A Successful Day and a Strong Partnership

Dear All- sending a long message from Uganda. There is not a strong enough signal to do a blog tonight. (Sue is posting this for Karen)
First, our Travel was smooth. The flight to London Rwanda made sense. Their airport is beautiful. We had a problem with parking and it took almost an hour to straighten out plus the border of Rwanda and Uganda took some time so by the time we arrived at the hotel it was after 1 am. Travel time was a total of 36 hours if you count the parking delay, layovers, etc. I guess we are growing accustomed to the trip because we managed well and did well. I think I watched five movies- so let’s have a conversation sometime about some good ones!
After only five hours sleep we were picked up by Christopher and Generous and went to a church service(Church of Uganda) that lasted four hours. This is a real endurance test because it is not in English. The Bishop was making his yearly visit there. We were invited for lunch afterwards- a lovely traditional African feast. Then another man who was a professor wanted us to see his property which was one of the most beautiful Ugandan homes I have ever seen. He had a unique story of being exiled by Idi Amin and how he was invited back to the country by Museveni. We stayed a few minutes only and the Bishop prayed over the graves of his parents. Interesting experience. 
When we climbed into the van after this Generous said “ The Diocese office is working on the applications for headmaster. They want to be involved. They are waiting for us there- do you want to go over?” Mind you, Dave had just told me he was too tired to take another step. However, he enthusiastically said “absolutely!” So off we went....to an impressive meeting. They had narrowed 72 applicants down to four using a criterion of eight excellent points. We all agreed with their system and then continued by planning the interviews and our time together this week. It was such a good meeting. Rev Esau started the meeting by asking Ilya to cross our arms and hold each other’s hands at the level of our hearts. This was to show our unity. I have pictures of this. Incredible. 
For Dick and Sue- interviews were changed to Tuesday, not Weds, at 6 am your time. I hoe this change will work. You would not believe the difference in attitude from these people as compared to board we met last summer. These guys are serious, intense, cooperative, engaging- great. 
After the meeting we went to the Bishops residence for dinner. We had another delicious African feast. Before dinner the Bishop talked to us at some length- he asked Generous, Dave and me all to speak. It was a lovely touching meeting where we bonded. The Bishop said he felt something special on the road when he met us last summer and had felt good about this partnership ever since. We did not sign the MOU because the Bishop wanted the logos to be ACT on one side and COU in the other side. Otherwise, we agreed on everything. We made an appointment to meet on Saturday to make this change and do the signing. 
We were all walking on cloud nine after the dinner meeting. Generous underlined to me later that she has such respect for the Bishop - he is down to earth and encouraged us to tell him if there is any misunderstanding or problem before it gets into a situation. I asked him for a blessing and he gave us a beautiful prayer. 
Also, the Bishop said he would appoint his two Board members tonight so they could attend our training on Monday.
If you are following our travel itinerary, it has changed quite a bit already. Most of the items are just shuffled around EXCEPT the students were sent home early for holiday breaks because there is famine in Muko Sub County. The huge rains washed away the gardens and there is such a shortage of food that many schools could not feed their kids. The only children at school are the ones testing- I think it is Senior 6 students. This seriously affects our planning with kids and MUSIC. 
Tomorrow we will go out to see the staff in the morning, I may get a chance to have a lesson with Howard and at 2 pm a staff member from the Bishops office is going to help us have a meeting with the Muko HS teachers where the COU will finish their business with the teachers and they will officially hand over the controls to us. They had asked the teachers to apply for a job next year and they wanted to let them know what is happening themselves before we move forward. We will tell the teachers that most of them will be retained- the Head teacher will figure out (with Dave’s help) a schedule of staffing that will help us determine who is needed and not needed, covering all subjects and then the teachers will be evaluated throughout the year for the next year. 
Actually there is more to say. However, enough for now! We will try the blog again tomorrow. Sending love to you all- Karen

Ellie Schroeder