Thursday, March 6, 2008

Adventures With Mark

Okay, I will admit that this has been one of those rare few months were I am not sure what exactly to write. Yes, like all of you I have been busy and trying hard to juggle family, church and the start of a new school year here in Uganda. We are now six weeks into the school year and have about another six to go before term one is wrapped up. Before you and I know it we will be at Christmas again.
Yes, here are a few numbers that you have all been dying to know about Music For Life Primary School. Currently we have the biggest grade seven class we have ever had as our candidates as we call them here, are all working hard so they may pass their big exams at the end of the year. We have a total of 126 students that are on two different sites. Music For Life Primary School (MFLPS) has the students in grade four through grade seven with five full time primary teachers. There is also a part time computer teacher and an art teacher that works at both sites. The other site, or the Satellite School as we call it, has 27 students who are either in grade 2 or grade 3. It is a big house that we have rented where the students have school and dorm. There are two full time teachers and three resident assistants that look after the children before and after school. Yes, the fun part of getting them up in the morning and to bed at night after a good supper, some school prep time and devotions. There are two cooks that work hard to provide good meals and a night and day guard to make sure everyone is safe and sound. In all we have 7 full time staff and one part time staff at the satellite school. At MFLPS we do not only have teachers but three full time cooks and 8 resident assistants that help with children after school hours. A full time day guard and a driver finish the numbers off. All in all these 18 full time staff and two part-timers work together to make us one unit. With my self and another administrator, we have a total of 27 full time staff and three part time staff working together with these 126 children over two sites to ensure they receive a quality education and godly mentoring.
Now for the good part… We are hoping our new school will be completed and ready for us to move in at the end of this year. I know 127 children does not seem like a lot, but we are already too full in our current building for the amount of students we have and come May we will be receiving another choir. Yes, somehow, someway we will all have to fit in another 23 students into these two sites. Okay, maybe not always one big happy family, but we manage to enjoy each other and working with the kids. Please pray for grace as these new kids come and the pressure steps up for all staff and the kids

Adventures With Sarah

I can’t believe it’s been a month since we last wrote! Yikes, it went fast! As I try to remember what has actually been happening I wonder if I missed it! What did happen? As I collect my wits you can imagine my little boy ‘helping’ me as I write…given a tin of dominoes to conquer, he has begun taking them out one by one and flinging them on the tile floor because the noise is so great! Not only is the noise fun but watching them scuttle under the furniture and to every corner of the room is part of the delight, so there is a good pause between each onslaught as he waits for the last one to come to a complete stop. Oh yes, now I remember…. It has been a very busy month!
The beginning of every school term is busy for me as I help the kids write letters to their sponsors and this month was especially busy because I also had to take 3 photos of each kid and fill out update forms to keep their sponsors informed of any changes for them this year and add career goals and fun ‘favorites’ or likes that the sponsors might not know about. It’s a great way to get to know the kids better. I have an advantage over Mark in that way… he only gets to know the ‘bad’ ones well….The ones who sit on the other side of his desk in their ‘not so greatest of moments’. (Just yesterday he asked what I thought he should to two older boys who got in a fist fight…. I suggested window washing and scrubbing the stairwells with a small brush… I haven’t heard what happened but picturing either of those macho boys doing those menial tasks makes me smile…. I imagine feeling like ‘Little Orphan Annie’ {without the cool dog to keep them company}is not their idea of a good Friday afternoon.) Anyway, besides the sponsorship I am also writing reports for the organization; interviewing staff who traveled somewhere or were involved in an event that needs to be recorded and written in a way that could be used in their magazine if necessary. Many of you know that is right up my alley so I have been enjoying that.
Otherwise child maintenance has been my main occupation…. The child who, by the way, is now in the high chair next to me, mutilating little pieces of bread into littler pieces of bread and practicing his new trick which I am trying to ignore (sticking his fingers in his nose up to the knuckle… this a very new trick and I’m hoping that no reaction keeps the intriguing discovery of the cool holes to a minimum).
I’m not sure what Mark is going to write, but from my perspective, this month has been one of the toughest for him at the school since we’ve come. He has been utterly exhausted and it has been hard to know how to help. Please pray for strength, good health, and wisdom for him. Please pray that I am able to help in ways I can which includes not getting irritated when the work seems to consume him completely and is never ending. I will add, though, it seems Seth is Mark’s little battery re-charger. It is so cool to see Seth’s face light up when he hears daddy honk the horn at the gate in the evening. We always run out on the porch and his arms and legs are pumping as he watches daddy pull in. For the next 10 or 15 minutes Seth has to be with daddy otherwise he starts fussing. And Mark has a blast playing and laughing with him. Praise God for little ones! My most appreciated contribution to the ‘family time’ is quite definitely a nice meal for everybody! In summary, God is good and brings joy in the little things even though there seems to be many challenges right now. Thank for all your love and support! Till next month, Sarah

Adventures With Seth

Mommy is taking a nap so daddy is helping with my article this month. In fact I even sat in his big chair the other day and used his office to do some of my work. Exciting stuff as I get to tell everyone what I am up to these days. My highlight for today was going up and down the stairs on the porch all afternoon. I love it when I take mommy or daddy’s hand and lead them where I want to go. I do it mostly so mommy and daddy stay in shape. Another interest of mine is when they turn on the big boom box and I can listen to some of those cool songs. I like to dance and jive up and down with a big smile on. Mommy and daddy laugh which makes me think I have them in the palm of my hand. Well, this is it for my news article as daddy says I have to keep it short. However I want to say that I am have many new words in my head but can’t always get them out properly and will be walking on my own very soon. No mommy or daddy to slow me down… yahoo, lookout kampala! PS. I like to eat dirt. Mommy says that’s bad. Too bad she’s usually watching (but when she’s not!.....)

My First Valentines

I had my first Valentines a bunch of days ago and got a few kisses from mom and dad. Then dad surprised me with this piece of paper that when you open it made a funny noise. I laughed and opened it again and again for a long time. In fact mom and dad keep it high on a special shelf and only let me play with it when I am having a bad day.

Helping Mom

Yes, here I am again helping mom organize a few things. I did not like how she placed all these things in the closest so I decided to surprise her one morning when she was busy and help her out. I was just in the process of putting them all back when she found me. She thought it was funny as it was my first time to try and help her in this way.