Today was very emotional.
Right before lunch, I passed out the AFRIpads kits to the girls in Primary 6 & 7, many of whom don’t even need them yet. I explained that they were made by women in Uganda, and that I did not pay for them; my friends did. Each statement was followed by a round of applause. One student had several great questions, including if she could share with her mother. When I opened the kit and showed the girls how to use them, they were amazed. The look on their faces was sheer joy. But when I explained that they were washable and reusable, they cheered. Then a student came to thank me. I’m surprised I did not cry, but I gave her a big hug. The most touching moment was after we left the classroom, and the girls began to shout and cheer while tossing the packages in the air. Something so simple made them so happy.
Today I also received a few personal letters from students, thanking me for everything I’ve done for them and their school. I cried so much. I still can’t read them without crying. These children are so amazing, so thankful, and so genuine. And happy.
I taught my first and only lesson this week to Primary 3. I chose them because of their class motto- “ In God we trust.” So I shared our money with them. I passed out coins to almost everyone and tried to explain how much each was worth in Uganda Shillings. I also showed them each bill from $1-$20. They gathered around me as I explained the building and who was on each bill; one student asked if Lincoln was the same as on the penny in his hand. They’re so smart! And each time I showed and read the motto, they would say it with me. They thought that was the best part.
Today the Primary School was able to put on their show for me. There were many traditional songs and dances. Some students had solos. Owiny Ronnie sang another song. He is so very talented. I pretty much cried throughout the entire hour long performance. I have never felt so honored before. You can watch the videos of their performances on my videos page.
Afterwards I spent time at the secondary school. The Senior 1 class made jewelry for me to take home to my students and friends. I have two bags filled with probably 100 different pieces: earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and chokers. They measured my wrist, and personally made me 4 different bracelets.
It was funny to watch them act just like my students at home. You had students who were listening and following directions, and of course, students who were not. There was one boy wandering from group to group trying to figure out what to do. Other boys were teasing one another by hiding things. Some students worked alone; others worked in groups. Some students took charge, while others arrived over how to make a specific piece of jewelry. There was a lot of bickering over supplies, particularly scissors since there was only one pair. But everyone had a goal, and they were all trying to achieve that. The best part was to hear them say that this piece was for their particular friend from Harby. They were so excited to make things for others.
The last thing for the day was the toothbrushes and AFRIpads were given out to the secondary students. That was a bit hectic. The students were snatching them from me rather forcefully, but I know they didn’t mean any harm. They were just eager to get one. Unfortunately we ran out. I think we may have lost a bag or two somewhere on our flights over. Not all of the girls received AFRIpads either. But I gave what I had and explained to the girls how they worked. They were very excited when I said that they were reusable for up to 12 months.
Today was a very long day, but it has been the most rewarding.