Be sure to check out the “July 2015” photos from the Photos page.
July is our busiest month and what we call “team season.” Though we are blessed in the other summer months to have church plant teams come for a half or full day (usually on a Saturday), July days typically are filled with teams that come to Uganda specifically to spend time at Lulwanda. Each day is always fun and full, offering activities and opportunities that are different from the norm.
Having come two weeks earlier than their team, Tanya and her daughter Chloe continued their work at Lulwanda Primary School. Chloe helped in the nursery and Tanya held a variety of teacher training sessions that were a great success as she modeled how to bring interactive methods into the classroom.
Books Are The Beginning Team and Global Journey
The Books Are The Beginning (BATB) team members have been longtime friends of Lulwanda, with their leaders being former board members of GICF. It was such a joy to welcome them back. Amidst a team of 20 people, only 3 had never been to Lulwanda before (with this being trip number 4, 8, and 12 for some of the members- WOW!).
This is the 5th year for Global Journey to send a team to Lulwanda Children’s Home. This year their dates coincided with the BATB team exactly and they were able to join in on all the planned activities of BATB.
The teams worked diligently in the library, discarding worn books, restocking the shelves with a ton of new books, labeling books that had not yet been processed, and organizing the library into a more usable space. We are so grateful that this team (who created the library in the first place) has consistently emphasized and encouraged Lulwanda Primary to take up a reading culture (which is very uncommon in Uganda). Pray that our children would learn to love reading and seeking knowledge and adventure.
With many educators on this team, our teachers were able to reap the benefit of years of educational wisdom and experience, including phonics training for all of our teachers.
Every day from 3:30-4:30 all “daily tasks” on campus would stop as everyone went to their designated group for an all-campus Bible study. This year we studied John 15, as we learned that Jesus is the True Vine and we are the branches, and that in a life of abiding in Christ, all hope, all peace, and all things are possible.
A select group of girls were able to express themselves through the art of ballet. Teacher Sue worked diligently with an older and younger group to instruct them in a beautiful dance that was performed for the whole campus during our Friday fellowship.
Buckets of Hope
BATB also continued the beloved tradition of our staff and children blessing the village around us by giving out the “Buckets of Hope”. Friends and family in the States sponsor a “Bucket of Hope” filled with useful items such rice, posho, peanut sauce, sugar, salt, cooking oil, Vaseline, soap, a mosquito net, and a Bible (this year in the local language, Lugisu). The morning started with children helping to re-arrange the Main Hall into an assembly line for the different items and measuring out 1kg of each of the food items. The children then “assembled” the buckets together. This year we were able to make 150 buckets for the community and 55 for our Lulwanda staff and teachers.
We then broke into groups comprised of several children, a staff member, a team member, and a church member. The teams then went throughout the village to deliver the gifts. At each home we explained that we have been shown great love by Jesus and wanted to share that love with our neighbors. The children were encouraged to pray for each home before we left. It was a real blessing to be able to love our community through this outreach. Once groups arrived back at Lulwanda after delivering their buckets, there was much chatter and excitement as we shared stories of who we met and especially what gifts we were given to bring back. Though unexpected, many children returned with gifts of maize, sugar cane, avocados, and even a few chickens as community members offered these as a sign of gratitude and love.
This wonderful day ended with a crusade led by the children of Lulwanda and other groups.
The primary learning style in Uganda is lecture and rote memory. But the students at Lulwanda Primary School were able to bring theory into hands-on practice with 3 days focused on science experiments. Students of all levels were taught to make hypotheses and test them with a wide range of experiments, including topics such as gravitational pull, magnetics, air force, and buoyancy. Each classroom was filled with smiling faces as they learned and had fun doing it.
One of the real highlights came for the P6 and P7 students who were able to see different specimens under a microscope for the first time. Thanks to BATB team member, Mary Jane (who applied for the grant), Lulwanda Primary School was given 12 “foldscope” microscopes (look at their website). Children were encouraged to find different things to look at under this pocket-sized cardboard microscope — from butterfly wings to earthworms to mango puree to toad poison.
But the greatest thrill came when the children were instructed to catch a frog and a lizard for the purpose of dissection. While being guided through the dissection procedures, I heard a teacher comment, “Unless you studied science at upper secondary levels, even some of us as teachers have never dissected anything or looked through a microscope.” The students were led through the scientific method and the week’s events culminated with a science fair in the main hall, complete with poster boards and diagrams. It was a huge success in the eyes of the BATB team and the children who participated.
What a wonderful opportunity for our primary students to be exposed to the intricacies of the world that God has created. And what a lasting impression this has made. Head Master William told me this week, “The science was good and has opened the children’s minds. They are still asking to “operate” on lizards. We need these students to show our secondary students.” (I agree and hope that this can happened during the August holiday).
Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church Team
A team of 17 people from MDPC arrived at Lulwanda towards the end of the month. This team brought great energy and excitement as more than half their team were youth in high school or college.
The team spent the mornings participating in house to house evangelism, leading an assembly at another primary school, and moving around Mbale town on a scavenger hunt as our Lulwanda children were in school.
Vacation Bible School
During the afternoons, they divided the Lulwanda Primary Students into groups where we held a three day VBS (of sorts). Children were encouraged to “Live like the King,” as they heard stories of many Bible figures who were not necessarily kings but lived out fully who God called them to be through their words, deeds, love, and faith. The theme verse was 1 Timothy 4:12, “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example to other believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” It was great to move around class by class and see the stories of the Saints coming to life through drama, story telling, and art. The children also were able to participate in a variety of games and crafts that were part of the program. We are so thankful when others come in to stand beside and reinforce the stories and lessons that we daily try to teach our children.
The Good Neighbor Day
We had an extra special Good Neighbor Day, as we joyously were able to come together and include the team members from MDPC, the church that started and still sponsors our Good Neighbor Program. The day before the event, some of the Lulwanda children came to me asking, “Teacha, are you leading the program or is the team? We hope it is the team because then we know if will be very fun!” And that it was. The team did a great job leading the Bible study, presenting a skit, teaching the small groups, and providing some fun entertainment that had us all laughing. We were also able to pair our 12 new children with new friends from the village. How great to reach out beyond our gates and bless 120 children within the surrounding community.
As if the schedule and activities of these teams and our normal schooling program weren’t enough, Lulwanda Primary School also participated in the annual music competition. The children shined as they took home second place.
As the Lulwanda family, we were happy that visiting teams paid for our secondary students to come home two of the weekends in July. It is always good to see them.
Lulwanda Children’s Home is blessed to have so many people who come to visit. The relationships formed between the sponsors and their sponsored child are priceless.