We received an update from Laura on what she’s been doing during her time at the SGU Children’s Village and wow is she keeping busy!
Last week was spent getting all of the SGU students ready for school. School in Uganda is divided into three terms and the first day of school begins at the end of January for a new school year. Like in America, “back to school” means uniforms, school supplies, and taking care of school fees. About half the kids at the SGU village have completed primary school at Saving Grace Primary and have moved on to Secondary school-praise God! This means they no longer attend school there in the village but go to a boarding school (somewhat equivalent to high school in America, but starting at an earlier age and ending at a later age) located elsewhere. Laura explained the process of paying secondary school fees and apparently it is quite the task! Depending on which school your students are attending, parents must travel to many different banks (along with all the other parents in town) to pay the school fees. This meant that Laura waited in some really long lines to make sure every student was able to get their school fees paid. Thankfully, they were able to pay everyone’s school fees in 3 days (which sounds like a long time but Laura said it was nothing short of a miracle!).
Another part of the back-to-school process was taking Stephen and Denis to a new school- Dara Christian High School. The boys had to complete interviews and entrance exams in order to attend. Both did a great job and began Senior 2 and Senior 3 classes there this week! Laura shared that Dara Christian High School is a very good school in the area so we are all excited to see these boys succeed!
This past weekend Laura had the pleasure of traveling with Quinto (the SGU village director) and Louis (our SGU driver) to drop off a majority of our secondary students. They traveled to four different secondary schools around Lira to drop students off and help them check-in. Here’s what Laura said about this experience:
“It reminded me of being dropped off for your Freshman Year of College; some schools were full of people with trunks, mattresses, and supplies. Some of kids were returning to Senior 2, 3 or 4 classes and were much more comfortable in their surroundings even running into classmates and friends, being greeting and hugged. But getting dropped off for Senior 1 is such a new experience! In Uganda emotions are not as forthcoming as in the States. For example, it is completely commonplace and almost expected that there will be many tears when you drop your students off for college in the U.S, definitely the first year and probably in some years after that. It is also expected that there will be some homesickness.
So as you can imagine, dropping our new Senior 1 boys off was hard and they are not even college aged yet. They never expressed their nervousness but it was easy to see how unsure they were as we got ready to pull away. Phillips was the most honest and said he was excited but also a little worried. And watching Sunday Fred’s face as we all climbed back in the car to leave was heartbreaking. I warned them that I was going to act like such an American as we dropped them off, sending them off with tons of pictures, hugs and prayers, which they took like champs. I think it helped giving them something to chuckle over as we left. No one else felt the need to have such emotions, but I love our kids! I’m telling myself they secretly loved it because they asked multiple times to verify I was going to come back and visit them.”
One of Laura’s tasks while there will be to go around to the local Secondary (High) Schools and visit with and check in on our students. Not only will it be exciting to see them and hear about their progress both from them and the school, but it also provides accountability for each of our students. They want nothing more than for us to be proud of them (which we are!) and if they know Laura’s coming to check in it will only work to inspire them further.
Laura is doing so much for SGU. We are abundantly grateful for the love she has for our children and her willingness to serve. Please continue to cover her in prayer and be looking for her next update!