Leadership Retreat Ends

Leadership Retreat Ends

Jan. 25, 2018 – We saw the children off this morning, each to their own Districts. Some will travel for 10 hours on a bus or taxi. They were “bright” and energetic at 8:00 A.M. but I imagine most of them are sleeping on their way home. Once meeting these teens you can’t forget them. They are loving, genuine, and have become friends. I smiled from a distance as I saw them encouraging each other and instructing each other to remain focused on their studies.

One of the girls, Noeline, has completed her vocational training in accounting, has just received her certificate (but not yet her grades!), and is working at a school in her village as bursar. Her brother Mark, is still in school (Grade 7), and has a smile that never fades! They are very caring of each other.

Sylvan and Morris are completing vocational training this year. Sylvan is from the far west (traveled by taxi all night) and is becoming a hair dresser. He looks/acts “reserved” at times, but responds to complements of how proud we are of him and his accomplishments. Morris is the tallest of all the participants and outgoing. He is completing studies to be a mechanic and wore his mechanic jumpsuit for the two days of camp.

The children from the Jinja area went back in a PCAU car this morning with Rose. She is meeting with the Board of Hospice Jinja tomorrow. We decided together it would be best for me to stay behind and see all the children off and to do some other things. In her car were Aggrey and Ronald, both in Senior 3 at the Holy Cross School, Lakeview. They have become good friends and an encouragement to each other. Ronald talks of becoming a doctor, but he talks so much one would think he was going to be a politician. The two girls in the car, Juliet (S3) and Aggrey’s sister, Jackline, (P7) are both quiet, but so many of the exercises brought out their smiles and laughter. They are as hopeful as the others for their futures and Juliet put her dreams into words when she wrote, “if God wants I will be a medical technician and may someday work for PCAU.”

You have to love Akibar (P7) from Yumbe. He had a long journey. He wants to be a pilot, but his current worry is who will take care of him when his mother dies of her cancer since his father is already dead. He performs very well in school. He told the story of how children made fun of him because he could not have a good education – until his aunt heard about the Road to Hope. He said he is now in a good school while those friends are not in any school. He also said he would hold up his hand to his friends and say, “See my five fingers? They are all different, just like we are different.” How true. I rode with him to catch his bus in the city.

Those from the Hoima area: Mary is determined to be a mechanic and Gertrude a nurse. Mwesigwa stammers (stutters) badly and others make fun of him, but he asked me to video him because he wanted to say “thank you!”

Tonny was studying to become a priest, but realized he was not living out what he and his mother had often talked about before her death and is now in a different school with the hope of going on to a University next year. He wants to be a lawyer or work for the court system helping others. His brother, Crispus dreams of becoming a civil engineer.

Now there is George, the child who inspired the Road to Hope Program. He struggles but is resilient. We just have to “hang in with him.” He is at Rose’s home waiting for classes to begin so he came to the retreat too, even though he was younger. Yes, he participated actively and at the end he made everyone stand and to kneel down “Ugandan style” and thank PCAU and me – and the United States “for releasing me” to come to Uganda. And yes, he still wants to become president! I have many George stories and I am “keeping my eye on him” in the village while Rose is away.

These are the majority of our teens who could get to the retreat his year. I so wish I could include some pictures, but my iPad completely stopped working toward the end of the day yesterday and I can’t get or see anything. Cynthia, IT person from PCAU, has it for the long weekend (tomorrow is a public holiday) to see if she can figure out the problem and reprogram it?! I have a few pictures on my camera from this morning to download soon!

Rose’s comment after the camp; “I never dreamed this was so necessary and how the children responded made it successful!”

Thanks to all of you for your continued support of the children!

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