Sunday, December 25, 2011
We have enjoyed relaxing and taking in some Christmas activities this past couple of weeks…
…and we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and blessed new year!
Friday, December 2, 2011
What a day for celebration! On Thursday we held a graduation ceremony for our Kindergarten classes in Kibaale Community Nursery School. It was part of the annual year end “Speech Day”.
This is the first year we held an actual graduation…with gowns, caps and certificates! The parents and guardians were so proud of their little ones and there was a wonderful spirit of celebration as teachers, students and parents danced together.
God has been good to Kibaale. The piece of land where Kibaale Community Centre is located was a desecrated site where atrocities took place during the time of Idi Amin (president in the 1970s). It was an army camp that was a curse to the community. Over the years God has redeemed this land, restored hope to the families who suffered so many losses to HIV/AIDS, and made the centre a place of blessing. To see these kindergarten children so happy and proud of their achievements was very encouraging. They are the future of this community and will follow in the footsteps of many of the hundreds of children who have graduated from our secondary school and have gone on to university and other colleges.
Some of our graduates who have gone on to complete university
Saturday, November 26, 2011
The first year of Timothy Girls’ High School is drawing to a close and the students are busy finishing their exams. A walk around campus today found girls doing physics practicals and written exams, studying outside on the beautifully landscaped compound, and keeping in shape playing volleyball and soccer.
These girls do everything with great gusto…and sometimes the ball even ends up in the mango tree!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The students in Kibaale are busy with end of year activities…cleaning classrooms, packing up books…
preparing dramas and songs for the annual year end “Speech Day”…
and just hanging out and enjoying friends while teachers prepare report cards.
There was some extra excitement on Friday when the “Kabaka” (king of the Buganda, the main tribe in the Masaka and Rakai Districts) was supposed to make a visit to Rakai. He was planning to visit several towns, Kibaale included….so after school the students hurried down to the community play field to see if he had arrived.
There was a large crowd waiting, enjoying a football game in the meantime, but it seems that the king was delayed somewhere along the way. Driving back to Masaka I passed school children who had been waiting there since the morning…still waiting! They have much more patience than Canadian children! At almost every village along the way, there was a “archway” constructed on the road to welcome him, a crowd of both old and young, and local musicians and dancers entertaining everyone while they waited.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
This has been a very busy week in Timothy Centre and Kibaale with official visitors who had promised to come for some time now. It happened they all showed up the same week!
We had a team of eight people from the Directorate for Ethics and Integrity visiting in Kibaale for 3 days. They had asked us for help in planning workshops to train CCTs (Coordinating Centre Tutors) in the integration of values in the primary school curriculum. The CCTs are government teacher trainers who work in the field, providing support and instruction for in-service teachers.
Values integration has been a part of the government curriculum (on paper) but teachers have generally been ineffective in this area, partly due to lack of instruction in the teacher colleges.
Peter, our director in Kibaale, has done volunteer work with the directorate for over a year now helping to train tutors in the primary teachers’ colleges and they have been very pleased with his insights and contributions. What God has helped us to develop in terms of biblical values integration in Kibaale is what other schools, the government and teachers’ colleges are now asking for. We are happy to share! It is amazing the way God has opened doors for our Kibaale schools to influence many other schools through avenues like this.
Touring the school compound
We have also been in discussions with Uganda Christian University regarding our teacher training course at the Timothy Centre. On Thursday the Dean of Education made a visit to the Timothy Centre and Kibaale—also to see how we have approached biblical values integration. The university wants to take a more intentional approach in integrating the biblical worldview in all of its courses, and is interested in what we have done. He talked with several of the Kibaale teachers and administrators, and gleaned practical ideas from them. We were also able to share some of the workshop materials that we have used with our teachers over the past few years. He was very receptive and appreciative, and encouraged us very much in what we are doing. This is the beginning of a partnership and sharing of ideas with UCU Faculty of Education.
It was a real encouragement to our Kibaale teachers to see their efforts acknowledged and appreciated by both the Directorate for Ethics and Integrity and the Dean of Education. Many have worked with us for several years, knowing the call of God on their lives, working sacrificially in a remote area when they could have been working in more central, prestigious government schools.
We are pleased that the dean is also planning to spend some time in January with us at the Timothy Centre to observe the first module of our Certificate in Christian Education course.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Each year as the school year winds up and Christmas approaches, the students in Kibaale Community Schools are excited to receive special gifts donated by their Canadian sponsors. These Christmas gifts are a big blessings to the families of the students. Some receive gift baskets (plastic wash basins, actually!) of household goodies like soap, sugar, rice, cooking oil, etc. and others receive goats or other items that help families that are struggling to meet their needs. Next week is the big “distribution week” in Kibaale, but the sponsorship office had already started sending some gifts home this past week. It’s a long trek home from school with a heavy load, but students are happy to help each other.
One family’s “Christmas goat”
Monday, November 14, 2011
This weekend we were reminded of the magnificence of the glory of God in many ways. In a world where there is so much division and tension between individuals and groups, it is so refreshing to see the way God takes very diverse people and molds them together into the body of Christ to reflect His glory.
Karl was asked to share a message from the Word of God in the Sunday morning chapel service here at Timothy Girls’ High School and it was great to be part of their worship celebration. One thing that struck me was the way these services have become so much more than a student event. Not only do the matrons and headmistress participate fully in the music and sharing of their lives with students, the cooks and other workers feel free to participate and learn together as well. In a society that is often very stratified according to age, educational status, and sexual distinctions, this is a real testimony to the work of the Spirit of God in lives to break down traditional barriers.
Some of the men from the community who work on the landscaping and farming crew have come to believe in Christ. This older man, Paul, is full of joy and thankfulness after God revealed his love to him in healing him after a severe sickness. He comes faithfully the services each Sunday to learn more about the glory of the God he has come to know. The girls and school staff welcome him warmly.
Even the security guard and one of the young men who helps with landscaping choose to come and learn together.
Karl shared on “beholding the glory of the Lord” from 2 Corinthians 3: 18 and the transforming power this has in lives. We have seen this at the Timothy Centre!