Friday, March 18, 2016

Photos from our school outreach day

It is our desire that our students not only gain academic knowledge but also learn to serve in love. In order to work toward that goal, we periodically provide opportunities for our students to serve with other local ministries, or in various roles here. This week we worked with one of the GSF social workers to help a woman who is on the elderly outreach program. She lives with her daughter and 2 grandchildren, who are 4 year old twins. They live in a one room hut with a leaky thatch roof. Since the rainy season is about to begin, the social worker thought that it would be important to help this elderly woman repair her roof before the rains start. Additionally, when it is rainy they cook inside. The inside of the roof is covered with soot, and the smoke is not good for them all to breath. The social worker recommended building a cooking hut so that they can cook in a separate area. We contracted a local laborer to organize and oversee the whole project. 

Since we were bringing other needed supplies to the family and the house is about a 30 minute walk, we decided to load everyone into our van. 
Not my best smile. In the second row you can see Kyle, an intern here at GSF sitting next to Penelope, our social worker. The five middle and high school girls tried to hide, but you can still see a few of them. 

The youngest ones rode in the boot (the trunk for our American friends.) 

When we arrived, the Jajja (grandmother) was so happy to see us all. She kept saying how happy she was and walked around making sure to greet each one. The students brought the gifts to her, a mattress to sleep on, a few plates and cups, jerry cans for fetching water, two blankets and some clothes. She was so very happy! Here is a photo of the group.
The Jajja and mom are sitting in the back and the twins are sitting with some of our teenage girls. 

Since they had not yet begun the project, some of our students got to work helping wash dishes. 

They didn't have enough basins that could hold water, so we went for a walk to buy some. 
When they returned, they got to work washing clothes. 

The younger boys helped dig the holes for the poles of the cooking hit.
They also found some fun creatures while digging.

Elijah helped clearing the area around where they were going to build. 

We then had to loosen the soil in a big area in order to later make the mud for the walls. 
Somehow it became a digging contest...

We realized that we were going to need a lot of water to make all of this mud and to finish washing, so we decided to walk with the mom to the place where they fetch water. It is a little less than a 10 minute walk down hill...and at least 20 minutes on the way back up. Wow! This is what they do anytime they are going rouse water, to wash dishes, to bathe, to wash clothes, to cook, to boil and then use to drink. 

As we began walking back uphill, I gained a new appreciation for Ugandan women. They are the ones usually fetching water unless they have children who are old enough, but still at home. 
Since Esther has a broken arm, she got a smaller container. Maggie on the other hand was carrying a 20 liter jerry can, which weighs about 45lbs full of water. 
I carried two of these and my whole upper body is feeling it today. When we returned with the water the structure was going up.
It was time to mix the mud. The younger students had been waiting for this part all morning. 
Some of the men working brought some snacks for everyone from the local trees. 
The jackfruit was particularly sweet!

We also ate some fresh cocoa fruit which was really sweet. This is the same fruit that is used to make chocolate, but I don't know if they actually do that here.

We had to leave before the project was finished, but it was a wonderfully exhausting day! I think we all have a new appreciation that we have running water in our homes, a bed to sleep on at night, and a roof over our heads to keep us dry. It is easy to forget to be thankful for these amazing blessings. 

The next morning I went for a run and decided to check in on the progress. On my way there, I passed the local mosque.  As I was passing the mosque, I stopped to greet a woman and her daughters in Luganda. They were all wearing their hijabs. In Uganda everyone usually greets one another, but the woman and her children did not speak to me. This was the first time I had experienced anything like that. We have several Muslim friends and acquaintances and all have been very kind.
Here is a photo of the mosque. For obvious reasons I did not take a photo of the woman. 

As I reached the home of the women we were helping the day before, I stopped to greet them. They were so happy about the work being done even though it was not yet finished. Here is a photo of the family. 
Spending a few days serving these new friends in the village has really been a blessing. I am reminded how gracious God has been to me, not just in providing for my physical needs, but in the midst of my spiritual poverty as well. When I was dead in my sin, Jesus Christ died for me. He has loved me by sacrificing his own life! Any sacrifices we make for others, pale in comparison. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Happy Pi Day!

It may seem like our school is just a place of fun and games, but I assure you that most days are regular school days. Today we had planned a regular school day until a friend who came with her kids to observe mentioned that it was Pi day. I can't believe I had forgotten! I love having the kids do various activities with circles learning about the number Pi. For those of you who don't know about Pi day it is March 14 (3.14) A day of fun for all of us math nerds! 

At the last minute I pulled out my Pi ideas and modified the lessons for the day to include a bit of Pi review. 
Finding the diameter of the pot.
Measuring the circumference... Finding that the diameter goes around the circle about 3.14 times. 

Repeating the experiment with the 2nd graders. 
And finishing the day eating peanut butter ice cream pie with a chocolate crust. The chocolate syrup didn't write as neatly as I hoped, especially since the ice cream was very melted, but it still tasted great! Hope you all had a fun day celebrating the mathematical joys of Pi! 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Painting and cake!

Today was another fun day of art at our MK school! Our students learned a little about pop art in the 1950s and Wayne Tebold, who is known for his paintings of cake. We are so thankful for Natasha Perryman coming to teach our kids art! 
After learning about this style of art, they got a chance to do their own painting! 
Here are the elementary students with their final products. 
 The middle and high school students had art a little later. Here is one painting that makes me a bit hungry.
After a fun morning of painting, the elementary students came to my house to bake some cake!
It is fun to make cake as a part of the school curriculum for the day! (I did use the opportunity to talk a little bit about measurement and fractions to make it a more educational experience.) I love using math in everyday life! While I know that the "regular" days of school are very important and necessary, I really enjoy the opportunities to do something fun and different. And who doesn't love a delicious chocolate cake?