Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Interviews, interviews and MORE interviews

Today was a busy day! We had lots and lots of things to do. It all started when we got to the school to register students. At the end of registration, we had filled out 90 forms for students!!!!! It is remarkable that we might have a chance to make a difference in this many people’s lives. I just hope and pray that we can do what we hope to accomplish. It was an amazing morning talking to women and hearing why they want to come to the school. Some of their stories are very, very sad. We met many girls who have been child soldiers and had babies by many of the officers of the LRA. I met with all the women from the Congo who escaped the conflict there. I worked with all of them because they only know Swahili and we only had one interpreter who spoke that language. It was amazing. We have been invited to Miriam’s house (the interpreter) to hear the women’s stories. I am not sure I really want to hear what they have had to endure, but I know it would make me even more motivated to do this project. We interviewed people until 2:00 in the afternoon. It was a LONG day. Then, we came back and started discussing plans for the school. We sat down and wrote out all the items we need to get started and it comes to about $2,000. I am going to be working on fundraising when we get home. We want to get sponsors for the women and men and we are thinking that $100 would get them through a three-month training period. Most of the women who are coming to the school have children at home and we will need to get some of the widows to come and care for the children. One lady whom I met had eight of her own children and eleven orphans. Can you imagine???? Many, if not most, of the women had at least four children and they were in their mid-twenties. It was a struggle at times not to reach over and hug them for the hardships they have endured. Speaking of hardships…we met a man yesterday who had leprosy. It was awful. And, “No,” we didn’t touch him. But, his skin is rotting away and he had large sores all over his body. Many of his extremities are gone, too. He was sitting in a wheelchair in front of the hotel. I had never seen him before and he didn’t stay very long, but his condition was simply horrifying. Again, this is something that wouldn’t happen where we live. Things like diseases (malaria, measles, leprosy) and other things like hunger, lack of water, and no housing wouldn’t happen in America either. It is hard to face these things. It is hard to know that people live in such squalor. But, I know that this is the way of the world and I can only hope to “matter to this one.” We went to Molly’s shack today to look at beads. I am coming back with another suitcase full of gorgeous necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. I have a marketing theme for them that I think will earn more money from the sale of these beautiful beads. It does seem that the market here is rather saturated with beadmakers. There is a young gal named, “Callie” who has a website business devoted to beads from Gulu. Her business is called, “31 Bits.” I don’t have a clue what that means, but she hires the ladies to make beads and then she buys them and takes them back to sell in the U.S. Personally, I like the way that we do it. We have met a “ton” of Muzungus here! Mostly, we see them at the Internet Café next door. It seems everyone has a “need” for a good cup of coffee. Personally, I do like the instant coffee that we drink, but Heather and I have made it a morning ritual to go to the Café and upload our blog postings. We write them in the room at night and then they are ready to go in the morning. It is a good time to write. We are both usually really tired, but neither of us want to forget what happened each day so writing at night is best. Irene and I sleep in one twin bed and Heather has the other. Deo is downstairs in his own room. We are quite a family! I took some pictures of Irene today with the beads. She is very photogenic. We took some precious pictures of her with the beads. Some are quite fun and a couple are racy…just a bit! But, she had so much fun being photographed and she can really flirt with a camera. I can’t wait for you to see how precious she is. We have seen very little of Pastor Chris since he is with the team from Rock Harbor. I don’t mind, though, because we just do not have time to do much at the church. We have moved everything to the school and so we do not have time or the need to be there. We have made some great friends with the staff that still lingers on at the school. There are still about 20 street boys there and the staff is looking after them. I think we will hire a couple of them when we get the entire facility. And, it looks like that is going to happen sooner than we think. They are giving them a deadline now to leave. I really don’t want to do that to the boys, but we are not in the business to put kids in school. I would love to help them all, especially the young boy I wrote about whose father ruined his hands. God bless him!!! Their teacher, Issa, is going to help us with the English classes and he is excellent with all types of mechanics. So, I think we will being offering basic mechanics soon. He would love to teach a course and I think it would be a great course offering for the school. Deo is not feeling well. He is suffering from malaria. Please remember him in your prayers. Tonight, Heather and I went for dinner and then combed the streets for ice cream. I had an incredible urge for something sweet…it is hard to find sweets here. Both the stores we know about were out of ice cream so it looks like I’ll have to wait until we return to Kampala on Thursday to get some. There is always so much to write about, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. So, I’ll close. It is nearly 10:00 our time…2:00 in the afternoon where you are. We rarely make it past 10:30 because of how long our days are and tonight is not going to be an exception. I have much to do before I leave and little time in which to do it. But, I am always tired at night and in need of rest. We really push ourselves hard here. This is not a trip that just anyone could make and enjoy. The sacrifices are great, but, they are worth every moment of it. I do love it here so much. Good night to one and all. I love you all. Thanks for your prayers! Hugs, Sally

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