The past several weeks, life has been on hold. When a family need comes up, it takes precedence. Everything gets rearranged and rescheduled, for all of us. Our family stopped to walk Betty to heaven’s door. I can’t think of a better reason to push pause, however, moving forward, I seem sluggish and not quite ready to move on, but I also don’t want to get stuck. Grief is such an erratic emotional process. One thing I know is that it requires I give myself grace and time. I have gone back to work after the week of waiting for the end to come, but we still have much to do to handle the estate, including packing and going through her things. That brings its own unpredictable reactions, a shirt can bring tears, a bathing suit cover up can bring laughter. Although I know this place is perfectly normal, it leaves me raw and tired. It would be nice if the world stopped turning when a family member dies, but it doesn’t. Getting back into a routine is part of the healing process.
For me, that means planning my next trip to Uganda in May. One of the last lucid conversations I had with Betty was about my Uganda trip last January. She asked me so many questions and responded clearly with her ideas of the situation at Hope Primary School. It is a project that captured her attention because it is empowering children and teachers. Education for those who are disadvantaged was her passion. I told her of the refugees forming their own school. I told her of children who flee in the night and have experienced trauma that we cannot even comprehend. I told her of girls who cannot go to school during their menstruation periods because there are no feminine products. Her words to me were, “Maybe with the current climate of empowering women, you can get something done and help them.” It shows her clarity even a few weeks before her death. As I am planning for my May trip, I am holding those words close. They are fueling me to continue on moving forward to step where I feel called to go.
In January when I went, I had the opportunity to meet the teachers of Hope Primary School and do some training. I have been invited back in May to train more refugee teachers at a teacher’s conference. It is a collaborative effort with the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Education ministry of the Church of Uganda. I have a teacher friend in California who is going to go with me as well. I am so excited about this opportunity to encourage teachers who are teaching in some of the most difficult circumstances, without pay, because they see the children as their hope for peace in the future of their country. These men and women are amazing and they do what they do with very little resources. Our goal, along with giving them teaching strategies, is to bring resources with us. It is difficult to teach children to read without any books. When there are over a hundred students in a classroom with no walls or floors, it is hard to manage behavior without some sort of system. Paper and pencils are needed. You name anything a teacher uses in a classroom, and it is a need. The lack of resources for these teachers is beyond my grasp. My heart is both heavy and inspired by them. I desire to take them something useful that can benefit the children.
For this conference, I am asking for your help in prayers and donations. I realize not everyone can go, but you can still help if this project is tugging at your heart. I am raising funds for teaching resources and some travel expenses. Our entire team donates our services so that the money we raise can go directly to the teachers and students. If I raise over the amount posted I will get to take more supplies. Any amount helps and any prayers are welcomed. I will keep you updated as things progress!!
Here is the link to donate. https://give.adventures.org/SouthSudaneseTeacherConference