As frequently happens in Africa, and other parts of the world, timelines and deadlines are for a variety of reasons not able to be met. Such has been the case with the new Science and Learning Center. A number of issues with our contractor resulted in a law suit and the need to change construction companies. This resulted in a list of inevitable delays. Fortunately, Msgr. Kauta has been able to right the ship and we are now scheduled to complete the Science and Learning Center in September 2012. This will give us an opportunity to have a dedication for this new building during our annual trip which this year will begin in November.
School Information 2011
A lot has happened at John Paul Secondary School in just four short years. The enrollment has gone from the initial 14 students to an staggering 154 students! This is an incredible blessing but at the same time it has increased the needs. Because the students must walk such a long distance to and from school each day, we determined that a girl’s dormitory was necessary. So, construction began on the dorm in 2008 and officially opened in 2009.
Due to the increased enrollment and because we provide three meals a day to the boarding students and lunch to all the others, we found it necessary to construct a new kitchen. This project began in 2010 and was completed at the start of 2011.
In November, 2010, we traveled to the school with five friends who were eager to see what we have been talking about these past 5 years. They were not disappointed! They were given a warm Ugandan greeting and were able to spend three days “getting to know” the people. We were pleasantly surprised to see three solar panels had been donated to the school by Tim Blackwell of OneWorld Sustainable Inc. of Lexington, Georgia. Wow! That’s major progress since there is still no electricity in Chelekura. In addition a very generous friend donated a computer/printer to the school and even though there isn’t internet service, the students and staff are able to use it for some homework assignments and classroom work.
An added big event that took place while we visited in November was a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Science Center and Library. This is a very much needed addition to the school as the Ugandan government is putting great stress on the study of the sciences. And because we want John Paul Secondary School to be the BEST school in the area we are dedicated to making sure it has a premier Science Center.
June of 2011, found us in Chelekura again. This time we were fortunate to have our daughter, Kathleen, travel with us, as well as two other friends. As part of this trip, we brought with us 1000 “Little Dresses for Africa”, which we distributed to all the girls at John Paul School as well as to all the little girls in the nearby Primary school! It was truly amazing to see their faces. Most of them didn’t understand why we were giving them “new” dresses. It wasn’t until we took their photo in the new dress and showed it to them, did they break out into a big smile! Truly a heartwarming moment!
We were hoping that the new Science Center & Library would be ready for dedication but unfortunately, it wasn’t. One thing we have learned over the past years is that the Ugandan motto, “Hurry Slowly” covers a multitude of issues! So even though we were disappointed, we weren’t really surprised. We are assured that it will be completed by late fall and totally ready in January 2012….just in time for the beginning of the new school year
As you can see, we have been very busy. And as Msgr. Kauta always tells us, “Their needs are many”! The current girl’s dorm is filled to capacity with 64 girls and is in need of security fencing. And because of the increased enrollment, we will make construction of a new dormitory a top priority for 2012.
And so it continues. We’re on a journey we never planned but it has been one of our most rewarding trips. We want to thank everyone who has helped us over the years with the gifts of time, talent and treasures. We couldn’t have done it without your support. God bless you always!
In closing I’d like to use a favorite quote of ours that sums up this journey that we have been traveling with the students at John Paul School…..it goes like this……
We’re not what we could be,
We’re not what we should be,
We’re not what we will be,
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord,
We’re not what we use to be.
The future for John Paul Secondary School and the children of Chelekura is very bright indeed!