Since our last update, there have been so many new things happening with us and Amazima, hence our delay in updating the blog. Sorry!
At the first of the year, we finally got the long awaited container full of items for the school, the staff homes, the dorm rooms and the students. It was all hands on deck to get what was necessary unloaded and delivered to the new staff homes just in time for their arrival less than 36 hours later. The new Western staff and their families (18 people total) were welcomed to their new homes at The Amazima School and they immediately jumped into the process of getting everything set up. They were a great infusion of fresh energy. We spent
the first week of their arrival orienting them to Jinja including where to buy groceries and everyday supplies (it requires many different stores and the local market), the best places to eat, and how to manage “airtime” & internet here (very different from the states). We took a trip to Kampala (our big city) to get the things hard to find in Jinja. My favorite part about going to Kampala is lunch at Pizza Hut. I (Danlyn) rarely ate Pizza Hut in the states, but somehow it seems like the right thing to do here 🙂 And it tastes EXACTLY like it does in the states which is very rare. Nothing like a little taste of home, even if it’s not the healthiest. I choose to believe the kale smoothies I get from The Deli (in Jinja) cancels out my Pizza Hut treats 🙂
The month of January brought lots of training for all of us staff. We learned about the history of Amazima, the mission, philosophy & vision of The Amazima School, Ugandan Culture, World Views, healthcare for us and our students, a basic Luganda language lesson and even a “cooking from scratch” session.
We said good-bye to The Providence Guest House and all of the sweet Ugandans who took such great care of us. We miss all of our friends there but are so grateful to be in our own home at The Amazima School campus. We have a constant breeze, an amazing view and a place we can make our own. I love finally getting to organize our stuff and decorate a little.
Cooking and cleaning are probably two of the biggest adjustments to living in our new place since those tasks were done for us (mainly) at the guest house at which we were staying for the last 3 months. Everything just takes longer than we’re used to so we have to plan ahead. We have to make sure we wash the clothes/linens in time for them to have margin to air dry that day. There are some good local restaurants and hopefully some mac-n-cheese in our cabinet when we forget to thaw something out or don’t have the hour(s) to prepare dinner. Because there’s no running to Kroger/Publix if you need something quickly, The Deli (one of my favorite places) sells frozen lasagnas (the only pre-made food here) so we usually eat that once a week. I recently tried to make brownies for the first time. Our oven doesn’t have temperature control and instead, just a high to low knob. Let’s just say we had the tops of brownies with vanilla ice-cream for dessert 🙂 At first I looked at it as a fail because the brownies didn’t turn out perfectly but a friend reminded me that I ended up with edible chocolate so it was a “win.” I am slowly leaving my perfectionism behind (very slowly, with God’s help).
Andrea (one our students here working with Ekisa Ministries) usually spends Saturday nights with us. Sundays we all go to church at The Amazima School and then back up to our house for grilled cheese, tomato and bacon sandwiches. YUM! We love having a piece of home here (selfishly) but most importantly she is having an amazing experience.
The best part of our new house is our dog (Muggle). She is a dog who has lived on the school property for the past 16 months. She wasn’t doing too well physically, so we had the dog whisperer of Jinja (our friend Kendra) take her to the vet where she had surgery to be spayed and infection was removed from body. I’m happy to report she is happy, healthy and has taken over our house. Kelly has spoiled her rotten. No surprise there 🙂 She walks/runs around campus like she owns the place. She expects everyone to greet her and pet her and goes from home-to-home for visits. The staff kids on campus just love her and drop by our house for play dates all the time. Hopefully the students arriving will feel the same way.
What has been in the planning stages for a few years now is becoming a reality on Monday (2/13). The first set of students for The Amazima School are arriving!!! What an exciting day it will be! We hear there are students counting down the hours to be here and I know the staff is just as eager to welcome them. We have all been busy bee’s getting everything in order for their arrival. Kelly and I have been spent lots of days going into town to buy last minute supplies. If only there was a WalMart or Target to run into. Nope…it usually takes going to several different stores to find the 5 items on your list. But I’m sure this just goes along with what God has been teaching me about PATIENCE. Everything here just takes longer, takes more steps than you think it should and in a lot of cases has to be redone (because someone didn’t do it right the 1st time). People are on Africa time (which means showing up anywhere from 30 minutes -4 hours late). I’ve learned it’s not about how many items I cross off my list in a day as long as I’m putting in my best effort and stopping to have community with the people in my daily path. This is a daily struggle for me as I’m a list girl 🙂
Tomorrow will be a busy day as students along with their parent(s)/guardian(s) arrive, get checked-in, learn the school grounds and how the school operates. Meeting family mentors, family mentor partners, teachers and staff will be happening throughout the day as well. The parent(s)/guardian(s) will depart after lunch and the students will begin to get settled in their home away from home. There will be a big welcome dinner with a special menu in the evening. Classes will begin the following day. READY! SET! GO!
We definitely feel all of the love, support and prayers from home! Thank you all for helping make tomorrow and the future of The Amazima School a reality. Continue to pray from the hearts of our students, the family mentors & family mentor partners starting to do life with the students tomorrow, the teachers educating the students in a way that is new to them and for all of us that will be a part of these precious young lives.