Sunday, January 30, 2011

Back to School!

Tomorrow is the first day of school for the 2011 school year in Uganda, so all of our Kibaale students will be coming back ready to start again after their long break.  It is always exciting to see the students return full of energy and eager to learn.  Our prayer is that they will grow in the wisdom of God and find Him as their help and refuge as they face many challenges in their lives.  Please pray with us for all the teachers and students as they start this new year!

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hot Chocolate and Bibles

Each year, the grade 5 students in our sponsoring school in Canada (Pacific Academy) work to raise money for special needs that we have in our school.  Every day, volunteer students and parents, together with the teachers, prepare many cups of hot chocolate that are sold in the morning before classes begin.  Last year’s classes raised a substantial amount of money that we have been able to use here to purchase Bibles and textbooks for our students. 
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As our youngest primary students learn to read in Luganda (their ‘mother tongue’), they enjoy reading books on their own.  Most of them have no books at all in their homes, however. By the time they finish their second year of primary school many of them are able to read passages in a Luganda Bible.  So…as they begin their third year of school next week, they will be receive their own Bible.  Once students learn to read English and begin Primary 5, they are ready to receive a simply written English Bible.
Thanks so much to all the Pacific Academy grade 5 students, teachers and parents!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bees & the Ambassador

Almost a year ago we applied for a self help grant from the U.S. embassy in Kampala to assist in building a beekeeping training centre and to develop a beekeeping training program tailored for Ugandans.  In May of last year our grant application was approved and we received the funds to begin building the training centre.  Construction was completed in the summer of last year and we held our first beekeeping workshop in the new facility in July.
Yesterday, the U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, Jerry Lanier, his wife and several embassy staff members paid us a visit to see the training centre and beekeeping workshop firsthand.
Lesster Leow, who has been in Uganda for the last 10 years training others in beekeeping, has been an integral part of the beekeeping training program here at the Timothy Centre.  We conduct a 6 day hands-on beekeeping workshop approximately every six weeks, and Lesster is our facilitator.
During the Ambassador’s visit, several workshop participants shared how the workshop had impacted them. 
Stan explained how he had been keeping bees for many years but had never been able to handle the aggressive African bee in such a gentle way.
Geoffrey, who has been working with bees since he was a young boy, shared that after taking the workshop the way he handles bees will be dramatically different.  He now understands that bees do not need to be destroyed when harvesting honey.

Verna shared that she can’t wait to get back to her apiary and teach her apiary workers what she has learned from the workshop.

We then gave our visitors a tour of the apiary.  Lesster has an amazing gift of understanding and respecting the African bee – a rare gift.  He creates a safe environment for people to approach the bees without fear.  As part of the apiary tour Lesster encouraged several of our visitors to hold a frame of wild African bees.
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  Our apiary assistant, Vincent, enjoyed watching others learn about the training program.

Participants from this month’s workshop
We are very grateful for the grant and the success of the program so far.  In the short time it has been running, it has already enabled over 40 people to greatly improve their beekeeping skills.  These skills will undoubtedly benefit families and communities, particularly those struggling in poverty.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


When we describe our work here in Uganda to friends at home in Canada, they often say, “That must be very rewarding work.”  Yes, it is.  And I was reminded of that fact yesterday when I stopped in to visit Judith and her two children at her home not far from the Timothy Centre. 

Judith 124 (2)

I first met Judith about 15 years ago when she came to work as the “matron” at Kibaale Children’s Centre.  She was an orphan herself, 18 years old.  Her job was to care for the dozen or so children who were still living full time at the centre and she worked with amazing dedication and a motherly heart.  She soon became one of our nursery school teachers as well, working both in the classroom and supervising, counselling, bathing, feeding and nurturing the children in her care.  She had no teacher training, so was one of the many teachers that benefited from our teacher development program in Kibaale.

Her two children are bright, healthy children with potential for a full, vibrant life.

Judith 128 Judith 123 (4)

At a recent workshop in Kibaale for our nursery teachers we brought in two of our former students who are now in university and teachers’ college because we wanted them to give testimony to the difference that a nursery teacher can make in a child’s life.  Both of them told our teachers that the one teacher who stood out in their minds as making a significant difference in their lives and learning was Judith.  Judith also served as our Special Unit teacher for two years, working with children who are hearing impaired and have other learning difficulties.  Again, she tackled this job with great determination and gentle patience, even though she had to learn sign language ‘from scratch’ on the job and had no training in special needs education.  It was challenging to help her learn skills to work in this classroom, but the rewards were great. 

When she married about 5 years ago, we were sorry to see her leave Kibaale, but she has now started her own nursery/primary school in a small village near the Timothy Centre and serves on an education committee for the sub-county.  Many teachers are now coming to her for mentoring and training, and she has arranged for us to provide training to neighbouring schools as well.  She has also assisted us in conducting community surveys to help us in planning for early childhood teacher training programs. 

Working with people like Judith is indeed very rewarding!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Man With A Hoe

Since Karl has been training others in Farming God’s Way, he’s been dubbed with the name Najanakumbi – “He came with a hoe”.

This last week he was asked to present a two day workshop at Eagle’s Wings Children’s Village near Lukaya – a town about 30 minutes north of Masaka.


Classroom instruction was combined with practical field training in Farming God’s Way principles.


Participants were shown how to make terran ropes (measuring lines).


028   037033    A skit was presented contrasting Farming God’s Way with conventional methods of farming.051 052 061        

The workshop concluded with a field implementation.

The field was laid out and squared off.


Holes were dug for planting maize and beans.



Both organic and inorganic fertilizers were applied.

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Seeds were then planted.


Once the holes were covered…


…the garden was watered…


…and God’s blanket was applied.121

After the garden was complete, this man danced around rejoicing!


The man on the right approached me and said, “Uncle Karl,  you have not given us fish, but taught us how to fish. Thank you very much”.


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Monday, January 3, 2011

The Spice(s) of Life

Zanzibar is famous for the growing and exporting of all kinds of spices.  While we were there over the Christmas holiday we went on a tour of one of the local spice farms—very interesting!
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Our guide and his assistant (whose name is James Bond – really!) were a lot of fun and very knowledgeable, explaining how the various spices are grown and harvested.
 Zanzibar 811Zanzibar 815  
James Bond was also very talented at making all sorts of things out of palm leaves…like frog necklaces, ties and hats!
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Zanzibar 798              Cinnamon bark

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Black pepper

Zanzibar 806  Vanilla pods

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Cocoa bean pods…and the beans that are purple!
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Zanzibar 878Nutmeg

Zanzibar 880Mace (the red casing of the nutmeg seed)

Zanzibar 886Cloves

Zanzibar 887 The clove buds are used for spices and the clove stems are used for making clove oil (for tooth ache remedies and bath oils).

Zanzibar 888 (2) Cardamom (the pods grow on strange extensions from the stems right above the ground)
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Zanzibar 895 (2)Turmeric
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We also saw a kapok tree, the fruit pods of which produce a thick, fluffy fibre that is used for filling pillows and mattresses.
Zanzibar 860 Kapok

And then there were some of the fruit trees that we don’t see here in Uganda, such as…
Zanzibar 820 Lychee
Zanzibar 846 Durian
Zanzibar 899 Breadfruit

One of the workers then scampered up one of the coconut trees …
Zanzibar 902
Zanzibar 808
 Zanzibar 910 …and we enjoyed a refreshing drink of coconut milk to end the tour.
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We came back with a few plant cuttings to try to grow here at the Timothy Centre, so we`ll see how they do.  If they take, we should soon have our own supply of lemongrass, turmeric, cardamom and black pepper!