It's official: we've signed the lease, paid the rent, hired a caretaker and have started raising support for our new resource centre in Kansanga. On Monday, I gave my parents a tour of the place, which still needs some work, but which we hope will have children busily reading and playing in, in no time at all! We just need to have a few electrical outlets installed, some plumbing repaired, and bookshelves bought and stocked (the Niteo Ntinda centre has offered to share books with us), and we'll be ready to go. I plan to do some of our homeschooling at the centre from here on out so that I will be available to tutor local children who are now on school break until the end of January. From the report cards I've seen, it looks like some tutoring is required. As far as I could decipher after reviewing some grades, the Ugandan system (at least at the primary level) allows a student to earn failing marks in core subjects like math and science but still to progress to the next grade as long as the other subjects like penmanship and religious studies are high enough. From what I could tell, all subjects were given equal weight. One boy we know, had 47% in math, 51% in science and 53% in social studies but still managed to place 12th of 28 in his class and was passed, thanks to a 98% percent in penmanship and 95% in religion. This seems to me to be a problem!
Academic issues aside, we've been in regular discussions with our umbrella organization, Niteo, and the details regarding our partnership are slowly falling into place. We are now able to accept tax-receiptable donations for our centre either online on the Niteo website at www.niteoafrica.org or by cheque, payable to Niteo and mailed to: Karine Veldhoen at 365 McCarren Ave., Kelowna, BC V1W 4W3. There is no place to designate to our centre when using PayPal online, so if you would like to use this option, please be sure to send me an email (email@example.com) to confirm your contribution directly with me.
I am very excited to be partnering with Niteo. We met with the founder, Karine, this summer when she was here in Uganda with a team. She has a vibrant personality and is enthusiastic about providing opportunities for impoverished children. I particularly like the name she has chosen for the organization. Niteo is a Latin word meaning to shine, glitter, be bright, glow; to bloom, thrive. Not only is it our vision for the children of Uganda, but it also reminds me of the verse in Phillipians 2:15 which says..."Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life."