Blog

A Journal Of God's Grace in Uganda

Child Sponsor's Uganda Reflections III

7.8.16 + Judi Cranmer + Tags: CoG Staff, Medical Fund, Schooling, Thoughts On Uganda

One of our child sponsors, Judi Cranmer, spent time in Uganda this past June. Below is the third in a series of some of her reflections on our programs and our work:

One of our child sponsors, Judi Cranmer, spent time in Uganda this past June. Below is the third in a series of some of her reflections on our programs and our work:

 As I was walking around the driveway yesterday morning, all of a sudden someone was headed my way to give me a big hug. It was such a wonderful surprise to look down and see Fatuma, the twelve-year-old girl I have sponsored since she was six. She quickly took my grandson out of my arms and proceeded to play with him for quite a while- including trying to teach him to walk. It was most endearing.

Fatuma and her grandmother had come to the office to take Fatuma to the orthodontist. The report was good, Fatuma had good hygiene this week and her gums were better than previously. The missionary dentist will see her once a week for six to eight weeks while her gums heal and she takes care of her bottom set of braces that CoG had put on a few months ago. If everything goes well, she will have braces put on her top teeth in a couple of months. This little girl has needed braces for a long time, but living in a mud hut with a grandmother who struggles to feed her, they were never even an option. Thankfully, once again, CoG cares so well for their children that they were able to find a way for Fatuma to get the orthodontic care she requires. 

Yesterday, I was disturbed with the hunger here in Jinja. Both Fatuma and her grandmother were hungry- really hungry. Additionally, a young mom who came to the office was obviously going without food and trying to eat enough to keep her breast-milk up. It’s a hard reality for many people here, and one with which I wrestle.

Last Saturday the CoG medical clinic was closed.  A sponsored student had an asthma attack and the albuterol he had in the village was not enough to take care of his breathing issue. His mother called his mentor and she contacted the CoG driver and the nurse. She also came in on her day off and went with the driver to pick them up. The wonderful nurse, Carol, met them here at the CoG clinic and gave him the treatment he needed. He was able to be hooked up to an IV here at the office. When finished, Carol and the mentor accompanied the little boy and his mom back to the village. They will be back on Monday for follow-up. I am amazed at the CoG staff and their willingness to jump at a critical situation on a Saturday. They truly do care for their students, and it is a blessing to watch.


Send This Page To A Friend Permalink

Child Sponsor's Uganda Reflections II

6.17.16 + Judi Cranmer + Tags: Mentorship, Schooling, Sponsorship, Volunteers

One of our child sponsors, Judi Cranmer, has been in Jinja the past three weeks. Below is the second in a series of some of her reflections on our programs and our work:
One of our child sponsors, Judi Cranmer, has been in Jinja the past three weeks. Below is the second in a series of some of her reflections on our programs and our work:

Last night I was here when Silas left for Entebbe to start an internship with a best hotel in the city. I enjoyed watching him cook for the secondary students. Silas was a sponsored child who has now graduated from hospitality school as the last leg of his educational journey. With his strength of character, wonderful skills, and education, Silas has a bright future ahead. 

This morning I had the privilege of meeting a young girl, Joan, who is newly sponsored by my former Bible Study. Sometimes a child sponsor comes across difficulties and is unable to continue his or her sponsorship. Children of Grace works hard to find new sponsor to continue the support. This was the case with this young elementary student. My Bible Study group is her second sponsor. Due to health complications, Joan is also receiving special health care and counseling. She would like to become a teacher and her mom confirmed that Joan can often be found surrounded by a group of children. As a means to pay the school fees of her other children, Joan’s mother grows maize and beans and hopes to add tomatoes so she can pay school fees and buy food for her other children. It was a joy to meat Joan, and once again, I was overwhelmed by her mother’s gratitude.

Saturday we went to Kampala to spend time with some friends of my daughter and son-in-law who live there. The biggest challenge of the day was the car ride to and from Kampala. Woah! Imagine being on a two lane road with taxis passing on both sides of the car (turning the two lanes into six) and motorcycles going in and out between your car and the car in front of you. Add to that people darting across the street with the absence of crosswalks. Driving to Kampala insane! The 44 mile drive takes about three hours. 

I had the privilege of visiting two villages with Andrew, a CoG child mentor.  My cousin’s sponsored child’s mother welcomed us into her home before we drove to the school her daughter attends. The school, a large primary and secondary school, has over 1,000 children. Priscilla is in P5. Once again both the mother and the girl expressed gratefulness for their sponsorship. It’s overwhelming to see how much child sponsorship means to a family. Priscilla’s mother pays their rent and buys food for her family by making porridge and taking it to the market early to sell for breakfast, but the child sponsorship ensures her daughter a quality education.
 
We then went to the village of Mbikko.  The road to the village and the school is so bumpy and rough I don't know how my daughter was able to drive it.  It was also up a hill.  We went to the Bridge school which is using technology to standardize the education, train teachers and allow for all of the administration to be done by one headmaster.  Students work on a tablet.  The children were sharply dressed in Bridge uniforms, matching socks and the boys had on ties.  The buildings were painted the same color as the uniforms - bright green.  The children were playing on the playground and very happy.  One hundred and thirty students attend this school located on the hillside.  There are seven Bridge International Schools in the Jinja area, and CoG has 175 of their students in these outstanding primary schools. The Bridge schools show incredible academic gains and they are hoping to have 10,000,000 students  by 2025 in a dozen countries.  Some of the sponsors are Gates and Zuckerburg.  All students' families are making less than $2/day

Andrew, the student I sponsor is fortunate to attend  the Bridge Academy in his community.  He is in P2 and his favorite subject is math. He is doing well in school and wants to be an engineer. Andrew hopped in the van and took us to his house. Out in front of his house is a fruit stand and the house next door has a pen of goats. We met Andrew's mother and she brought a bench for us to sit under a tree.  His dad walked back from the fruit stand  to great us, making this the first child I have met with the father and mother both still living. She did not speak any English but Mentor Andrew translated. Families here are interested in how many children I have, where I live, and work and of course love to meet my daughter.
 
We had a nice visit before taking Andrew back to school. Once again, the privledge is all mine to be able to support these students through school. It is a high honor. 


Send This Page To A Friend Permalink

Child Sponsor's Uganda Reflections I

6.10.16 + Judi Cranmer

One of our child sponsors, Judi Cranmer, has been in Jinja the past three weeks. Below is the first in a series of some of her reflections on our programs and our work: I arrived in Jinja just in time to attend Children of Graceís closing program of their Holiday Bible School (HBS). CoG holds a HBS for their primary four and five students over the term break.
One of our child sponsors, Judi Cranmer, has been in Jinja the past three weeks. Below is the first in a series of some of her reflections on our programs and our work:

I arrived in Jinja just in time to attend Children of Grace’s closing program of their Holiday Bible School (HBS). CoG holds a HBS for their primary four and five students over the term break. The mentors conduct such a high quality program for sponsored children! This year the theme was Jonah and the Whale. While at the final program in a small village called Maga Maga, I was given the opportunity to observe one of the scholar students teach a volunteer math class with some the of students. This scholar student’s mentor did an evaluation of his math lesson, but woah, was I impressed! Scholar students are mentored to be able to apply to US colleges and universities through a MasterCard grant. There are currently eight CoG students in the US on scholarship. These kids have come from the poorest and most remote villages, and are now receiving a first class college education. I am once again amazed by CoG’s outstanding job of educating their students and providing opportunities for higher education. We also visited the scholar student’s home and met his guardian, grandmother, and cousins. This is my second time in Uganda and each time I am in the village seeing the work of Children of Grace, I feel so honored. Their work is incredible. The final program for HBS was attended by the students’ guardians and I was asked to greet them. Each village has their own language so it was good to be with CoG staff who could interpret my encouragement to the students and parents.

Each day I am here I am able to be a part of what is going on at Children of Grace. This past Wednesday I was able to join the CoG staff for lunch at their two-day retreat. It was a long bumpy ride through several villages to arrive at the Haven Resort, but the drive was worth it. The Haven is located overlooking the beautiful Nile River. To learn more about their retreat, you can read last week’s blog here: http://www.childrenofgrace.com/index.cfm/page/staff-retreat/

When the Children of Grace staff returned from the retreat, one of the mentors arranged for me to meet one of the girls I have sponsored for the past six years. What a wonderful treat to meet Fatuma and her grandmother! She greeted me with a warm hug. It is a joy to see a girl thriving as she receives food, school and health care. I was looking back at the picture I first received of her in 2010. She was a quiet, shy six-year-old. She is now a tall, beautiful, educated, confident twelve-year-old. Children of Grace is in the process of getting her braces for her teeth. She already has them on the bottom of her teeth and yesterday was in for a consultation with the orthodontist for the top half. This will make such a difference for her. My joy is full. I was humbled by the gratitude of her grandmother. Sponsorship does make a difference and changes lives. 

I was able to go with Paul, the CoG Grounds Manager, to dump the rubbish. We had to drive into the city because the dumpsters were full close to the house. On our way back we picked up milk at a dairy. To my amazement, behind a very nice home was a small dairy. They milk the cows and pasteurize the milk and the locals come and pick it up. They also have fresh, homemade ice cream. Of course, we bought some for dessert.

My time in Jinja is an absolute treat. Children of Grace is continuing to transform lives each and every day, and to have a front row view of the works is awe-inspiring.


Send This Page To A Friend Permalink

Staff Retreat

6.2.16 + Risa Harrison

At the beautiful Haven Resort in Jinja, overlooking the picturesque Nile River, our CoG child mentors, nurse, receptionist, program coordinator, and director have convened for a two-day teambuilding retreat. The retreat began yesterday morning with a lovely breakfast before diving into the intensive two-day content.

At the beautiful Haven Resort in Jinja, overlooking the picturesque Nile River, our CoG child mentors, nurse, receptionist, program coordinator, and director have convened for a two-day teambuilding retreat.  

The retreat began yesterday morning with a lovely breakfast before diving into the intensive two-day content. The content started with a review of the three pillars of CoG sponsorship: education, healthcare, and empowerment. We discussed how we have incorporated these into our program in the past and brainstormed new ways to further integrate these pillars in the year to come. 

After discussing the pillars, we dove into a conversation about child mentorship. CoG child mentorship is the cornerstone of our work, as each child has a mentor who monitors each student's health, grades, home life, and overall wellbeing. These mentors serve as role models for our kids, encouraging them to become all that they are created to be.

Lunch was another wonderful time together as a group, and when that was over we began a time of brainstorming strengths and weaknesses of different programs. These sessions happened in small groups followed by sharing with the entire team what was discussed. 

 Last night was a time for relaxing and teambuilding, and then this morning it was right back to work. We have spent today planning and calendaring for this upcoming term, as well as furthering our understanding of how to use tablets on the field with a technical workshop.

We are thankful for these two days together. 

Pictures form the retreat can be found on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/childrenofgrace


1 Comment
Send This Page To A Friend Permalink

Holiday Bible School & Career Guidance Preparations

5.14.16 + Sifa + Tags: Holiday Programs

Next week through the end of May, we are hosting two annual programs which aim to nurture and inspire our students. These two programs, Holiday Bible School (HBS), and Career Guidance, will run concurrently. HBS is for primary (elementary) aged students, and Career Guidance is for the older students. Our topic for HBS this year is the story of Jonah from the Bible. Through readings, storytelling, arts, crafts, songs, and a variety of other fun activities, we will explore the themes of forgiveness, obedience, and Godís love. By the end of the week we hope that our children have a deeper understanding of how much God loves them and are inspired to obey His commandments. Career Guidance will be focusing on personal skills that are useful in all areas of life and especially at work. Key topics will include self-confidence, identifying skills and interested, and goal-setting. As with HBS, we will do this through presentations, skits, and other fun activities that we hope will engage and teach the students. We will also have guest speakers who are experts in particular areas. We ask for your prayers as activities begin first thing on Monday morning. Please pray that the events run smoothly and successfully, for good weather, and guidance from God in all that we do.
Next week through the end of May, we are hosting two annual programs which aim to nurture and inspire our students.

These two programs, Holiday Bible School (HBS), and Career Guidance, will run concurrently. HBS is for primary (elementary) aged students, and Career Guidance is for the older students. 

Our topic for HBS this year is the story of Jonah from the Bible. Through readings, storytelling, arts, crafts, songs, and a variety of other fun activities, we will explore the themes of forgiveness, obedience, and God’s love. 

By the end of the week we hope that our children have a deeper understanding of how much God loves them and are inspired to obey His commandments.

Career Guidance will be focusing on personal skills that are useful in all areas of life and especially at work. Key topics will include self-confidence, identifying skills and interested, and goal-setting.

As with HBS, we will do this through presentations, skits, and other fun activities that we hope will engage and teach the students. We will also have guest speakers who are experts in particular areas.

We ask for your prayers as activities begin first thing on Monday morning. Please pray that the events run smoothly and successfully, for good weather, and guidance from God in all that we do.


Leave A Comment!
Send This Page To A Friend Permalink