Saturday, June 7, 2008
Things have been going well at the school. The kids seem to never run out of energy and never tire of the games or songs we introduce to them. Every day we meet new faces and learn new names that we cannot pronounce and have to learn how to match them to their particular faces. We are trying to pick up on the language of Lougandan, just a little bit. The children and adults speak that as well as English.
We have had a few minor injuries but nothing to stop the work or hold us back. Everything is still running on schedule and moving forward. Bethany commented that a little boy she had a picture of from a year ago looked like he was wearing the same clothes as when she saw him now. Christa, our team leader said that many of the kids that she saw a year ago when she came are in the same clothes they were wearing then. The clothes are hardly held together by a string in some places and have gaping holes that leave their sides or fronts completely open. One little boy that Jennifer has grown close to, like many, has no shoes. When inquired about them, the ones he was given were lost. Now he runs around the weeds, branches, dirt, and rocks with none. Oh my goodness it is so sad to think he cannot get another pair of flip flops.
We love the kids more and more every day and it is hard to explain the circumstances and situations here. I am so excited for them to have this new dormitory and all of the new things that the various projects are bringing to them. It is hard for me to imagine actually living in circumstances as they do. Today Evan, Dan, and Jen were discussing a household appliance that we would like them to have. Evan said a fridge, Dan said a microwave, and Jen said a washing machine. There are so many conveniences that they do without and of course don’t think twice about it. However, still, a week after being at the school – the kids are wearing the same clothes we first met them in and to my knowledge they haven’t been cleaned yet. They just keep getting dirtier and dirtier.
Jennifer & Lorna stamped the books to say they belong to the school, but were unable to put them away because there was no room. So a man came to measure for new shelves and some will be built in 3 – 4 days. The project is going well and should be completed after the new shelves arrive. The kids love reading the new books but especially love being read to. Some are continually bringing book after book and another, Kezimbira is constantly asking Jen, “Can we go study now?” Irene always follows Lorna into the library and reads to her while she stamps. These new and colorful books and so intriguing to the children and I feel that they are really instilling a love of learning and especially reading. The nuns, Sister Luke Laura reads the books while we stamp and we absolutely love her doing that. She finishes one and comments how the children will love it because it is so good and such a good story. But I think more than the children will love it as she reaches for another…. Ha ha ha.
Construction for the dormitory is well on its way. Leveling of the site took a lot less time than expected, putting us about one day ahead of schedule. We decided that the whole dormitory will be completed in three rooms/phases, the first of which we are planning on completing during this trip. Once finished, the first phase will be able to provide adequate sleeping area for approximately 54 students. As of now we have completed two walls of the footing. Funny thing—we came here to do the work, but the Africans pretty much won’t let us. They are always taking away the tools we are using and telling us to go rest. We do our best to take back the tools, but to no avail!
We are up and going! The orphanage now has internet connection. We are working on getting a static IP address and connecting the rest of our sensor equipment online. As soon as it was set up, the Africans sat in front of the laptop and surfed the Internet. They didn’t move for 5 HOURS!! I think they like it!J They asked us a lot of questions about the presidential campaigns, the war in Iraq, and a nine-year-old that is going to college in the United States.
Digging, digging, digging. We have done lots of digging for the playground. Well… maybe I haven’t so much – I tried at first but all the kids kept taking away my tools. Shoot. But others have and they have done great. The ground was leveled and concrete rings were moved to create a little tunnel way for the children. Today a hole was began for a teatherball pole. Dan played teatherball with the kids the other day and they absolutely loved it! The playground is moving by ear and we are just getting as much done as we can. Working hard every day. Bethany is a great team leader. She goes out in the morning and we rarely see her throughout the day. She is a hard worker and good at getting things done. Go Bethany!
Lorna & Jennifer have begun knitting an actual sweater for children. They measured a little boy named Andrew and began showing the nuns the next steps. The nuns love using the pattern cards and perhaps the most difficult part of teaching was showing them how to knit with two colors on one of the hardest pattern designs. Ha ha. That’s the last time I let them choose which one they want to do first. I will decide next time and start simple. They catch on quickly though and I think that the machine will come in very handy to give the children at least one more shirt and hopefully something to keep them warm on the cold nights. We are always ready to take a break much faster than they are. After 5 hours we are like, “Um… how bout a little break?” But I think that they could go and learn ALL DAY LONG!