This month our family grew and we could not be more happy.
New Intake 2015
As mentioned in last month’s reports, social inquiries were done in April to visit and confirm the details of the new children that Lulwanda would welcome into our family. And on May 5, 2015 twelve children’s lives were forever changed. It was a long day, with children and guardians arriving at our partnering clinic in town throughout the day. Thorough medical exams were given to each child, including blood screening for malaria, HIV, and sickle cell anemia. Praise God that ALL of our children are HIV negative!! We also had a short visit to the local court where the magistrate met all of our children, reviewed their documents, and agreed to their placement at our Home.
But the most exciting part of the day was in the evening when the new children actually arrived at Lulwanda. Children and staff had eagerly been waiting for them the whole day. As the vans entered the gate, all of the family rushed out to see who had arrived and would be joining our family. Some of our older children had already been assigned as the “parent” of the new children and these partnerships were quickly introduced to one another. The “parents” help make sure that their child has their uniform ready, has brushed their teeth, helps to bathe them, and assures they have eaten their meals and washed their plate. It is so sweet to see them together, especially the older boys with the new littlest ones. It is amazing what a change we have already seen in these children in one month’s time. They began school with the start of Term 2 and are slowly learning English, though most are able to communicate in their local dialect with someone on campus. Praise God for this great accomplishment and how we get to daily see the transformation of hope happening in each of these children.
New Social Workers
In May, we also welcomed two new social workers into our family. Olive and Paul were the two candidates who shined in the midst of 44 applicants and have already proved that they are hard workers and have a heart for the children. We are excited to have them as part of our staff team and Lulwanda family.
New International Friends
The Palmer family also hosted their first visitors from home, Leighanne and Katelin, who are longtime family friends from Georgia. It has been a blessing to have them at Lulwanda, playing with the children, learning to sort rice and beans, and building relationships with the staff. Leighanne returns to her home in Georgia at the beginning of June, but we are so happy to have Katelin remaining in Uganda to live with the Palmer’s for the rest of the year.
May began with all of our children home from secondary school and out of classes for Term 1 holidays. As with every holiday, daily chores are performed by our children. But we also planned some special activities and events.
Twice a week our boys were able to sharpen their skills with the instruction from a skilled soccer coach. His first instruction was, “Your football playing won’t be smart unless you look smart doing it.” So, dressed in their clean sportswear and looking like semi-professionals 😉 the boys headed to the field. They all enjoyed it and are looking forward to the coach’s return next holiday.
Twice a week we also held “classes” for all of the children, taught by different staff members. Every child had the opportunity to participate in various activities, such as basketball lessons taught by John, embroidery lessons taught by Natalie, cooking “Kampala g-nuts” (g-nuts means ground nuts which means peanuts) and village style matooke by Auntie Christine, and making playdough and paper mache by Bobbi. We hope to continue this activity next holiday with new “classes” so if you have any good ideas of something to teach, let us know.
In response to the wonderful work that the Lord did during our Easter celebration, John held a new believers class every Monday for about 15 children who trusted Christ for the first time or had questions about the assurance of their salvation. John was encouraged to see young and older children attend and was able to answer many of their questions, as well as walking through Truths described in a “new believers curriculum”.
We also celebrated the birthdays that were between January and April. The “party planners” met to create a program and delegate the details of making the day a success. Some helped to decorate the main hall, some gathered items for the game, some packed the birthday gifts, and others baked the cakes. After lunch all the children and staff were welcomed in the Main Hall to begin the afternoon’s activities. The names of the “birthday babies” were called to sit in seats-of-honor in the front, together with the twelve new children. A special dance presentation was given by a group of younger children, who had been trained by Josephat and Peace. There was also a breakdance performed by David Lucky and some of our other older boys. A group of secondary girls created a short choreographed dance, but the most impressive presentation was a harmonized acappella performance arranged completely by the girls in the hostel. They sounded beautiful. The program continued with giving gifts and a few games, including a water balloon shuffle and toss, “blind” Pictionary, and a soda-drinking contest. We ended the celebration enjoying cake and sodas and everyone was very happy.
The Good Neighbor Day – May 15
The Friday before a new school term begins, Lulwanda always welcomes in our Good Neighbor friends for a day of fellowship, fun, and the Word of God. Once again, the day was a great success. We are thankful that the Lord allows us to offer love and friendship to the community around us.
Wise Choices for Life
The WCFL team went for their final training in the third module and completed the course. It is wonderful to be equipped with information and knowledge that is not freely talked about, and then to be empowered to go and share this information.
The oldest ten children, Emma Ocaya, Naster, Ivan Kuloba, Doreen K, Mercy, Allen, Sylvia, Anthony Wanzala, Zulufa, and Ritah, enjoyed their first holiday living at Tendo instead of Lulwanda. This was a big change for them, with a lot of life lessons learned. The children did a good job learning how to plan a menu, set a schedule, make a budget, take public transport, and shop / bargain at the market. They were daily responsible for preparing their own meals and managing the cleanliness of their home.
But still being part of the Lulwanda family, these children also went back “home” every Tuesday and Thursday to spend time with their younger brothers and sisters. They also were present at Lulwanda and active in the special events that happened during the holidays like the birthday party and TGN day.
Tendo Prayer Dedication
On Saturday, May 9th, the Tendo children welcomed the whole Lulwanda family to their new home in town. Staff members and children were given a tour around the house and compound, and were then able to sit and enjoy the garden as they waited for the next busload to arrive from Lulwanda. Once everyone had arrived, the program commenced with a warm welcome and the introduction of the new Tendo parents. The Tendo children led everyone in worship songs and then each of them guided us to pray through specific prayer points. We prayed for protection over the children and the compound, and for all the children that pass through Tendo to grow into God-fearing, honorable people. It was a special moment which united us together as a family. We celebrated how far the Lord has brought us and for the next season He is taking us into with raising and training up young adults.
The second term of the school year began on May 18, 2015. The new children are looking very smart in their new uniforms and adapting to the daily routine of a school schedule.