Time flies when you are having fun. That is true both in America and in Uganda. We are grateful for God’s continued faithfulness that we see daily. May was a very fun month at Lulwanda, since all of our children were home for school holiday in between terms.
But before the term ended, Lulwanda Primary School had a few children qualify to participate in the District track and field competition. Though our team did not continue further, we are proud of our students and the name that they are making for Lulwanda Primary School as they interact with other children from other schools.
At the beginning of May we said goodbye to Bobbi, Lilly, and Jackson Palmer as they left for their furlough to spend the summer in America. With the general feeling of missing our great friends, we were thankful that the Lord made this holiday extra special with the arrival of other dear friends, Sue and Buzzy Green, joining us for some holiday fun and bringing along their special talents to teach.
You can imagine with 120 children back on Lulwanda campus, a timetable is nessary to schedule different chores, time to study holiday packages, Bible studies, and offer special classes. Generally the day starts a bit slower, allowing children to sleep in more than their rigorous early mornings that schools require. Chores continue until around 11am every day. On Tuesday and Thursday we have Bible studies where the children are broken into different age groups and we’re led by one of our staff in the parables of Jesus.
Also on Tuesdays and Thursdays, after lunch, each child attends a special class, such as baking, jewelry making, volleyball, and sewing bunting. Buzzy taught an eager group of children the notes of a harmonica, how to blow to create a specific sound, and even challenged some of the children to learn how to play Amazing Grace. Having attended the first few lessons I can attest that harmonica playing is much harder than it looks. I have a new found respect for any accurately played song I hear. Sometimes we still hear the hums of a harmonica coming out of a dorm room after school. The girls always love when Sue comes because she is our ballet teacher. This year there were two groups of girls, older and younger, who faithfully learned a beautiful routine that they have presented to our summer visitors. We are so grateful to have our friends and visitors come to see us, especially during holiday time. Thank you Sue and Buzzy for your faithful love to Lulwanda- the children and the staff.
We also were blessed to have Mr. Rob and Auntie Cathy come during the May holiday. Without having to host a team, they both had plenty of time to interact with the children, catch up with the secondary children, and hear the plans and hopes of our oldest 7 children at Tendo who will be graduating this year from secondary school. On many occasions I walked into the main hall to see Mr. Rob surrounded by a group of children looking at old photos and videos of when they were small. The squeals and joyous laughs were contagious as this served as a great reminder of how far the Lord (our Ebenezer) has brought each of the children.
One afternoon Mr. Rob and John collected the boys and some of our girls and to have a small lesson on velocity and air pressure. Mr. Rob showed a diagram of a “machine” and explained each part, piece by piece, to see who could guess what was being shown. One of our clever boys, Josephat, guessed before any other and was accurate in stating, “I think it is some sort of gun that shoots a potato.” Eyes were raised in curiosity as they learned they would be making just that and after making predictions, everyone was surprised as to how far the potato gun could shoot (way beyond their guesses).
One of the best days of the holiday was on a warm afternoon when we filled up over 900 water balloons. Typically after the first water balloon toss, all chaos breaks loose and it is a total free for all. But this time we posted guards at each bucket filled with water balloons and were able to organize the children into three groups that shot water balloons at each other with giant slingshots. Then the chaos was released. No one but Simon, Mr. Rob, Cathy and Auntie Christine (who hid in her room the whole time) was safe from water. Depletion of the supply of balloons didn’t stop anyone as children collected whatever container they could find to fill with water and pour on their friends. It was hilarious to see some of the staff members running from the children to avoid getting poured upon, but by the end of the fun, we were all drenched from head to toe.
This was not the only day for Uncle John to get drenched though. One birthday tradition in Uganda is that your friends pour water on you. The secondary children tell me that their friends have increased the intensity of this tradition and will pour soapy water or sometimes even water with leftover beans and posho on you (yuck!). Well in the spirit of birthday traditions the children timed John perfectly (even some plotting and planning to make sure he didn’t have his phone or car key in his pocket) and when he walked into the main hall they surprise attacked him. And when you have 120 children who love you and love some fun, he was not just drenched once but bucket after bucket, from every angle and every corner he turned he got another “blessing”. The children loved it and John was all smiles as well.
As part of an assignment for school, Allen and Doreen (two of our oldest girls) did a one-week internship with a local coffee shop in town, Endiro. They were taught many aspects of the business, including food prep, banking money, handling the cash register, and shopping for needed items. They both enjoyed their time at Endiro and the workers at Endiro appreciated how well mannered and hard working the girls were. (I totally had a “my babies are growing up!” mom moment the first time I walked in and saw the girls behind the counter busy at work.) Please pray that the Lord continues to shape our children into God fearing people and productive citizens for Uganda and the Kingdom and that our oldest would be able to narrow in on their dreams and ambitions for their future.
We celebrated the birthdays that were in January through April. The party planners worked hard to make sure that the decorations were beautiful, the cakes were delicious, the gifts were put together, the cards were made, and the games and entertainment were planned. Since we have more teenagers than young children and since children love to show off their dance moves, there were a number of groups who presented routines and we even had some “dance offs” between different children. Everyone was excited to see the new “strokes” (dance moves) their friends were doing. We also had fun doing different games, especially the yogurt drop, where one person stands on a chair and attempts to drop spoonful’s of yogurt into their friend’s mouth.
Lulwanda has always had a wonderful partnership with the local government and the officials that are over children’s homes in Uganda. As part of a national initiative, Lulwanda complied with the government’s requirement to resettle children who (contrary to what we were told when we accepted the children into LCH) have parent(s) that are willing and able to care for their child. Therefore on May 23, we resettled two of our boys, Peter Massa and Ivan Masifwa, who were found to have both parents still living and able to care for them. Honestly, as much as we would like to call this a “sendoff celebration” it was a sad day for everyone in the Lulwanda family. We were able to honor them with special gifts, including a photo album with photos from throughout their years at LCH and notes from most of the children and staff. Please pray for continued favor and clear communication of expectations between the LCH leadership and the government in regard to assuring that any resettlements done are to homes that truly are willing and able to care properly for the child.
May ended by saying goodbye to our secondary children who attend St. Mary’s College in Lugazi (about 3 hours away). The rest of the children awaited the Term Two at the beginning of June.