Friday, June 12, 2009

Mark… Not just a colleague, but a friend!

As our four year mark in Uganda approaches there are many things that come to mind after living in this great African country. Yes, another newsletter, but mostly thoughts about the students and staff that I have had the privilege to guide and work with. I believe that the results that God has blessed us with at the school are a due to many things like hard work and integrity, but high up on the list would be teamwork. I remember when I first arrived at the school and began to meet the different staff I was impressed by a man by the name of Mr. Masika.

Yes, I would like to introduce you to not just a colleague of mine, but a man who has become my friend and is a valuable part of the school. Unlike me, Masika Joseph has not only mastered the English language but is fluent in at least another 25 different languages and dialects. As a father of two I am amazed at how he parents his six biological children with the addition of two adopted children in a two bedroom house (two rooms total and a bathroom). This is not an easy task as half of his salary goes toward school fees. Not only do they make do, but they function as a happy family unit and are a testimony to many.

As a young man he faced many challenges during the brutal regimes of Uganda in the 1980’s. As a university student with a huge afro he escaped certain death when the taxi he was riding was pulled over at a road block. Everyone was instructed to get out. Masika could see bodies lying in the ditch and began praying. He was told by a soldier that he would either have to swallow a three inch bullet or have it implanted in his head. He was placed on high ground along the ditch and the soldier laid further back and sighted him with his gun. He sat there for some time holding the huge bullet and waiting to be shot. Miraculously another soldier intervened, insisting that surely Mr. Masika was not a member of the rebel party and he should be released. The two men argued for some time. After what seemed like an eternity, the taxi he had been riding in was waved on he found himself in the next passing truck heading to Mbale. This experience helped shape his life and brought him back on track for the Lord.

Over these four years I have seen such a dedicated man in Mr Masika. And I can say that about the majority of our staff. With no vehicle he is often on the public taxi (a van) by 6:00 am and on his way to school. After a full day of work you find him leaving school between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm and arriving home anywhere between six and eight in the evening depending on traffic at the taxi park and rain. Not only does this happen Monday through Friday, but the same early start on Saturday when we have school for half a day. He is a hardworking family man who rarely complains and helps me stay focused and on top of things as a headmaster. I have been blessed with this Deputy Headmaster who is extremely supportive and a helpful guide in acclimatizing me to the Ugandan culture. Looking back over my time at the school in Uganda, I have come to the conclusion that success is due to strong leadership/support from people like Masika and others who are dedicated to the school and myself. The students and I are indebted to Masika and all those working at the African Children’s Choir Primary School who help make our school such a success.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sarah… Busy living with two great kids!

It seems I should have lots to write because every day is jam packed busy. But upon review most of the stuff I’ve been doing is either work related (I’m so thankful for a low key paperwork job that I can do from home when the kids are sleeping), or kid related. I could honestly go on and on about my kids… I think they’re so interesting and adorable! But I wouldn’t punish you with that. I’ll just write more when I have more intriguing things to write. I hope this finds you all well and inspired by the work you’re doing for the ones you love! Take care. Sarah

Jodie….. things I’ve been sayin’ and doin’

I’ve been saying ‘ma-ma-ma-ma’ lots of times now and I especially say it when mommy’s not in the room and I need something. Then I cry and I say ‘ma-ma, ma-ma’. So mommy thinks I’m talking about her. Daddy’s not sure yet (because that would be my first word!) and I’m not going to tell. I still say ‘da-da-da-da’ but I just say it whenever I want to talk. I spend lots of time just watching people trying to figure them out and carefully observing. I really think it’s best to learn from watching instead of crashing around being dangerous like some people I know.

I tried to crawl for a long time… I would get up on my hands and tippy toes and wobble around and then crash down to scoot on my tummy or my bum where I wanted to go. But now I’m a big girl and I can do it.

My best thing that I’ve been doing is a great story I want to tell you. You know what me and dad did one morning while mom and Seth were sleeping? Well, I woke dad up early (because it was his turn to get up with me because I get up early every day!) and we were just hanging out and then daddy heard a noise in our diaper bag. I knew right away it was a mouse and daddy was really mad at that mouse. Because for lots of days when daddy gets home from work he checks the traps that he and Francis made for getting that mouse who is pooping on our stuff and eating our stuff. I was really excited to see what would happen when daddy saw that mouse! First daddy chased him around the living room and he even moved the dining room table. And then we could see that he wanted to go down the hallway into our bedrooms! So then (this is my best part!) daddy said to me, ‘Jodie, you’re going to have to help daddy!’ And he set me right in the doorway to the hall where I could scare away the mouse! I didn’t think it was going to work because maybe you haven’t seen me but I don’t look very scary! Anyway, you should have seen that mouse when he saw me just sitting there. He was running fast toward me but when he saw me he ran fast the other way!!!!! I was really having fun watching daddy chase that mouse! And then after I scared the mouse daddy could catch him and he whacked him three times with the big broom! That was really, really funny watching daddy whacking him because I think daddy was afraid if he didn’t get the mouse that the mouse would get him! But me and dad took care of the mouse and there’s no more poop in our house!

Seth... Me and my Boda-boda!

Well Jodie did all of the talking this time so I will talk more next time. But here at home I’m the one who talks all the time.

I know all of my colors, a lot of shapes, I can count to ten (when I’m not too busy fooling around), and I help dad say the alphabet when he gets stuck. And I can write the letter X.

My best thing is to ride around the house and our driveway very fast on my boda-boda ( a little bike that I push with my feet). But I can go so fast! One time I crashed it in our driveway and mommy was afraid I broke something. But I just had a huge purple, bloody goose egg on my head (mom says we’re getting a helmet). And then I crashed it in the house one time and put my tooth through my lip. I always cry lots when I get those big bumps and I slow down on my boda for a few days. But then I just can’t stop going fast and crazy! I better go now. Bye. Seth