celebrate

Our Time Is Coming to an End

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I can’t believe we leave in just a few days! The time has flown by, but we’ve gotten so much done while we were here.

Last time I wrote about Susan’s art classes, which continue through today. She taught a group of boys (and Fauza) yesterday, and they painted funky chickens. Today I’ll assist on a class for the staff, who were feeling left out!

Our trip west was great. We had LOTS of dancing and singing presentations by the students at both Hopeland and Wells of Hope Schools. We filmed video for some upcoming projects – one of which is introducing “Sister Schools” to US elementary schools to try to connect and reinforce ties with kids the same age.

We didn’t get to walk Rwakobo Village with Gideon as it POURED down rain all morning that Friday, but we did get to do the boat and driving safaris… And saw a leopard! (Rare!) We were 10′ from giraffes as we walked along a trail, and saw everything from a huge croc to young zebra to an eland at the top of a hill.

Now all the focus is on graduation!

This is our biggest one yet, with 33 girls graduating Skills for Life on Saturday. (See the PS for more!) The ceremony starts at 9am and celebrations will go (literally!) until dark… My mom and I will bow out after lunch and let the girls dance and celebrate to their hearts’ content!

We’re so proud of the work they’ve done, the skills they’ve learned, and the effort they’ve exhibited. We are equally proud of the creativity, compassion, and playfulness they’ve shown –– these aren’t found in great abundance in the slum, but will lead to a gradual change in the culture.

Thank you so much for your encouragement here and on social media during our trip and for everyone at Touch the Slum. We’re very grateful!

Mwebele nnyo!

Jennings & Susan

PS The biggest graduation means the most costly one. We had to make more gowns, and while we’ve limited each girl to one guest only, we also have speakers and staff to feed as well as a very big tent to protect us since it’s rainy season. If you can help with our graduation celebration, click below – 100% goes to the project!

GRADUATION ROCKS!

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Celebrating Literacy (With a Party!)

Husinah, right, is our poster child for the Skills for Life Literacy program. She came into the program without a word of English beyond “hello, how are you?” (Which every Ugandan kid learns as one word: howareyoufine.)

In less than 5 months, she is the first one to volunteer to do videos in English, she engaged me in conversation multiple times on my visit, and she literally *always* has a smile on her face because she is so excited about everything she’s learning and doing.

We are throwing a party for the 20 girls who’ve finished both our first-ever Literacy class and a month of auditing their chosen vocational class so they’re ready for Term 3 next month.

We want to PARTY, to celebrate, to make sure they know that they have beaten every expectation — not just expectations from people in Uganda who look down on anyone in the slum as a criminal or prostitute or drug addict. But OUR expectations, too. Where we thought a 6-month course would be ambitious, they just said the (non-alcoholic) equivalent of “hold my beer.”

So we’re getting a big cake, and soda, and they’ll do a huge THANK YOU to Teachers Lillian and Fortunate as well as to YOU and our friends at Expat Money Show who funded this amazing program for us.

WEBELE NYO!

Blessings!

Jennings

PS We have a project up on DonorSee to fund the party —> click the button! Shhhh, it’s a surprise!

Click for the party!

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