Tuesday, October 14, 2008
by Lisa & Brook
This morning, our group woke early for breakfast and met together for family time at 8am. The morning was beautiful, so, we were able to sit outside together and hear from Tom about how True Vine came to be. We were also fortunate enough to hear from Pastor Wilbur about his amazing life and how he came to be involved with True Vine. After family time, our group headed to True Vine for a day that we’re sure was life altering for each and every member of our team.
At True Vine, we were introduced to the Headmaster, who was kind enough to give us a tour of the campus. It was awe inspiring to see the amazing developments at the campus that have happened over the last two years as a result of the love and generosity of the Hope4kids community. This is truly a nurturing, safe, beautiful place that will no doubt offer opportunity and hope to thousands of children in the years to come.
Following our tour, we were blessed with the opportunity to observe classes being taught. We were all moved by the love, dedication and patience shown by teachers faced with classrooms with as many as 60 students in them, 1 textbook for every five and next to no additional resources aside from a chalkboard. Children were seen happily engaged, singing with their instructors, up and out of their seats dancing on occasion, and, very obviously, learning. The teachers were so welcoming and the children in each classroom rose to meet us with a special greeting each time we entered the room. Nate planned a special activity with a few of the classes. The Rancho Solano students had prepared letters and pictures for our African friends. The children enjoyed writing to their new friends in the U.S. They also included pictures so each student will be able to see what their new friend looks like.
It was around lunch time when our teachers saw some of the preschool/Kindergarten students out enjoying the beautiful day on the playground during their recess time. We decided to take advantage of the moment and join them in their fun! We giggled and laughed as we pushed them on the swings, hung from the monkey bars or used all of our energy to push them on the merry-go-round. After spending time playing with them a few gathered around us to take pictures or admire their smiles at the pictures we took of them. This was a great opportunity to just “be” with the children!
Our next adventure was to view the rest of the campus. We were able to get a hands-on look at the new addition to hospital facility and two new classrooms in addition to the orphan administrative center and dormitories. After our tour we continued on to visit the church where they hold their elaborate celebrations. This is a beautiful church which everyone in the community is proud of, and rightly so!
After our tour, we had a quick lunch break and then returned to the campus to visit with the teachers and talk about education at True Vine. This was a rewarding conversation for the teachers from both the US and Uganda!
We broke from “adult time” to once again enjoy the kids and a wonderful program that they had prepared for us which included beautiful singing and dancing, a presentation from their scout troop and a play which demonstrated the effective leadership of Kendra, a Peace Corps volunteer, in education the children about HIV/AIDS.
We had an unfortunate quick ending to the program with another major thunderstorm which sent us all running for shelter. Huddled up in the Headmasters office we began wrapping up our day with a presentation of a US Boy Scout Troop manual by Nate to the school scout leader and a presentation of handmade ABC & 123 books to the Headmaster by Jessica Kammeyer.
Our great day at True Vine ended with the wonderful opportunity for some of the child sponsors on our team to meet and visit with their sponsored child. This provided the rare chance for the sponsored students and adults to share their life experiences with one another.
We could not have asked for a better life experience. What a wonderful day!
Brook & Lisa