January 25, 2019 – I know it has been several days since my last letter, but the days have been long, full and active. I was just glad to get home at the end of the day for bed, knowing that the morning would come early.
The general Children’s Camp that is usually offered in May was combined with the Empowerment Retreat held for the older children. As all of you know, anything “new” presents new challenges – some planned, some unplanned. The Empowerment Retreat began late afternoon/evening this past Monday. The older children are fewer and more independent and were used to the “routine” from last year – the older ones assisting those coming for the first time. Their maturity and development over the years helps them to be more focused and realistic about their dreams and concerns for their future and for their families. The opening exercise was to write out their first name and then to list one personal quality for each of the letters. This was only the beginning of their insightfulness. They used this exercise for interactive discussion and then to introduce each other using the information they received from their partner’s name.
I could go on and on – and since I haven’t written for awhile there is so much to say – but perhaps over the weekend I can come back to topics about the Retreat/Camp!?
The rest of the Road to Hope children began to arrive on Wednesday. Oh my, so much was going on with the Retreat and the arrivals – and few adults/staff to assist due to PCAU staff leaves and commitments. We were up and down and everywhere! This was one of the mornings when I was alone with the children, except for the session facilitators, because Lydia (Coord. of Road to Hope) was at the office taking care of some issues. It’s a good thing the children arriving were tired from travel and considerably well behaved… but they are children. We couldn’t settle these new arrivals into their rooms, because they were not staying in rooms for the first night. The Conference Center was also hosting a Women’s Conference and those women filled any additional rooms from those occupied by the children in the Retreat. The younger children were going to sleep on mattresses in the large conference room, which only became available after the women’s last presentation at night. It seemed a bit “chaotic” for this American! We ALL survived!
Some names will probably be familiar to all/many of you who have received correspondence from me over the years – Stephen, being one such person, a former student in the Road to Hope, now in Medical School. I know I will talk more about him, but he coordinated all the younger children coming from the Jinja area, met them in town and got them all to the conference center – and stayed. He was a great help to ALL of us. All the children call him “Uncle Stephen!” They love him and trust him and look up to him as a role model… and when “Uncle Stephen” says something, the children listen. He is also kind and gentle! We could not be more proud of him.
I don’t want this to get too long, because you may lose interest! I will attempt to get some pictures loaded from my ipad to this computer tomorrow and send a few. My ipad is refusing to connect to any network, but it still takes the best pictures.
One final story. George’s younger brother (Lawrence) has surfaced and came to the camp. They could be twins!!!! Except Lawrence is shorter. They look alike, sound alike, and in some ways act alike. They also have the same smile. However, there is only one George!
Thanks for listening! Take care!