Friday, July 20, 2007

"Rise and Shine" - Consider sponsorship

The photo is of the sun rising over Europe on our journey home. We hope the symbol of hope that is sunrise will be a reality for Bajja Community School ....the school motto is "Rise and Shine.

We now intend to focus on developing the sponsorship programme - this is the best way now for the schools stability and the childrens' future security. Many children were taken on by team members either before of during our trip - and special relationships were built up.

The cost is just £14 a month or 18 Euro. The child's fees are paid, a uniform, books etc and lunch provided. The child is also monitored by Fields of Life. The sponsor gets a letter at intervals. This also ensures the financial security of the school.

Please consider this programme - leave a comment with an email address if you would like further information.

We are now home and now thank God for the wonderful, life enriching time in Uganda. We deeply appreciate the support and prayers of all our families and friends. We thank God for keeping us safe and well. Most of all we thank him for the wonderful people of Bajja. May they indeed have our help to "Rise and Shine"

The Mini Company

We are excited by the setting up of a Mini Company in Bajja amongst the women who did the craft work. They will meet once a week and in conjunction with Alice, one of the teachers, will supply crafts for sale in Ireland. the Christmas market is the target and team members and associates (volunteers please) will voluntarily man stalls in locations in Sligo and the west. All proceeds will be ploughed back into the community.

Seed funding has been donated to provide start up materials. Rachael in the Kampala fields of Life Office will liaise with Alice and with Averil and Yvonne in Sligo. Crafts were also bought in Uganda for sale in Ireland (again generosity enabled this to be done) - these were samples which could be used to test the market at home.

The photo shows discussions at Shalom Guest House with Rachel on the way through kampala to the airport. Contact was also made with a similar micro finance company in Bangor.

Connor the gallery

Conor, the goat, is escorted by Keith to meet members of the Team. Our most unique gift from the community - and in person from Moses the Moslem who gave the land both for the school and for the football pitch!

Best friends! Emma's slogan became "long live Conor" - she was not impressed with the thought that we had to eat him!

Escape!!! Reprieve!! It wasn't Conor that we ate at the feast - but he had to come with us on the last day. With much scrambling and grunting he was pinned on the bus by Adam - the closet goat herder in the team.

Conor got excited at this point!

Final destination - the hospital....left tied to a pole. ...

What can you do with a male goat?

We hope the patients in the hospital appreciated him!

The Final Party

The school and community pulled out all the stops for us - the school choir entertained us with many songs and dances - they are so short of uniforms that as different pupils were due to sing / dance they swopped clothes and uniforms. The drums we had got the school well justified their purchase as the lads treated us to a real African drumming experience.

Rhoda and one of the teachers spoke and did "MC". The parents put on a play which dramatised the challenges change had brought to a community that could bew suspicious of change.

Kennedy came from the Fields of Life office (see the photo).
The school director and a representative of the mayor as well as Rhoda spoke

The Sligo team were invited to speak - ably done by Charles. Ruth introduced the various team members as they presented the gifts of the team - in paricular sports equipment, gas lamps, the drums and an Irish flag.

Averil and Richard read the letter from Sligo County Council before presenting the Sligo Flag. Adam later raised the Sligo Flag.

Yvonne and Emma presented the banner made by Yvonne which reflected the theme that God has the whole world in his hands - including Ireland and Uganda - we each will pray for one another.
The Grammar Banner was presented by Zoe. Liz and Sister Teresa presented a Children's Bible signed by each team member before leading us all in prayers of blessing.

The local women worked hard from the previous evening preparing the food on the only kitchen available for the present - an open fire.

The food was fantastic - some of us understood we ate Connor the goat (more in another post!) There was also chicken, matoke, rice, bean sauce and more - some resorted to fingers in place of forks. Joy couldn't stop smiling - and Norman couldn't stop eating - Michael just enjoyed it all!

The generosity of the community was overwhelming - the whole event (which began at noon and ended at about 4 p.m) was truly memorable. We are so appreciate of the effort they put into making the day so special.

The day ended with a small gift to each child in the school and then goodbyes were said. There were few dry eyes.

One of the most speical things said was by Albert ( a teacher) "Thank you for bringing smiles to the peoples faces" - what a privilege.

The Big Match

What a day last Thursday was! It began with the match of all matches on the new football pitch. The result was 2:4 (it seems right that the locals won the first match - or that is how our "lads" comforted themselves). Julia was the pride of the pack when she scored the first Sligo goal - good on you girl!

Friday, July 13, 2007

From Kampala...on the way home

We are in the Fields of Life Guest House - (Shalom) for a quick stop before heading to Entebbe. All are well, thank God, and looking forward to a bit of rest at the zoo near Entebbee or at the swimming pool before heading for the flight at 10 p.m.

Yesterday's celebration was amazing - but tears were shed as we left the school. Keep logging on next week when more photos will be added.

Meantime all at home we are really looking forward to seeing you very soon!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Final times!

The foot ball pitch is ready for the match tomorrow . the flag poles are erected, the school is painted. The work with the children and women is coming to an end - now the new school song "Rise and Shine" (which is the school motto) has been taught. All is ready for the big party tomorrow.

Rhoda and the community have a programme for us from noon till late afternoon. kenney from head office will come and the parents, the mayor and other local dignitaries will be present at a community celebration of song, dance, speeches - and even the Sligo team will perform. The Sligo flag will be raised and the banners, new set of drums, sport equipment and other bits and pieces will be presented. We reckon it will be a day unlike anything in our experience!

Friday we leave Masaka in the morning and via stops at a Drum shop and the Equator (for Michaels coffee) we will go to Entebbe to fly at 10 p.m. We hope to chiil out 20 minuites from the airport at a Zoo or a pool - depending on individual choice. The the overnight marathon via Amsterdam

We will be broken hearted to leave the community - but looking forward to seeing our families once more. Thank God all of us are still well and safe.

We hope the rain has stopped - and that the conference in Sligo is going well