Friday, October 02, 2009
a mega change the truth update
News from the orphanage is encouraging. Our support continues to be responsible for some very good things!
Tuition fees for twenty-three secondary school students have been paid for the final term of the year. When I am there this December, I plan to meet with each child to go over his/her performance record for the year, find out how he/she doing, offer words of encouragement, etc. I will also talk with the very recent Primary School graduates to determine who may be added to our scholarship program. Four upper class students are due to sit for their national examinations in October and November to determine whether they will be qualified to move up to the next level. These are really difficult tests and require a lot of preparation. We wish the very best to Daniel, Saka, Henry and Samalie. All are extremely determined young people, and I know they will do their best to make their sponsors, friends of Change the Truth, proud.
The marching band that came to be thanks to Team 2 members Sarah and Max on our visit last December has been practicing hard under the tutelage of teacher Ivan. From their rag-tag beginnings, the band members have come a long way. The band has actually already been hired… twice! The USC Trojan marching band had better watch out.
A new art form has been introduced to the children. Art teacher Michael is helping the children leave how to weave. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they are creating, and I hope to be able to bring some of their pieces back to Kansas City to sell at our next Friendraiser/Fundraiser.
Team 2 member Fred set up a volleyball and basketball court when we were there last year. The children still look forward to playing these games each weekend when they are out of school.
The counseling that was begun by Team 1 members Ann and Melissa and continued by Team 2 members Melissa and Bobbi remains an important part of the healing that takes place at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage. The teachers who have learned from the CTT therapists continue to work with the children and are seeing positive results.
On the sustainability front, the number of pigs in the pigsty has grown to thirty-five. Many of them will be sold during the month of December, once they have been fattened up properly. One of the main success stories to the pigsty has been the addition (thanks to CTT) of a rainwater collection tank that helps provide drinking water to the animals.
You may recall the assistance we provided a couple of years ago for the expansion of the brick-making program. The older boys work very hard to make the bricks. As of this moment, thousands of bricks are now ready for firing and subsequent sale. This is a real moneymaker for the orphanage.
The garden that was planted under the loving care of Team 2 member Randy is still going strong. The children have continued to enjoy an assortment of healthy greens thanks to the hard work put into maintaining the garden, the fertile Ugandan soil and the good weather.
CTT has been responsible for providing medical care to the children. Thanks to generous donors, Nurse Jane reports for work three days a week. She continues to help the children, as she did alongside Team 2 member Dr. Tom, with ailments such as fever, coughing, wounds and abdominal pains. An organization called Touch the World has been doing quite a bit of work at SMK this past year. One of its main projects has been the establishment of a full-scale medical clinic with a doctor’s room, nurse’s room and sickbay. The goal is to serve the children (and the local community at a small fee.) Project completion date is likely to be this December. At that time, CTT will revaluate its monthly financial commitment to medical care. It could be that we will be able to divert these funds toward other needs.
On a not-so-great note: the motorcycle purchased for the orphanage by CTT last year was involved in a wreck. Apparently, the man who was driving it as a taxi loaned it to a friend who promptly crashed it. (I have not heard of any injuries other than those sustained by the motorcycle itself.) At any rate, after some time and some shenanigans, the vehicle has now been recovered by the police, but is in need of repair. More on that later…
I can’t tell you how excited I am to return to SMK on December 19th. There will be nine members of Team 3. Soon I will begin introducing them to you. Being a volunteer there requires a huge commitment (financial and emotional); I am so grateful to those who have decided to get involved with CTT on this level. I know the children are counting the days until our arrival!
Finally, we had a screening of Lynne’s film last night in Kansas City for those who were unable to see it this past June at our annual event. We had such a nice turnout; it was great to see familiar faces and to make new friends. I’d like to welcome those of you who are now on our mailing list for the first time. The CTT family continues to grow, and for that I am very thankful.