Keeping Hope Alive

The day began, as most days in Uganda, embracing the stillness and serenity of the morning.  The first stop, at Murole Preparatory School, was truly inspiring.  Head Master, Norman Tushabe greeted us and provided a tour of his school where 74 of our 130 orphans attend.  Mr. Tushabe was a successful teacher at another school when he realized he could be more effective in his home village.  It was then he decided to return.  His last name is his inspiration and means let’s pray.  His prayers are constantly being answered and today his compound includes equivalent of our kindergarten through seventh grade classrooms, a computer lab without internet, boy’s and girl’s dormitories, a piggery, a soccer field, and a multipurpose room under construction.  Mr. Tushabe stood tall and a faraway look descended upon him as he spoke of the future for his school.  “My dream, he announced “is where students excel academically and [are] morally upright and are God fearing.” Next approximately 75 guardians engaged in a stimulating seminar expertly lead by VTT member Suzanne Greenberg, CEO of the Child Abuse and Neglect Council Great Lakes Bay Region.  In addition to a review of basic disciplinary practices, Suzanne guided the group thorough the difficult territory of caning and sexual abuse.  She was skilled and demonstrated alternative methods of discipline via a role play which introduced the idea of “time out” with 2 and 3-year-old children.  Sue Waechter, trained the ACT Uganda staff and a few community members in Creating Strategic Partnerships.  The group actively participated and were ready with examples of relevant application for Muko. The full day of activities ended with a staff and community training at the Muko campground complete with a delicious buffet of local dishes.  The staff gratefully acknowledged the support of their American partners.  Rotary VTT member, Richard Dolinski, was professional in his delivery and appropriate in culturally translating child development.  His presentation provoked much discussion and creative solutions proffered by staff and community members alike. Although it was evident that there is still much work to do, everyone left full of hope, shaking hands, and renewing their individual commitments to the ACT mission and Rotary values.  The day ended, as most days in Uganda, enveloped in darkness with the beauty of a star-spangled sky.