Thursday, Valentine's Day!

What a day of love we had. We went to Muko for the first day. My (Sue) favorite part of my trips is ALWAYS climbing out of the van at the ACT Empowerment Center and seeing and hugging all our staff for the first time. This morning was no exception. Two new faces for me today was Thomas Akwankasa who has been the Acting HEAL Manager and done an amazing job and Will Buckner, our Peace Corps volunteer! Will shared with me that he had been looking forward to us coming to be able to be around some folks from home for a while. The ACT Empowerment Center was spotless and the grounds as well. They always work so hard to make it look nice for us. And we so appreciate all their preparation and hard work. 

Shortly after meeting and greeting the staff and taking a tour of the ACT Empowerment Center, Linda, Lori and Eileen went up to Muko High School where the Parenting Training was beginning. Sue and Dave stayed and met with the ACT staff to walk through our total trip agenda which took about an hour and a half. We then all went up to join the training. This training was a blessing from Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Midland. We applied for their community grant and received enough to pay the three trainers and their transportation from Kampala to Muko. They are not only providing the training for parents but providing a train-the-trainer so that we can turn around and have these people turn around and train others! So, participating now are 6 classroom teachers, 6 guardians, administration for Muko High School, representatives from the Board of Governors and the ACT Board, and others. This was a lively interaction all day long talking about Building Self Esteem in your children and Being a Friend to your children. At the end of the day, people had the opportunity to train each other. 

At 5:00 pm when the training had finished, Dave and Sue had the ultimate privilege of taking the recommendations of nine students who would awarded the empowerment scholarships for the room, board and tuition for the full year. The three students who received scholarships last year automatically got scholarships again this year. The criteria for these additional 6 students were that they are good students showing an interest in school and having great need financially. Their stories on their applications nearly brought tears to my eyes. One young man comes from a father who has taken five wives and Richard has 16 siblings. His father is a security guard. No wonder there is financial need to send the kids to school. 

We called the 5 students (one was not there today) to inform them they had been awarded the scholarships. Their reaction was so great. I have to say, this was one of the most fun things I’ve ever gotten to do. They were all so emotional and so appreciative. The funds for the scholarships came from the ACT Trivia Night in Midland last September. Not only do these nine students benefit, it helps us try to make the high school solvent. 

Dave spent the afternoon working on the finances for MHS, and discussions are planned with the administrative staff on budget reductions for 2019.

Sue Waechter

Ellie Schroeder