A Director's Blog – Uganda

African Children’s Choir Primary School

There are roughly 25 staff members at the African Children’s Choir Primary School, including teachers, dorm parents, a nurse, cooks, and guards/gardeners. Our visit was a good time to truly appreciate the incredible job they all do, evident in the Primary 7 exam results each year, and the general atmosphere at the school.

The students have a feeling of seriousness toward their studies, a joyfulness, and an appreciation for the opportunity to be in such a school. It was great to see the students in class, walking quietly from class to class, enjoying their lunch, playing soccer and generally moving through their usual school day.

The campus is beautiful. The grass is growing, flowers are blooming, buildings have been painted inside and out, and there is a lovely mural on the front wall of the classroom block.

The last Sunday that Sally and I were in Uganda, we joined the 140 students for their Sunday morning worship service. The P3 class led the singing – altogether it was six African Children’s Choirs lifting their voices in worship, clapping and singing with all their hearts.

Choir Alumni

That same Sunday afternoon Sally and I visited the homes of some of our grown-up Choir alumni. Our first stop was the home of Jessica and Christopher Katumba. Jessica is one of the oldest of our first Choir young people. She has been married to Christopher, a former chaperone from ACC4 for approximately 10 years. In between working full time, raising a family of four boys, and being active in church, Jessica has pursued her Master’s Degree in Counselling.

What a pleasure it was to visit the home they have built over the years – literally brick by brick – with their four darling boys.

After we left the Katumbas, we drove a short way to Barnett and Diana Twesigonmwe’s new house. Just across the road from them is Barbara Kayaga’s home, where she lives with her two adopted sons.

A Director's Blog – South Sudan

Suzanne Nelson and Mary Lomole at the well in the Sudan

Suzanne Nelson and Mary Lomole at the well built in the South Sudan

Sally France, East Africa Director and I travelled from Uganda to South Sudan and we are the first within Music for Life to have official Republic of South Sudan visa stickers in our passports!

We were delighted to be met at the airport by Manase Lomole Waya, the Deputy Governor and Minister of Education, Science and Technology (Formerly Minister of Agriculture), of Central Equatoria State, one of the 10 states of South Sudan.

Manase is very quick to say that he had been given this position because of the collaboration of Friends in the West/Music for Life and HASS (Humanitarian Assistance for Southern Sudan) and all that was accomplished in Liwolo during the civil war years.

It is unheard of to establish 15 primary schools, two secondary schools, a Teachers College, Skills Training School and medical clinic, to see a community grow from a few thousand to nearly 50,000 during a civil war!

Since Sally and I were last in Sudan two critically needed wells have been dug and are providing much needed clean water for the community.

Sally France, Mary Lomole, Manase Lomole and Suzanne Nelson at Bright Star Secondary School

Sally France, Mary Lomole, Manase Lomole and Suzanne Nelson at Bright Star Secondary School

On Wednesday Sally and I visited Bright Star Secondary School. We entered a few of the classes while they were in session, and met the Headmaster and teaching staff. Two of the teachers were former students from the schools we had helped establish. It was very special to meet them.

Former students from the schools we helped build are the very ones teaching throughout the Republic of South Sudan!

We weren’t able to visit Kajo Keji Teachers Training College but we did learn that the school has started bringing in unqualified teachers (who are currently teaching in primary schools) for “in service” training during the holidays.