ben, just to mention a few of the sights.
By the time we arrived back at the LHR airport, we were exhausted from a full day of sightseeing. Many of us were looking forward to sleeping on our next leg on Kenya Airways, from LHR to Nairobi, Kenya. Once again, I was blessed with an empty seat next to me! This enabled me to lie down across the seats, and sleep for the majority of the flight.The last leg of the flight was nice and short—about 50 minutes from Nairobi, Kenya to Entebbe, Uganda and there I sat next to a local Ugandan and spoke to him about his work, his plans, etc. All team members luggage arrived at the Entebbe airport. One bag of supplies did not make it with the Food for the Hungry (FH) team. We are hoping that the bag shows up sooner than later.