On Thursday morning Robert asked me if he had time for him to go get gas before we departed to visit jjajjas. I didn’t give it a second thought. I know the stations are near by and if he even indulged in a bath for the van it wouldn’t take long. “Sure.” What I failed to consider is that gas goes in the tank for cooking, and petrol goes into the van. He went deep into downtown and was gone a very long time. So we shifted plans in the morning as any seasoned American in Uganda would do. We opened suitcases and organized 3 hundred pounds of books, crafts and clothes. It is great fun for me to present Kiah with stacks of new books for the children as well as teaching resources for her to use. She’s a true teacher and it excites her to find new ideas for igniting the love of learning in our children. She’s organized and surprisingly adept at keeping all of our precious resources in good condition. Our kids are such excellent students because she tutors them at home. I really believe they learn more at home than at school.
Their favorite activity is doing brain teaser questions. If they answer a question correctly they get a blue ticket. When they collect enough tickets they can exchange them for prizes. When I inspected their closets I could see many of my boy’s things on their shelves, like cool belts, baseball caps and some of my purses were in the girls’ room. They can get little toys that I wouldn’t give them. It is because they earn their things that they appreciate them so much more.
The children spent the morning writing letters to their sponsors. The evening before during devotion time we presented to them their package of letters from all the people who love them. Some of our Kirabo Seed’s supporters know the children so well that they take it upon themselves to write to each child! Oh our children read every word with focused interest. When it came time to respond they were concentrated and busy. Letter writing is a great way to practice their English because it has purpose and is based on relationship. They are really interested in writing their own letters and not following some form where they don’t have to think. One of the great benefits of being a sponsor are the letters the children work so hard to create.
I hand carry the letters in my carry on luggage right next to my camera. There’s no chance I will arrive to visit the children without letters for them. It is hard for us to imagine in America that a child would like getting a letter. Our children are so fast with their electronic communications that a letter would seem odd. But these children can’t wait to read each word and learn about their sponsors. I do my best to keep the communication alive and well between our children and their sponsors. I carry the correspondence like a regular mail man each trip I make. Sometimes I wish I could come more often.When I am here I only want to be here. When I am home it is hard for me to leave. I only come when the children are out of school so I can spend more time with them.
These kids play all the board games that we played as kids in the seventies before digital was even a word. I enjoy how they are not always expecting electricity to provide their entertainment. Four days into this trip the power has already been out three times and each time long enough to cause me worry that my phone battery will die. (I don’t want to be disconnected from my husband. I text him everything that is going on so he can participate in decisions.) No one here seems to care when the power goes out. They light candles and carry on. Donny said they played a great game of hide and seek outside in the dark last night. He said “it’s so hard to see them and my skin glows in the dark so I lost every time.” The whole neighborhood was without power. I doubt there is a darker place to be. He LOVES it here. Jack remains the expert though on how to do things the Ugandan way so Donny and Christopher can refer to him if necessary. Jack announced he’d like to lead the devotion for tonight. He bought a drum for the kids and 17 cross necklaces to give each of them. He’s setting aside time from play to “prepare his devotion.” He could be president by the time he’s 30 and we told him so but he said, “no way I don’t like politics or politicians.” HA! (me either)