Saturday, August 4, 2007

leslie's journal from Uganda-Aug 3

O.K., so today was the most fun we’ve had so far. We spent the day at Lusaka at St. Mbuga School. When we arrived Hopkins asked if they could first perform for us – they would be disappointed if they didn’t. Of course – we would love it!

They emptied their classrooms, and soon the courtyard was filled with 400+ kids all in straight lines.
“Hello, children,” Hopkins called out.
“Hello, Madame Hope,” they yelled in unison.
“We have guests,” and she introduced each of us.

Soon the African Drums start and Ronnie is leading them. They sing out strong. (Hopkins had earlier warned a couple of kids – “stop fighting, be disciplined – do you want to shame us?”) The babies are singing and dancing – so, so cute.

After the singing, they ceremonially raise the flag and then sing their national anthem. The drums begin again, and the babies with their arm on the shoulder in front of them, march back to class. The drum beats faster, and soon they are trotting back to class – arms on shoulders (no one pushes or shoves – and no one gets hurt).

They haul desks outside and about 30 kids are brought out for sponsorship. Is this all? Hillary wonders. No! By the time we are finished, we have gathered information and taken pictures of 82 children – we are extremely sweaty, sunburned, and tired (we didn’t think to bring sunscreen, it had been thundering and pouring down rain all morning – I think it has rained every day we’ve been here, and this isn’t the rainy season!)

And now on to pen pals. More desks are brought out and over 100 kids are seated around us as we begin taking pictures and they begin writing. They work hard on their letters. They are out in the sun, three or four to a desk, and write for over an hour. One boy gives me his letter, then asks for it back so he can add more.

I start to recognize some of the faces from my pen pals last year, and gather them together for a picture I can take back to show my kids. A girl comes up to me and says, “Tell Millie I said hi!” Oh…so cute! Then others come up – tell Taylor hello, tell Christopher I said hi. Another comes up, “You know Makayla?” I tell her yes, and her faces lights up. “Tell her I love her!”

School seems to be over but no one really leaves. They seem to love having us there. The older girls are playing net ball (with no net -it’s kind of like Keep Away), and we have all split up – but you can easily find us – just look for a crowd of kids. Mary is playing circle games with the babies, Courtney is being taught Luganda by a crowd of kids (and, of course, Deborah, who hasn’t left her side), Curt is in a classroom with students reciting some of their lessons. I sat down with Anita to get any idea of what size shoe she wears. She slips off some raggedy boots (a few sizes too big) and I measure her feet with my hand (thumb to pinky outstretched). I tell her that Kelly has given me money for her and I was thinking of getting her some shoes. Her face lights up as I ask if she would like that. “Oh, yes. Thank you!” I soon had a crowd around me, listening to me talk about snow, throwing snowballs, building snowmen. They eagerly listen, leaning in. They have many questions, “How does it stay clean?” “How does it stay together?” I try to remember how we got on this subject (oh yeah, it all started with me telling them about my dogs – I described them as snow dogs – they didn’t know what that was.)

I’m thankful at night for our apartment and a cool shower!


Anonymous said...

Hey Les, was touch that your school kids have pen pals with the kids in Uganda. That's so precious! I'm sure your school kids will love to see the pic. Still trying to imagine 400 kids in a line singing and dancing. Wishing to be there with you. Love ya, Stac

Anonymous said...

Curt, Leslie, Courtney & Hillary -
(aka: Cut, beautiful lady Leslie,
Coney & Madam Hillary)

I'll try to do more comments, since maybe you would enjoy hearing from us as much as we like to hear from you! I'm just trying to think of something clever to say. I don't think I'll be able to top Curt's (or Hillary's) Don't know which is the funniest...I think it's a toss- up!!

Guess you're settling into a routine by now?? (or not!!) It sounds like you're enjoying every moment, well...almost, huh?
That's so neat you got to meet your kids pen-pals, Leslie!
Thanks for the pics, we enjoy them!

All is well on the home-front! Guess things are going well w/Stephanie & the dogs...I've talked to her a few times! We seem to have all the cats in the neighbourhood hangin' out at our house now! (all we need is Gus) ha We tho't it was bad w/just Tobi! We're soooo lucky!!!!!

Stac' & I are gonna see BodyWorld3 ... hopefully Tues.,
Stephanie's Mom is getting us tickets.

Well, bye guys. You're in our prayers. Love you & miss you!!!!

Shirley, Mom & Gramma

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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.