New Hope Christian Academy, Apach Uganda (Rebecca Kinney)
After dropping the scholarship students off at their schools we (the three amigos and Lillian) met up with Pastor Michael and Mama Cossy to go and visit New Hope Christian Academy – a school that Pastor Michael is assisting to get up and running.
We drove for about 2 hours down a bumpy and dusty dirt road. Trust me when I say, you’ve never experienced a bumpy car ride until you have driven on this type of road in Uganda in a van packed full of supplies and people. As we drove, we passed village after village of mud hut houses with grass roofs and half built brick buildings. We saw adults and children alike walking to the nearest water pump carrying jerry cans of water back to their homes. We saw children walking to and from school, people riding their bikes and walking to the places they need to go. We stopped in town for a quick pit stop:
sodas, popcorn, and the last indoor restroom in sight. Then we drove about another 20 minutes until we arrived in Apach to visit the school.
The school is still in the very early stages, about 115 students meeting in 3 little mud hut classrooms. A brick school building is in the process of being built but is currently at a standstill because more funding is needed to complete the project. When we got there the kids were in their classrooms listening to their teachers. Of course once we arrived attention was lost and a bell was rung and some came out to see what we were doing. After a quick tour of the school and meeting those that were in charge we began interacting with the children.
One of the quickest and best ways to entertain the children and let them warm up to you a little bit is to take their pictures and let them see it on the screen. Almost immediately the children fall in to fits of laughter looking at images of themselves. Many of these kids are most likely seeing a picture of themselves for the first time. After a while of picture taking and failing to think of a game we could easily explain to a group of children this large who didn’t understand us I remembered I had friendship bracelets in my book bag and thought this might be something nice to give the children.
Before I left to come to Uganda I had tons of friendship bracelets donated to me to give out to children. I can’t give every child I see food or money but at least I can give them something that might make them happy even for a few minutes. We had all the kids make a big circle and Josh, Jason, Lillian, and I tied a bracelet on each child’s wrist.
We made our way out to Apach to visit New Hope Christian Academy not only to see the progress being made and to visit the children but also to provide lunch and water for all of the students. On a typical day the children are responsible for bringing their own lunch from home. If they don’t have any food or can’t afford it then they don’t eat. When we got there lunch was being prepared and we brought boxes of water. The women finished cooking just as the downpour of rain began. We all huddled inside the classrooms to wait for the rain to slow; the children patiently waiting for lunch to be served (it was already about 2:30 by this time). Once lunch was served we began giving out bottles of water and we started realizing not all the children had food. It came to our attention that there weren’t enough plates for all the children to eat at the same time. However, not once did we hear a word of complaint from any of them. They just continued waiting until someone finished and they received their own food.
The plan and hope for the future of this school is that there will one day be enough funding to turn this school into a boarding school and children will be able to receive scholarships to further their education.