Saturday, March 31, 2012

Elephant Escort and Lazy Lions

We recently had two teams of high school students working with us at our two projects (Kibaale Community Centre and Timothy Centre) and each team had some time in their program to see some of the beauty of this country.  We helped to drive the Kibaale team to Queen Elizabeth Game Park on Tuesday and though it can be a rather tiring journey, it is always exciting to see what surprises await us in God’s magnificent creation!

This time there were several highlights, including a large hippo right relaxing in a mud hole right beside the track.  Unfortunately, as he emerged from the mud, it was apparent he was quite badly injured—limping and missing his ears (the result of an encounter with a lion or another hippo?). He was reported to the park rangers and was being investigated when we left the next day.

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It was a bad day for hippos, as we also came across an accident on the road early in the morning—a car had collided with a hippo on the road.  The car didn’t fair too well, and the hippo was butchered and taken home for supper by the villagers who were lucky enough to get a free supply of meat that day.

One of the great opportunities for game viewing at Queen Elizabeth NP is the boat launch that takes visitors on a 2 hour ride on the Kazinga Channel between Lake Edward and Lake George.  It is not uncommon to get good sightings of elephants coming down to the water, but this time we had a large bull elephant actually escort us along the shore for at least a kilometer.  He put on quite a show as he followed alongside the boat, occasionally stopping for a bite to eat.

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Then we also had two great sightings of female lions.  They had obviously eaten well, as they were content to lie in the grass and relax.  We had been told by the rangers that earlier in the day, four lions had been seen chasing a leopard up a tree, but the lions we saw were in a lazy mood and just posed peacefully for us.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Heated Debate!

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It seems the three occasions where the normally quiet and reserved Timothy Girls to ‘come out of their shells’ are sporting activities, music/drama presentations, and debates!  Today they had a Friday afternoon debate in the dining hall and they surprised us with their well articulated arguments and their passion to defend their positions.
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Debating is a very popular activity in Ugandan schools, as it gives the students opportunity to practice their oral English skills and develops clear and critical thinking.
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If today’s debate is any indication, these young women have great potential to become effective leaders in important discussions in this country!
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pacific Academy Students’ Outreach at Beth Pipe Primary School

We have really appreciated the hard work and great attitudes of the Pacific Academy High School outreach team that we have hosted at Timothy Centre this week.  This team of eight grade 11 and 12 girls, led by two PA teachers, has been involved in many different activities and work projects at the Timothy Girls’ High School … and has ministered to the sick in the local hospital, helped at a local baby home and organised activities at a local primary school.  Today they ventured farther afield when we took them to Beth Pipe Primary School, about a 45 minute journey from our centre.  This is one of the schools that is part of Eagle’s Wings Children’s Village (where I recently conducted some Christian teacher training).  This school has over 250 students, 72 of which are orphaned or abandoned and are living in the children’s village. They were so excited to have visitors come and teach them songs, present a Bible story drama, play games with them and help them make crafts. Well done, girls!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Super Moth!

It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s Super Moth!!!

The rainy season always brings new and unusual creatures to our door (literally).  We thought we seen about all there was to see in terms of large insects until the other day I saw what looked like a bird on the door frame of the house next door as I was walking by.  On second look, I noticed it was a huge moth with a wingspan of about 8 inches.

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Often we see birds here catching moths for supper, but it would take a pretty big bird to tackle this one!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Teacher Transformation


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Since conducting our first teacher training module in January, much of my time has been spent in my office marking hundreds of assignments (that’s what happens when you make your students work hard….it comes back on you!).  Those of you who are teachers know that marking is sometimes the hardest and most time-consuming part of teaching.  It is not always the most inspiring part, either!  But as I was going through some of the assignments the other day, I was struck by the way the teachers  who have been working at our Kibaale project in the past several years had been able to describe the transformation that has taken place in their lives and teaching as they have matured as Christian teachers.  Let me include a few anonymous samples of what they have written:

“One of the ways in which my worldview has changed is in love for enemies.  Before I knew Jesus, I was hating my enemies and loving those who loved me.  When I received Jesus I learnt from God’s word that I have to love my enemies and do good to those who hate me.  I must bless those who curse me and pray for those who mistreat me.  It took me time to change, but when I started to practice it, my enemies changes.  They no longer behaved in the way they used to. It is true we need to love our enemies for it is one of the ways of preaching the gospel to them.  Luke 6: 31-36 has really changed my life in that area.”

“I use to think teaching was a source of income like any other job as long as I had imparted knowledge to learners.  However, I realised later that it was a very big ministry because all the pupils that sat before me every day had to be trained in the ways of God and helped to practice their Christian faith in their whole lives.  Each day now I ask God to guide me how to plan for my devotions and lessons effectively to the glory of God.”

“”I used to discipline my children and students by use of a cane…and thought I was the best.  After a time I realised  how foolish I became and started to look for a way out.  Then I found I was wrong and repented and asked God to help me as I control my class.  Right now I am doing well using guidance and counselling even to young children in my family.  I have been facing challenging issues but through counselling and guidance many have got saved and even those who went before they got saved came back to testify.  Students are no longer a burden but God-given gifts…I have seen students changing for the good, for the grace of the Lord has been new every morning.  I used to pray that students  should fear me, but now I pray that students should trust me and love to do good things.”


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Praise God for the fruit we see in the teachers’ lives.  It is worth the investment!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


This last week for three days I had the joy of teaching children at Grace Learning Centre, Masaka District (Grades 1 to 5) about Farming God’s Way.  The school was started by Judith Nambi Mugisha, a former nursery and primary teacher at Kibaale Community Centre in Rakai District.
The children  were very eager to learn about this new method of farming (new to them at least – Farming God’s Way has been around for about 28 years in Africa).
After sharing with them a few biblical principles that apply to farming but also life in general we gathered behind their school building to layout their school garden. 
This garden is situated well in the community and Judith hopes this garden will bring hope to many of the families in the area who live in poverty.  As a pilot project, we hope to follow up in future years with more training involving community members.
After laying out the garden, teachers and students began digging holes.  In Uganda, when families prepare a garden, the entire area is tilled.  So laying out terran ropes that define areas to plant was new to everyone there.  Simple technology, but very effective.
We began by digging holes for maize – a staple crop in this area.  The food grown on this small plot will help to feed these same children who are doing the planting.
Two thirds of the garden is planted with maize, and one third with beans.  Here students are digging out channels for maize to be planted.
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The children were very faithful and did not want to quit digging.
Once holing out was complete the children learned how to apply fertilizers – in this case NPK was applied – a fertilizer readily available in many farm shops in the area.
After fertilizing and covering with soil, 3 seeds of maize were planted in each hole.
Upon placing the seed carefully across the hole, the holes were covered with soil.
Several rows of beans were then planted.
Once the seeds were covered with soil, “God’s blanket” was put on top of the garden.  This is a key element in FGW.  Mulch material is abundantly available in Uganda, but few farmers put it on their vegetable gardens. 
The blanket is essential for preventing soil runoff, retaining moisture and having a cooling effect on the soil (very helpful in 30 degree temperatures throughout the year).  It also helps prevent weeds from growing and adds organic material to the soil.
This has been a great opportunity to teach a new generation how to honor God with their gardens and effectively feed their families.  We now pray for an abundant harvest.  Well done kids!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Training at Eagle’s Wings Children’s Centre

On Thursday and Friday, I conducted a teacher training workshop the the primary and secondary school staffs of Eagle’s Wings Children’s Centre near Lukaya (about 45 minutes from the Timothy Centre).  This is an amazing project, started in 2004 by Bill and Anne, a retired couple from Manitoba who felt that God was calling them to help orphaned children in this area.  In the last 8 years they have built up a children’s home and primary school for vulnerable children, fostered in their home a little boy who was on death’s door from malnutrition when he was brought to them, and just opened a secondary school with the students who have graduated from the primary school.  With the help of a volunteer doctor from the U.S., they are about to build a clinic at the centre.  Talk about using your “sunset years” well!  We also had a teacher from another Masaka area project (Love in Action) join us for the training, so she can mentor the staff members from the two schools she supervises.
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This is the third time I have helped with teacher training at Eagle’s Wings, and one of their teachers is enrolled in our Certificate in Christian Education course at Timothy Centre.  It is great to be able to share things we have learned from mentoring our own teachers in Kibaale, and see the fire for Christian Education spread in other areas.
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We try to use a lot of interactive methods in our training, to model for these teachers ways to make learning more interesting and meaningful for their students.  Cooperative learning groups and making presentations of their group work seem to work well.
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We had a donation from an individual that enabled us to purchase Life Application Study Bibles for the schools, as well as resource books that are a great help to teachers in understanding ways in which biblical truths relate to the subjects that they are teaching.
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