Thursday, July 12, 2012
“We are very happy to receive you..” were the lyrics of the songs the Ugandans are all singing each day to us. “Welcome vistas (their pronunciation of visitors)” What a warm, joyful people we encounter each day wherever we go. This was the first day we split up as a team. Curt stayed in Kabale to work on the Internet and ended up meeting a woman from UK. She may be very helpful to us with builders and construction in the future. Everyone else journeyed to Muko (about 40 minute drive). We have lovingly named all the speed bumps on the highway, “Christopher’s massages.” As I write this, Katie and Sydney and I (Sue) are in the back of the van in the cargo going over a very bumpy road.
Before we left Kabale this morning, we picked up Lovina, our handcraft quality manager, who has taken it upon herself to enroll in a school to learn to read and write. She is physically disabled with no use of her legs which are drawn up under her. In her late twenties, she has never attended school before. She is our very best basket-maker and usually makes the lidded baskets. It has been with her meager salary from ACT that she could afford to enroll in school.
We took Lovina with us because today was MEP day – meeting with the women and men who make the handcrafts. It was a productive meeting. We discussed wages they earn for the handcrafts, the time they spend on making the different size baskets, and shared with them the new project ideas from MI. After the meeting and as a spur of the moment thing, Dale worked with the women to make some fabric coasters. They appreciated the work and learning. Sue worked in the office with Alexander sorting all the baskets and deciding which ones to bring back to the U.S. We marked each basket with the woman’s name who made it – something we have wanted to do with regularity. After helping Dale, Sydney and Katie went outside and played with village children for (as they are describing it) hours and hours and hours. More and more came along as school let out. The played Frisbee, ball, and Duck, Duck, Goose. They even enlisted Christopher, our driver in the game.
All the while Dave, Christopher, Charles Tuhaise and Josiah, our new Operations Manager measured the windows and doors in the ACT Empowerment Center. They drove all the way back to Kabale to find a supplier and order a sample which they will pick up tomorrow. Their goal is to get all the doors and windows ordered so that they can have them installed by next week and get our building secured. They then sent Christopher and Josiah back to Muko so he could bring us home.
Karen was busy all day giving music lessons at two of the schools. She managed to arrange getting the kids at far-away schools to come to the other schools for their lessons. Not only did she do recorder lessons but she used the bells with the kids as well.
We are waiting for our supper and recounting our day with each other. God is good.