You know that feeling where you read a text message, but then forget to respond for a while, and then it gets weird? That is the feeling I have been experiencing for weeks every time I thought about my blog. Just like the delayed text message, I am going to deal with the awkwardness, hope I still have some readers left, and forge ahead. I am sorry it has been so long since I have updated you on the things happening with our family and Walk In here in Uganda. We have had some significant highs and lows over the past few months. I am going to walk you through the highlights.
Walk In Love Uganda
Schools/daycares are still completely shut down here in Uganda. The earliest they are expected to open again is January 2021. We have been pretty disappointed about the derailment of our original plan. The need for low cost, high quality daycare and preschool is beyond measure in our community. We know that this is only a temporary hold and not a full stop to our goals. In the meantime we have been staying very busy doing other things.
As I have said before, the school shut down was actually an opportunity in disguise to do more outreach to families. To date we have provided the startup capital for twelve new small businesses. We are working with the families who were already enrolled in our school before covid struck. All of these families were identified as very high need by our social work team. The person receiving the loan has to be approved for the program, submit their business proposal, do all of the research into supply and demand, commit to weekly training sessions, and a compulsory savings plan. So far we have had varied levels of success with all of the people enrolled. Some are doing fantastic, some are doing less so and are more in need of the weekly assistance. So far all are on the road to making a more secure life for their family.
In addition to the business loans we are doing weekly tutoring sessions with 30 kids. The kids meet with our teacher on Friday mornings, go over their weekly packets, get instructions, and then get a new packet. Teacher Vincent reports that the kids are making steady progress. Lastly we are doing random food distributions. The randomness of the food distribution is to keep people from expecting it and becoming dependent on the distribution. Our community was hit so hard by the lockdown. Everyone lost their source of daily income and many people were evicted from their homes. We do not want anyone going hungry, but we also do not want to cultivate dependency (not to mention it isn’t possible to give to everyone who would come), so we do random food distributions which will only be a short term outreach.
The best thing that is happening at Walk In Love Uganda is that we are becoming a known presence in our community. We are a place where refugees can come and be treated with dignity and respect. They can be heard and supported and prayed for, even if we cannot meet their needs at that time. We meet with at least 10 people per week who are looking for some kind of assistance. It is hard to hear the stories and not be able help everyone, but we are happy to be doing what we can with what we have.
The girls and I started back to full-time online school on August 11. When we thought online school was only a temporary thing, it was easier to try to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now that we expect to be online for so many months, it is harder to keep the kids motivated. Camille moved up to Senior school this year and her classes are much more time and work intensive. We have had several tearful moments as she has adjusted to the increased expectations. Tabitha is going to learning pods twice per week and loves that time with friends. We have two of Camille’s friends over to do school together on Tuesdays, which is by far her favorite day. In spite of everything, I am so thankful that the girls are strengthening relationships. I am super grateful for the teachers who are pouring so much into my girls lives. Today I walked by and Camille was recording a video of her singing How Great Is Our God for her music class. That alone makes all the many, many, many hours I am spending preparing, giving, and grading my own classes worth it. I do really love teaching science. I love teaching middle schoolers. Those kids are great. They make me laugh every day and challenge me with their questions and desire for knowledge.
Since last I wrote, we have celebrated three significant milestones. First Matt and I celebrated our 15 year wedding anniversary on June 25th. What a ride this has been. Next, we celebrated our one year anniversary of living in Uganda. What a ride this has been.
Finally we celebrated Matt’s 40th birthday. Matt is really fine about 40. He still looks 30. I am usually pretty awful with birthdays, but this year I knocked it out of the park. I bought him more weights for his lifting. He did a personal record in the squat the day before his birthday. On the day of his birthday I got him donuts, a rare delicacy in Africa, then a sports massage, and finally dinner at a fancy restaurant that serves exotic meats. He got the sample platter and had cuts of Impala, Waterbuck, Springbok, and Wildebeest. In case you are wondering, the Impala was the best. I also surprised him with a video of birthday wishes made by so many of YOU! Thank you to everyone who sent videos and wishes of all kinds. We all felt the love. It has been a hard year of missing family and friends. It was so nice for both of us to see your faces and hear your voices.
I hope you were blessed by my update. I am blessed by your reading and responding to my words. I am toying with the idea of moving away from the blog, so I would love to hear from you if you still read this. I am also trying to post more about our life on Instagram, so if you want to see, please follow me there at @kellycaffeyerdman. You are loved and missed. We are so very thankful to everyone who faithfully supports or work and life. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!