I was again warmly welcomed by our dear Norah and by Robert, a U.V.C.O. student, at the airport. When we arrived at our Uplift Primary School in Kiyanja/ Masaka, I was allowed to move into a room in the girls‘ dormitory. This room is actually meant for the school director Judith and the supervisor Christin, who gave up their sleeping place because of me and stayed with the children in the large dormitory.
The next day was a joyful reunion. I was very happy to see my two sponsored children Lilian and Brian and of course all our children, to hug them, to laugh with them and to talk with them. Since I was right in the middle of the children’s everyday life this time, I was able to get an even better picture of all the situations. I could see for myself that our children arrived well and they seemed happy and content.
Painting the two girls‘ dormitories was at the top of my to-do list. With the brushes and paint rollers I had brought along, I started painting the first room in pink with about 30 to 40 children. All the kids were so excited and had fun and everyone wanted to help. With the help of a painter, we were done with everything in the evening. Then the children were allowed to perpetuate themselves with their handprints on the wall.
Unfortunately, the baggage fees at the airport consumed more than I had thought and so it was only enough for the white primer for the walls of the boys‘ dormitory. The girls‘ dormitory is now finished except for the fine plaster/columns outside, the exterior paint and the stairs. The four toilets and the two showers are finished for Ugandan standard. To level the floor, laying tiles would be very beneficial and would be a huge relief for the children and caregivers for daily cleaning as it would allow the water to drain perfectly into the drain grates. If someone could imagine to support our craftsmen on site with their craftsmanship and skills we would be more than grateful. The laying of the tiles urgently needs a worker who knows his trade. The workers there were all hardworking, but they are not trained professionals. If you are interested, please contact one of us! Just a week would already be very helpful to us!
Initially, the boys had to sleep in two classrooms in a mattress camp because the delivery of the beds was postponed twice. Finally, they were able to move into the originally planned kitchen building. This large building was converted into the boys‘ dormitory. It was planned to start with 150 children, our so-called boarders, and now all our U.V.C.O. Children have moved to the new Uplift School. Last fall, we learned of an unacceptable situation at the old school that we as an association could not take responsibility for. This demanded a quick decision from us and we agreed that we would not send any of our children back to this school. We made the best of this complicated situation and decided in the best interest of our children. Due to the lack of space in the planned dormitory building, the boys had to move into the originally planned kitchen building. This situation did not affect the mood and joy of the boys. They sang and danced as they moved into their kingdom. Remaining work is also needed on this building, such as partial fine plastering, painting of the interior and exterior walls, and the exterior staircase.
I had the honor to distribute two suitcases full of gifts and letters to the children. Here again, many thanks to all the sponsors. To see these children smiling so brightly was again indescribably great. Unfortunately, I could not hand out all the presents for the children at Buloba Collage, because I ran out of time and had to go to the airport. Norah, our supervisor for the children, will make up for this at the next opportunity and take pictures for the sponsors.
The ‚Laaberer Frauenbund‘ donated a great sum to Ronny, Mama Allan and Allan as a reward for these three hard-working members of our team on site. When the money was handed over, they danced and cheered with joy. This reward is a great recognition for the three for their sacrificial work for our children.
On February 3rd, 2020 the school day could start as planned. Four classrooms were completely furnished, for the fifth classroom the ordered school desks and tables were still missing. These five classrooms are for P3 to P7. For the few children of P1 and P2 and a teacher’s room, a wooden structure was built right next to the school, from the leftover wood from the roof truss of the buildings. The school also lacks interior and exterior painting.
These three planned buildings are sure to be finished and be beautiful by the official opening, so nothing stands in the way for the grand opening celebration on June 6th, 2020.
Determining the required sponsorship contributions at our new school, based on the business plan, was also one of the urgent tasks on my list.
For the large sponsorships, everything remains unchanged at 25€ per month. For the children of the former small sponsorships, we need a monthly support of 15€, before 10€, so that we can guarantee the school education and the maintenance. An email with all the info about this will be sent to all sponsors.
The current provisional kitchen construction allows for sufficient food supply for our children at the school. However, for our two cooks this means that they sometimes have to prepare the meals in the pouring rain and for the children, that they have to wait until the rain stops or they get dripping wet. This situation is of course not satisfactory at all, so we are working together with our team on site to find a good and quick solution.
However, neither the cooks leave their heads hanging nor the children are in a bad mood. Whether a small kitchen is to be built or a sleeping house for the boys has yet to be discussed and decided.
Paved walkways from one building to another would be very beneficial because when it rains, the kids are dirty and wet by the time they get from point A to point B. During my stay, it rained unusually much and I felt dirty and wet all day.
Now it’s time to start collecting donations again to hopefully make the cooks‘ work easier soon!
A small solar panel was installed on top of each roof of the three buildings to provide sufficient light in the rooms. However, a complete power supply at the property would be urgently needed. Therefore, another very important reason for my visit was the clarification or the meeting with important people in Kampala to get the remaining power poles for the power lines to our property. An important contact, established by Dr. Christoph Schwab, wants to help us now and make sure that we have electricity at the property as soon as possible.
Our Maggie and principal Judith had another appointment in Masaka at the school authority for the official school license. This responsible gentleman wanted to come three days later for the school inspection to the property. This appointment, as well as most of the others, were postponed at short notice. That the appointments were not kept was time consuming for us, very annoying and for me very unusual. But this is unfortunately typical for Uganda, Maggie and Charles explained to me. One gets this license for the first time for six months, then there will be a control of the school and the school operation and then a follow-up license for another two years will be granted.
In Kampala, we also picked up part of the sports and leisure uniforms from the tailor. The school uniforms are ordered and in progress. These costs were completely covered by a very generous donor. As a thank you to the great donors, the names of the cities were shown on the t-shirts.
12 teachers including a principal and four caregivers for the children were hired.
Everyone made a very nice impression and the interaction with the children was friendly and respectful. This was also confirmed by all the children I spoke with.
For me, it was once again an indescribably great, experience-rich and warm stay with our children and our team on site. For our team, too, school construction means hard work and a lot of stress. My to-do list for this stay was really long.
However, for the team in Uganda as well as for us in Germany, the well-being of these children comes first!
Thanks to all of you, you are great!!!!!