Today about 130 happy children, in their smart blue uniforms, performed songs and speeches for their parents. These kids range in age from about 3 to 8 years old, three "levels" of preschool/kindergarten and two classes of primary school. Scores of beaming parents watched from their benches, decked out in their best. Recently completed classrooms surrounded the courtyard where we sat. The "graduates" wore diminutive caps and gowns. Teachers bustled here and there, handing out colorful "files" where the students' work had been collected, or escorting classes on and off the stage area. And the quiet, unassuming presence behind it all was Melen, a maternal force of competence and care, a woman who has courageously continued in life after losing everything. I was so happy to celebrate with her today. We pray that the children who receive a firm foundation at Alpha will be our CSB entering class in the next decade!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
A Proverbs 31 Woman
Today marked the end-of-year celebration for Alpha Nursery and Primary School, the project Melen Musoki, wife of the late Dr. Jonah Kule, started in Nyahuka. Let me say that we've paid a lot of school fees and made a lot of loans for projects and businesses in the last 16 years, but none have had this kind of return. When Jonah was in medical school, Melen approached me to see if we would be willing to help her become certified as a nursery school teacher, since she was in Kampala with him. It seemed like a great combination, doctor and teacher, and a relatively simple upgrade to her high school diploma. She finished the course and got experience working in the city before he graduated, and when the family moved back to Nyahuka she asked for one more thing: a very modest start-up fund to establish her school. Scott's parents invested, mostly to get the uniforms, signs, and minimal equipment to convince parents to enroll the first class. Since then she's taken the ball and run with it, through the death of her husband, through delivering their last child as a single mom, through being stolen from by extended family members, through tedious bureaucratic hoops, through sending three daughters to boarding school, through untold difficulties.