Saturday, August 4, 2007

curt's journal from Uganda-Aug. 3

Wow! Today was quite a day! We woke to the sound of buckets of rain. I hadn’t seen rain like that since I was a kid in Nebraska. The drainage system is interesting here. I can’t give you all of the engineering specs. All I know is that when it rains hard the road below us looks like a roaring stream and turns into huge puddles when it’s all done. There is so much dirt everywhere that when it rains you can really smell the dirt rising into the air. Mary and I were both looking forward to a little break from the garbage burning and other pollution. It was nice to breathe a little fresh air.

Because of the rain, our trip to St. Mbuga Primary school in Lusaka was delayed. We were trying to get an early start because we had a lot to accomplish in one day. Hopkins, or Madam Hope as the kids call her, told us that the kids were really looking forward to singing for us and greeting us. She knew we were behind schedule, but didn’t want to disappoint the kids since they were so excited. The marched all the kids out in the yard and they sang songs and did motions, from the little preschoolers on up. My favorite part was when they had the very littlest kids lead a song. A tiny little kid sings a solo in front of everyone and it goes like this:
“Do you want to know me?” (“OH YES!”)
“My name is Precious” (“OH YES!”)
“I love Jesus” (“OH YES!”)
“Of course I do-do-do”
Jesus Jesus, He is my savior
And I love Jesus. Of course I do-do-do

It was one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen and they sang it with such enthusiasm!

After that, they introduced all of us. Of course they already knew Madam Hillary. Then they introduced Courtney or Coney. We’re finding we have to say Cor-ten-knee or they don’t get it. Hopkins said, “This is Hillary’s sister! Don’t you notice the resemblence?” (“YES!” was the response). Then came Mary. This, of course was easy for them and there were many Mary’s in the crowd. Next was the “beautiful lady Leslie, who is also a P-5 teacher in America (applause) AND her class were pen pals with this class over here!” (HUGE applause and hoots from the kids who were excited to be in that class). Finally it was time to introduce “CUT” which is how everyone says my name in Uganda. (Giggles) “Can you say that?” (“CUT!” more giggles). Hopkins continued, “NO! Not that kind of cut! It is CUT! See - You – Ahtuh – Tee! Can you spell that?” “C-U-R-T” (Apparently “R” is a two sylabled rolled R sound. Kinda cool).

Once things got settled down, we started running some of the kids through the sponsorship process. We took their pictures twice and then they went over to another table where Courtney and Mary wrote down the biographical information for these little angels. The national exams ended yesterday, so today was a “holiday” for the kids while their teachers graded the exams. They still had some class activities like they held a huge formal debate about whether or not children should get punished (as in corporal) in school. It was funny, while the kids were selling their points for and against, some of the older kids were walking throughout the room with tiny switches. If a kid was goofing around or not paying attention, SWISH! Not enough to hurt much, but it would certainly get your attention!

Back to the sponsorship stuff. We took the pictures and wrote down the biographies for the better part of the day. It got really hot and all of us got a little burned. Can’t wait for the huge freckles to show up on the top of my head! The information will be brought back to the U.S. and people there will have the opportunity to help give them two meals a day and a good primary school education for only 30 dollars a month. It raises to about 80 dollars when they get to high school, but usually ICN just signs up a second sponsor for that child, unless the original sponsor wants to go ahead and cover it. When you see where these kids come from, it really makes you want to sell everything you have and just give them ALL an education. It’s interesting, not all of the kids at the schools get the opportunity to get sponsored. If their living situation is such that it’s likely they’ll move away before their through school, Hopkins has to make the tough choice of not getting sponsors for them. She’s found that people in the U.S. get frustrated when the school loses track of a kid and they are no longer sponsoring them. If you came here, you’d understand it though. Sometimes a kid will live with and uncle or a friend and then moves to another situation. There are just so many children who need love here. They flocked around us all day and hung on our every word. All you have to do is look at them and smile and they just light up with pride!

After the school stuff today, I went in search of a better internet option for ICN while their teams are here. It’s really expensive and unreliable to get on the internet here. I found something, but it’s too expensive for us to cover. For a one-time fee of $410 you can get a wireless modem that creates a “hot spot” in your living quarters. If you move you can take it with you. Then for an additional fee of $160 per month you can get unlimited broadband high speed internet ($80 for less fast, which is a turtle’s pace). But, if we did it, ICN teams would only have to pay for it when they’re in town once the one-time fee is covered. The company that provides it is at if you want to look it up. Maybe some of you internet savvy people can give us better ideas. All I know is the options are really limited here. That’s one thing I really appreciate about home.

Well, we’re all sunburned and tired, so it’s off to bed. But first…a short list of things I saw today on the back of a boda-boda…
- three grown men
- a car engine block
- a man in suit and tie with a dead turkey around his neck
- something that looked like a dryer (as in Whirlpool)
- a six foot tall bookshelf
- four huge bunches of bananas and 50 lb sack of sugar.

And what did YOU see on the road today?


Anonymous said...

Hey CUT, Thank you so much for all your hard work in keeping us traveling with you on your journey. Look forward each day to learning more about the people, what their lives are like, and the impact that your service in making in their lives, as well as yours. Much love, Stac

Anonymous said...

Hey CUT, By the my industry, I am just the person to rid you of those head freckles - ha! Remember your suncreen next time. You know how I'm a freak about that! Luv ya, Stac

Anonymous said...

Hey there Cor-ten-knee or Coney, finally we get to hear a bit about you! OK, your turn to journal and teach us some Luganda. I'm sure those kids are LOVIN' all over you and you them. From Calcutta to Kampala - I'm sure so very different but very similar in needing love. Can't wait to hear back. Hugs and kisses. Luv Stac

Anonymous said...

Hello Madam Hillary! Sounds like you are just pluggin' away working on sponsorship for all your beautiful kids. I am so looking forward to meeting Mable- give her hugs and kisses for me. Any new b-ball stories for us? Continuous love and prayers your way. Luv you honey, Stac

Anonymous said...

Hi Curt,
Enjoyed reading your blog, it keeps us up to date on Mary and your family. Tell her we love her and miss her, praying for you all.
God bless,

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the latest on the sells

As of May 27, 2009...

Wow, it's been almost a year since we've updated this. Our family had a wonderful experience traveling to Uganda two summers ago, which prompted us to keep a journal on this blog. You can read our daily journal from our month long trip

This year brings new adventures. Our eldest daughter, Courtney, after graduating from George Fox University with honors, left for her third trip to India to spend nearly a YEAR to work at Happy Home for the Handicapped in Shimoga, India. You can read about her first trip to India and the impact it had on her life here. She'll also give us new updates from her current trip on this site (here). As of this writing, she is just starting to settle in and is very excited to be there. She has been looking forward to this for a long time!

Meanwhile, Hillary spent all of last year
touring the western U.S. with Matsiko, the choir of children we grew to love as our own in Uganda. She journalled about her experiences in Uganda if you'd like to see what that was like. At some point during this tour, she felt led to join the U.S. Army. Quite a big decision, and one she didn't take lightly. After moving through Basic Training with flying colors, she is now at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio training to become a combat medic. It's a very intense training, but we're sure she'll do well. Our whole family was able to travel to South Carolina to watch her graduate from Basic Training. What an awe inspiring experience!

Leslie is having a great year of teaching 5th graders. She's also in a Master's program, which takes a good chunk of her time. She's still finds time to read a TON of books. Literally, a ton!

Curt was overwhelmed by his experience as a first time overseas traveler and kept up his journal here (you can also read his random posts on everyday life here). The busyness of life and keeping track of his traveling kids has slowed down his writing, but he hopes to begin writing on a regular basis again soon.