The boys are getting ready to start school next week. David, one of the oldest boys at the house, is starting primary 7 this year. This is probably the most important grade for kids in Uganda because their performance determines whether they will be able to continue on to secondary school. They have so much to learn to get ready for the national exam called the PLE. So with this in mind, we are letting David move to the boarding section at school. This will allow him to study from morning to night and then some. Hopefully this will also help him to catch up more and really only worry about his studies. We were talking on the phone yesterday and he was telling me how excited he was for school.
Tom, who was in the village with his uncle, just completed Primary 7. He passed the test and is going to be able to start secondary school. Did I mention that he skipped 3 grades? He is a really smart kid and loves school. I was afraid that he wouldn't pass or perform poorly because he skipped so many grades but he did well. He has been staying at the house for the holiday but will return to the village for secondary school. He will continue to live with his uncle.
Jacob, Davis, Kansiime and Vincent all finished their first term in vocational training. They are studying to become mechanics. It was a short program for only 3 months. It was more of an introductory course. We had been trying to get them to do an apprenticeship with a garage but it was so expensive and we weren't really sure that they would like it. Davis, being super ambitious, actually found the school and took Steven there to see it. When they began, the headmistress was sure she wasn't going to like them and that they weren't going to perform well or take anything seriously. By the end, they had charmed her and she was really impressed with them. She went on and on to Steven about how good they were and how they took everything so seriously.
Ronald is doing really well these days. He doesn't get in trouble as much anymore and is setting better examples for the other boys. He was training at a local gym for boxing. It was a reward for taking school seriously and being a good example to the other boys. It kept his spirit up and kept him busy. He really enjoyed it and will continue if he chooses. He performed well last year in primary 4 and wanted to skip primary 5. We are letting him so he will be in primary 6 this year.
Unfortunately, Ibra still is not doing well in school so we pulled him from the boarding section and are making him study from home. We feel that he is just playing around too much at school and they are not hard enough on him. So if he wants to return to boarding school, he has to earn the privilege again.
The boys all were able to return to their villages again. Some have stayed gone most of the school holiday and are really excited for that. It means those relationships are healing and rebuilding. Some of the boys returned for the first time and those visits went well.
A friend is in Uganda right now and is staying at the house with the boys. So expect a bunch of new photos coming soon. (Check out and like us on Facebook. The pictures will probably mostly be on there.) She was so kind to skype me yesterday and I got to see the boys for the first time in 10 months. HOLY GUACAMOLE! They are not the little boys I left behind. Not that they were in fact little, but in my mind they were. They have grown so much. It is unbelievable. Now I don't really have a leg to stand on when they want to argue with me over them being men. It seems that they have become young men since I have been gone.
On a sadder note, we thought Joseph was really making progress. He was getting in less trouble, listening, being respectful. He even asked if he could return to school (He refused to go the last 2 terms). So we were really excited. But...it seems our excitement was premature. He has taken a turn for the worse and is spiraling out of control again. He sneaks out of the house and goes back to the slum and stays gone for the night. He has decided again that he doesn't want to be in school. And probably if he is spending so much time in the slum, it would be safe to assume that he is using drugs again. We aren't ready to give up on him but it is really difficult and super frustrating to try and help when he doesn't let us. I know there are a million things going on with him. I know he has experienced unimaginable things. But we don't know what to do anymore. Prayers for all of us would be much appreciated.
- For Joseph, that his heart would heal and settle, that he would want to be in school, that he would want to stay away from the slum and all of the negative stuff that goes on there, that he would just finally let us in
- For all of the boys to take school seriously, especially David-he is going to have a lot more freedom, and Ibra so he can catch up and really perform to his potential
- that all of the boys would continue to rebuild the relationships with their families
- for Steven and the other staff to have wisdom as to how to best deal with the boys and for patience and renewal of heart and spirit when they are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed
- to find sponsors for the boys that don't have any and for myself so I can get back to Uganda quickly
Thank you for your prayers and support! They mean the world to us!