Monday, May 4, 2009

New School: Kitchen

Check out these pictures! I’ll try to give you an idea of the layout here as we go. At this point it’s our goal (and seems very attainable) to have the students moved to the new school site by the beginning of our third term this year which will be mid September. Our dining hall will not be finished so we will be using two of the extra class rooms together for that. Currently the walls of our kitchen are going up and will more than double the space of our present kitchen.

New School: Girls & Boys Dorms!

Both dorms are coming along nicely and will each contain five large dorm rooms for students, three rooms for staff, a large common bathroom/shower, a staff bathroom and a very large store room. Part of the roof is elevated to allow for more natural light and better ventilation flow. There will be a large common area in the entrance of each dorm so that the staff can also hold meetings with the children periodically.

New School: Classroom Complex!

The school complex in the form of an “L”, is coming along well. There are a total of 8 classrooms (two classrooms between which the wall is removed in order to be used as a dining room), a computer lab, two boy/girl sets of bathrooms, a staffroom and a very large storeroom. It has been fully wired and is ready for the windows, doors, lights and plaster. About half of the ceilings have been completed, which is a process of pouring concrete through a wire mesh until the holes are plugged. We are doing this in every other room at this point to save money until more funds become available. But all the rooms will still be sound proof.

New School: Excellent Craftsmanship!

The wood was legally purchased along the Uganda/Congo border and brought to the site. (There is a lot of illegal harvesting that happens here.) A kiln was made out of a container with a charcoal stove to ensure that all the wood was dried properly. Once the drying process was completed the excellent on site carpenters began their magic. All the wood was planed and then the door and window frames were made by hand. The craftsmanship is unbelievable. Yes, a lot of sandpaper and some basic tools, but amazing work. And the wood here is incredibly beautiful…..wood that we would pay fortunes for at home is very common and once crafted is truly amazing. Once the frames have been made they are all varnished with at least three coats and then installed. The mavav, hardwood not only provides an excellent finish, but is resistant to termites.

New School: Steve, Our Project Manager!

This past Wednesday we had a work day with the school staff as we joined the construction workers on the site. We had a great devotional time together, worked and enjoyed some rice, beans and posho for lunch (posho…. A white mass of tasteless starch made from corn flour). Seth, Sarah and Jodie joined us for a portion of the morning which the staff and workers enjoyed since there are very few ‘muzungu’ little ones around. Seth was more impressed with the cows grazing on the site and the piles of rock and sand than ‘daddy’s new school’. He spent the entire morning exploring, climbing piles, and running through the shells of buildings shouting ‘Hello!’ as loud as he could.

Again, we hope you can catch a bit of the excitement we feel about this great progress. Maybe a guided video tour through our existing school would help with that. Be assured…. The wide open space, sufficient size, and efficiency of this new school will be treasured by our staff and students. And our project manager, Steve from Colorado, has set an amazing standard of excellence which is very uncommon here. He has been a blessing to Music For Life. Please pray for him and his family (wife and four girls) as he strives to maintain that high standard and continues to hole devotions weekly, to which he invites all the workers, many of which are muslim. Four have actually given their lives to Christ and the joy they’re finding through their new faith is evident. It’s very exciting.

Thanks for your love for us and your prayers for this project! We’ll be in touch!

Mark, Sarah, Seth and Jodie

New School: Work Day!

Yes, I try and lead by example. Losing a few pounds over the last few months has enhanced my performance with a shovel. Much of the digging for foundations, wiring, pipes, landscaping, etc. has been done by hand as it is cheaper to employ manual labor than machinery. Also no need for a gym membership!

New School: Work Day!

Israel our day guard is sanding one of the door jams by hand. Yes, very few power tools are used in the converted carpentry classroom shop. However, the finished work is of excellent quality. It was encouraging to see most of our 30 staff members come for the work day that was during their holiday time. God is good as we have the best staff in all of Uganda.