Steinbach Christian School Visits Sister School in Uganda
On March 9th, three students, a parent and myself (Scott Wiebe, Vice-Principal) from Steinbach Christian School (SCS) traveled to Uganda. One of the primary purposes was to visit the Faith Academy (FA), our sister school, in Kitgum. SCS has partnered with FA for the past three years through CCI’s KIDZ4KIDZ program. Through KIDZ4KIDZ, our students and the FA students have been learning about each other and the others’ country. The trip to Uganda was a first for our school and it was a fantastic success. While with FA, we also wanted to provide the SCS students and myself with a varied experience in terms of what life and schooling looks like in Uganda.
During our time in Uganda we visited 3 schools: Oasis of Hope Christian School, Nsyambia Primary School, and Faith Academy Nursery and Primary School. Each was similar in a lot of ways but also very different as well. Each school was in a different economic area within Uganda. From an urban slum to a very rural setting. At each school we saw a different form of poverty but we came away impressed with what each school is accomplishing despite the challenges faced. Each school is committed to a Bible-based, Christian education and at each school we saw and heard the same message from administration and teachers: each child is important and loved, each child has their own set of gifts, each child had the potential to become whatever they want to be. One comment that a teacher made at one of the schools and that stood out to me was that it was one of their goals to help each student find their own unique God given gift and to develop that in them.
Visiting Faith Academy was a great experience for all of us. For the students it was the first time they had seen, with their own eyes, the school that we are partnered with. It was eye opening for them as they got to see what school looks like in Northern Uganda. For myself having been there one year earlier it was amazing to see how the school has changed in just one year. Last year they were meeting in their bamboo temporary structure with the students sitting in plastic lawn chairs doing their work on their laps. This year they were in the beautiful new classrooms that we had the privilege of dedicating last year. Classrooms were complete with desks and chairs and classroom decorations that don’t have to be remade after every rain. I also noticed that the teachers seemed to be making an effort to be more relational with the students as they taught. There seemed to be more back and forth, question and response, between the teachers and the students.
The trip was also eye opening in many ways. We learned to be more patient as we waited for our drivers or were stuck in traffic. We learned about the importance of being with people. In Uganda you don’t just walk by someone and say “how are you?” and keep walking. You take the time to talk and you do not end the conversation because you have to somewhere else. We learned that many of the things we think are necessities are in fact luxury and that we could survive off much less. We learned how to be more relaxed. Time is relative in Uganda and people and relationships are of much more value than being on-time for something.
I would like to thank Rod Forrest and the team at ChildCare INTERNATIONAL for helping with the travel arrangements and traveling with us on this trip. Their experience and knowledge were great assets as we traveled. We are already looking forward to the next time we will make the trip to Uganda.