Our final full day in Kijjabwemi and once again we set off in the rain. Slipping and sliding along the murram roads we arrived in Kitengeesa, the church was already in full swing, but this didn’t stop us being ushered into the headmaster’s office for breakfast!! The notices on the walls are always interesting, we loved regulation 8.
We did our best with the breakfast, our second in two hours, and as soon as we politely could we headed into church. Patrick’s sermon stuck to his theme of loving and caring for the children, but he obviously felt that this congregation were already on the right track as he was far gentler with his message.
After the service we were entertained by the students and the teachers alike, who all donned traditional costume and danced, Pauline, Fin and Nick were ‘encouraged’ to join in.
Throughout the entertainment a young boy danced, dressed in an improvised costume made of banana leaves. He had a natural rhythm and stole the show.
Patrick was very impressed with him and, after a short talk with him which established that although he was in primary 1 he lived with a guardian who could not afford his school fees and he had no knowledge of his parents, Patrick said he would transfer his fees for the year, we quickly decided we would put him up for sponsorship, almost as quickly Nick said he would sponsor him. Praise God, this must have been the quickest start to finish sponsorship ever.
Benon has been the head of Kitengeesa School for 4 years, he replaced the previous head who had died suddenly, days after our previous visit. The transformation in this school is obvious, we had provided support to improve one block and build new toilets, but the work had gone above and beyond anything we had funded, the outer walls were beautifully painted, a garden had been planted and a perimeter fence had been erected, he proudly told us how, of the ten schools in the area, this was the only one with a metal gate, we didn’t mention the large gap between the gate and the fence that negated any suggestion of security!!!
We were shown the garden behind the pastor’s house where coffee plants have been sown to provide an income for the school and church, banana trees will be interplanted to supplement the children’s lunches. We were impressed to learn that all children at this school receive lunch, regardless of whether they are able to pay.
Sadly, the nursery classroom and girl’s dormitory are in a very sad state, and as there is no teachers’ accommodation, the deputy head and her daughter are sleeping in a very small classroom. There are currently around 40 students boarding at the school, the boys use a classroom and move their mattresses every morning. We know there are plans to improve this situation and pray that a way can be found quickly.
And then it was ‘time to go’. The car was full as we transported those who’s homes we were about to visit, and Nick was thrilled to catch a ride with David.
A quick stop at Ackram’s house which had been destroyed in a storm just after our last visit, and rebuilt by his sponsor, found him and his grandmother delighted with their new home. She told us they had not been bothered by snakes in the house since it was rebuilt!!!
Then on to the home of Esther, who is sponsored by Joff, to meet her mother and see their home. Her mother has 6 children of her own and also cares for an additional 3 children.
Last stop was the Aunt Louise School, to say a last goodbye to the children and to see Denis who had been at home during our previous visit.
A long but pleasant day concluded as we pack and prepare to part ways tomorrow. Joff and Fin head for home and Pauline, Nick and Carmen head west in the hope of meeting some Gorillas before flying out on Thursday night. Please pray for journey mercies as we travel.