Praying Mantis in the Prayer Room and a Shed Load of Rain!
Posted by Uganda Action Team 2011-12 at 13:32 on 9th March 2012
Since our last blog it has rained - hallelujah! We were so excited that we all went for a walk in the torrential rain, much to the confusion of the locals, because they will not go out in the rain unless they absolutely have to! Many are convinced they will get a fever if they get rain on them!
Jem and Alice in our flooded compound - it almost got in the door!
We also had great excitement one day when there was a weird green bug hanging in the prayer room. Jem thought it was a praying mantis, thanks to some ‘Predator Top Trumps’ and no one has told us otherwise! (So if you know what it actually is, feel free to let us know!) Our night guard, Fred, then told us it was ‘somehow poisonous’ and thankfully took it outside!
Praying Mantis in the Prayer Room - took a while to see the irony there!
So it’s pretty much been business as usual for the last couple of weeks, which is why we haven’t blogged sooner. There have, however, been a few irregularities – firstly, we had a visit from Deb and Dug Benn, who we are always thrilled to see, thanks especially to Deb’s chocolate flapjack! It was an opportunity for them to see where we we’ve been living and working and we also took them to visit Pastor Abel and Mama Harriet, which both couples seemed to thoroughly enjoy!
Ian with his huge stack of pancakes - they all went pretty quickly!
As you probably know, it has also been Pancake Day recently and we just couldn’t resist celebrating! We felt a bit sorry for our Ugandan friends not knowing about this amazing day, so we invited some of the pastors and their families around to share the stack of pancakes that Ian spent a few hours frying! The evening involved a lot of talking, laughing and eating and was probably the rowdiest Pancake Day we’ve ever experienced. We ended the evening with about an hour’s dancing to some LZ7 and random dance music, as well as playing a form of pass-the-parcel with Alice’s hat, where you had to dance if the music stopped on you! We’re not sure if everyone realised that we were controlling when the music stopped though!
Norah dancing during a bit of 'pass-the-hat'!
We are still attending devotions on Wednesday mornings with the guys at the Technical Institute and are only now really getting to be able to worship to the style and songs that they have here. One of the biggest barriers we have found to us being able to worship here is the language barrier, as without the meaning behind the songs, they’re just funny words which we can’t pronounce properly! But we are trying to learn the songs and we ask Pastor Abel what the songs mean so that they are no longer just words.
English lesson at KTI - teaching 'covering letters'.
Also at the Technical Institute, we have been continuing to teach English lessons and over the past two weeks we have been looking at ‘CV’s’ and ‘covering letters’. These are things which we have been asked to do by the students and although we feel we could teach the basics of these fairly well in England, the issue we have struggled with here is that we are not sure what you need to put into each of these in Uganda. But we’ve had a crack at it anyway and are looking forward to doing some more light hearted lessons in the couple of weeks we have left. As well as the lessons, we’ve been attending the student debates on topics such as ‘Beating children should not be allowed’ and ‘The coming of Europeans did more harm than good’, with Ian being roped in as main speaker for one! They tend to be quite funny events, especially when the chairperson repeatedly ‘disallows’ comments.
Philemon debating that beating children should be allowed - he doesn't really think that, just enjoys the arguement!
We have been continuing community work on Saturday mornings with the local youth by cleaning another market a couple of weeks ago and levelling the ground and clearing up the site at Kabagala in preparation for a women’s conference which took place last weekend. Cleaning markets here consists of collecting all of the rubbish into lots of small piles which are then set fire to. Although this does the job here, there is no thought of climate change even considered, and it still looks a mess with lots of piles of smouldering rubbish all over the place. Also at Kabagala, they have built a new building for the school as there are not enough classrooms at the moment, so two of the classes were taking place in the church building. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to help out with the painting during a Wednesday community work session, with Ian and Alice doing some doors and Jem and James inside painting one of the classrooms.
Alice painting a door . . . and pulling a funny face!
Having previously been frustrated at the lack of work there has been for us at Kabagala Primary School, we have pushed to have a bit more of a role whilst we are there. Although we are often still doing much the same things as we were before, marking books and writing up work, we are also now helping the children to do the work they have been set. This is often just to tell them where they need to put an answer or to write something but even this is a massive help for some of them who just don’t understand what they are expected to do. We have also gotten the opportunity to go down to the local well to fetch water for the school which is quite fun but also quite a strain to carry a 20kg jerrican up the fairly steep hill leading back from it. Having now done this for ourselves, we can really appreciate just how impressive it is for people to do this every day without even breaking a sweat.
Collecting water from Kabagala's pump - those big jerricans are heavy!
Jem and Alice have also recently been enjoying leading the Sunday School at Kinoni Church. The main issue is the language barrier, especially as the lady who translates rarely arrives before it finished, however the use of crafts means talking isn’t too necessary. We’ve also taken to getting a Bible verse translated into Luganda, which the children write down and learn as a memory verse, so as well as having fun they do learn ‘Bible stuff’. So far we’ve made a boat with Jesus in saying ‘with Christ in the boat we can smile at the storm’; handprints to show them that God has their names written on his hands; and hearts with the greatest commandment written on them (love the Lord your God with all you heart etc). We’re currently in the process of planning the next one!
'Yesu bwaba mu lyato tusekerera no mu yaga ngaguze.'
In other schools work, we are no longer going to Loyal Foundation School, as there is little real need for us there, although we are continuing to teach at Parents Academy School. We’re really starting to enjoy our time spent there, especially when our arrival in the classroom is greeted by a cheer! Our most recent time there coincided with International Women’s Day, so none of the day students were there, which meant we could have some fun lessons with our classes. Thankfully we’d even thought to take sweets along with us and the pupils really appreciated that!
Maths challenges at Parent's Academy - they got a sweet for every 10 correct answers!
Finally, we again want to thank everyone who is reading our blog and remembering us in the far away land of Uganda! We’d really ask you to keep praying for us, as we’re all too aware of how little time we have left and in the last couple of months especially we have built so many new relationships and so many new things have happened!
Thank you and God Bless,
Ian, Jem, Alice and James
The Astonishing Uganda Action Team!