(Be sure to take a look at the April 2016 photos, which accompany this report.)
There were few days in April that passed without rain. And when it rains, it is usually a huge downpour. But it also usually works like clockwork- rain starts about 3:30pm and lasts for about an hour. Then the sun comes out again. This has been helpful for all the new pineapples, yams and other things that are being planted.
The students have reached the middle of their school term and have been focused on mid-term exams. This is also the month that a group of Lulwanda Aunties, Uncles, and younger siblings visited each of the secondary boarding schools that our older children are attending. Supplied with a hot meal and many useful items such as sugar, toilet paper, and extra school supplies, the team is welcomed with great joy at each of the schools. It is hard to believe that we have sixty-three children in secondary school! It puts a different light on Lulwanda “Children’s” Home since we actually have more teenagers than children. May the Lord continue to give us the grace and wisdom to navigate loving and leading this many teenagers.
Lulwanda Primary School held its own Parents’ Day and hosted many of the community children’s parents (as well as many of our staff members). It was a successful day that went smoothly and allowed the teachers to boast in the progress of their students.
One of the highlights of the month was the annual track and field competitions. LPS students could be found in the field after 4pm, practicing sprinting, long races, high jumps, and javelin throws. The school was split into three color teams (Blue, Red, Yellow) and held their own inner-house competition on 22 April. Their classmates enthusiastically cheered on participants, as the coveted prize was on the line… the winning team would receive a goat for a goat roast. (Ha, only in Uganda would this be the BEST reward ever!) The Home staff joined in on the active day on the field. There was even a competition between Home staff versus Teachers in the 100 meter race and the 200 meter relay. The students were so excited to see their teachers, aunties, and uncles running. At the end of the day the Red Team won the prized goat and were able to roast their piece of meat and matooke fingers (like plantain bananas) the following Monday. Being generous, they decided to share with their other friends and the goat roasting became a whole school event.
Lulwanda Primary School participated in sub-county sports competition against six other schools on April 29th. This is always a full day of fun, cheering, meeting with friends made in the previous year, and moving around the school grounds to see a new place. Though LPS isn’t very good at long distance races, there were many who shined in the short speed races. Egulasi Grace won her race, leaps and bounds ahead of all of her other competitors, but unfortunately was disqualified from moving forward to the District level because of her height. There are eight LPS students who are District Qualifiers, to compete in Mbale on May 10th:
From LCH: Wandiba Timothy, Madina Akello
From the Community: Kakai Emilly, Wasake Nickson, Nandala Jumis, Namono Gloria, Lutelema Kennedy, Semakula Shaffic
Outside of School:
During the weekends when the children are not in class, they are busy helping with chores, revising their books, and playing. Since it has been raining so much, new avenues of fun have been discovered. I caught the snap of the children sliding along the veranda after a giant downpour. With enough speed at the start, some of the children were able to slide the whole length of the girls’ dorm.
On Sundays the Palmer family comes out to play in the afternoon and John has been leading the children on adventure walks/hikes that end with a Bible lesson. Joseph also comes on Sundays and works with the children on music lessons and dances for presentations.
Another highlight of the month (at least for me J) was the return of Lulwanda’s program coordinator, Natalie, from her six month sabbatical. I was richly greeted with the sweet chants of “Teacha Natalie! Teacha Natalie!” as they swarmed the car, barely able to get out of the door, to give me hugs.
Apart from the children, April has been a month of working to bring a major facelift to Lulwanda. All the Home buildings are being painted, stonework is being done for flower beds, and the outside kitchen has been torn apart to put in new wood-burning stoves. Meanwhile, the cooks are bearing with old-school style of cooking on three stones. One of the Aunties said, “Sometime you have to move backwards to ultimately move forwards in progress.”
Please pray for all of the children as they beginning their final exams in May. Pray for a peaceful and cooperative Lulwanda as the secondary children return home in the middle of May. Pray for interest in the holiday timetable and special classes offered. Pray for wisdom as the staff collectively raise (many) teenagers. And pray for hearts to be drawn closer to the Lord and salvation to come during our bi-weekly Bible studies during holiday.
Program Coordinator, Lulwanda Children’s Home