After months of planning and dreaming of building a classroom, we finally arrived at Putti Village. The team at Putti had been working as hard as we had been working from our end in Vancouver. And finally, today we began working together.
Last week, the team at Putti laid the foundation necessary for the arrival of the shipping container. On Monday, the 40 foot container was delivered from Kampala and offloaded by a crane. The wood had been purchased with much input and guidance from our friends at Big Steel Box in Vancouver. There have been so many moving parts.
We accounted for everything except the huge downpour and early morning loss of power (that we were supplying). I think that's the best part of working in low income countries- everyone is so resourceful and calm when the unexpected happens.
Last summer, we had the chance to see their lack of supplies. After speaking to the teachers, we knew we wanted to return with school supplies, books and teaching materials. Today that goal became a reality when we cleaned out a small room, ripped out the termite infested book shelves and threw away all of the old used donated books that are not even intended for children. We cleaned and swept and painted the room. Tomorrow we will build the shelves and load them with books and supplies!
We began testing the students. We need baseline word counts for all 143 students in order to measure the efficacy of the reading program we implement. We tested outside in the hot sun with children gathered around to watch. It's amazing the students were even able to focus in the midst of the commotion!!
The organization for the work needed for the container took much longer than we anticipated. There were so many teams that needed to be coordinated: the framing, the windows, rust removal, painting, solar panels and on and on. Just when the framing really started taking shape, it poured. In some ways it was a welcome relief to the extremely hot sunny day.
The afternoon was busy with everyone working on their projects and, of course, spending time with the students and staff. It's a rare experience to really sit and talk to people who live in the poverty we are seeing. Their lives are hard just trying to provide food and water for their children. Many families live with orphans and have up to 15 children living in very small spaces. Yet, they welcome us to their villages with open hearts and smiles- you would never know.
Today was eye opening and inspiring for all. We can't wait to return in the morning!!
Good night from Nabugoye Village...