We are excited about progress at the Jesus Cares Restoration School in Nabwendo, Uganda. Currently enrollment in the primary and nursery school is about 450, with 15 teachers, two cooks, and a teacher's aide or two. Our current project is construction of a dormitory for the P.7 students so they can receive extra tutoring for the the rigorous testing at the end of the third term. How they do on the test determines their promotion to Senior (high) school.
Our 2020 project is to build a senior school, one grade at a time. Last week students participated in - and did very well - in a sports day with six other local schools, Attached is a photo from a prior year's sports day on the grounds. JCRS is solely supported by the Jesus Cares Restoration Ministries in Uganda, 911 Restoration Albuquerque, and a few private donors. But what a great cause! #LoveOurStudents #HelpOneAnother
Three year old Sammy went to church today. Mom Emily took him to the children's church, but Sammy wasn't good. Teacher was talking but Sammy was going around the room telling each child, "I love you." The teacher told him he had to sit down but Sammy argued. "I have to tell them that I love them."
Emily came home and told Grandma Therese that Sammy wasn't minding Teacher. Grandma explained to Sammy that Teacher is going to talk about Jesus. She said, "All the children come to church so they can hear about Jesus. There's lots of stories about Jesus. Jesus walked on water. Can you walk on water? We can't walk on water, but Jesus did. All the children need to hear about Jesus. Next time at church, you need to listen to the teacher and when she says to sit down, you say, 'yes, ma'am' and sit down. So, what are you going to do the next time you go to church?"
Sammy's reply, "I am going to walk on water."
Grandma started over. "Yes, but the teacher is telling everyone about Jesus. You need to listen to Teacher and do what she says. When she says to sit down, then you need to sit down. So, what are you going to do next time at church?"
Sammy: "I am going to walk on water with Jesus."
So, Sammy goes to church and brings with him all that is needed. Love and faith, straight from Jesus, out of the mouth of a child.
This is Delaney, Keelan, Gabriella, and Aj, from the Kallestewa dancers from the Zuni Pueblo. They performed tonight at Courthouse Square in Gallup, New Mexico. They were great! The lead dancer, Aj did an excellent job portraying the movement and feeling of the deer during the final Deer Dance. They were all very good in every dance and came across as experienced performers. They really kept the rhythm and the movement going perfectly.
The fun thing is that my cat Happiness (Happy) had her kittens while they were dancing!! So, I decided to name the kittens after the four of them. The firstborn is Aj, next is Gabriella, then Keelan, and finally Delaney. Happy had a fifth kitten later, which I named Hozho, which is Navajo for balance.
I saw angels dancing with them at one point, and my friend Felicia saw them too. What a joyous occasion! I think they might be performing at the Sandia Resort and Casino from August 10-12th. If they do, maybe I can attend and see if any of them want to keep any of the kittens.
Happy looks tired. Therese said she kept coming to her for comfort before the kittens were born. I can't wait to see them. We are staying in Gallup until Friday.
Update on the kittens: I kept the kittens until they were twelve weeks old and then I gave four of them away. Two of the kittens were calico and I gave them away together and two were black tortoiseshell and I gave them away together. I kept Gabriella (Gabby) who is a medium haired (length) tabby cat. She is very affectionate and a great companion.
Refugees in Space is a silly, short story that I wrote for a Speculative Fiction course I took through Southwest Writers. It is loosely based on a writing prompt and an idea I had about the stars realigning themselves. At first, I had the escaping star somewhat like a teenage girl, but I changed her gender because of another story in which stars are male and planets are their female counterparts. For instance, Sol has nine wives. Humankind dwells on Gaia, who has been a bit depressed lately.
I just posted a short story about My Dog Buster. What a lovely little fellow he was, though he could be a terror. Here's the text to the story I wrote about him in 2014, as well as a link:
Many dogs love to fight you for the right to strut through a door first or lead the walk. These dogs consider themselves to be the number one dog and they are not shy to let you know. I have a big gruff dog like this. Pull your arm off, that one will. But he is not the top dog he thinks he is because I have another dog; a little, tiny, scruffy, barky, bantam pooch who cares nada for being numero uno. Oh no. This guy is the number two dog and proud of it.
Buster never challenges me because I am the big pack leader and he knows it. It is all the other mutts around that he keeps in line and makes their lives miserable. There is not a bone in the house that isn’t his. Every stuffed animal is his express favorite and he wants it and pursues it and fights for it the second any other dog glances at the grubby thing. However, all of that is nothing compared to his rigidly enforced rule that no other dog is to be petted ever, and that he alone is to sit on my lap or near my knee or by my couch. Snuffling amiably in the general vicinity of my area only invites the invasion of his hairy carcass in-between them and the boss with hurled commentary on their unworthiness.
If I happen to catch one of the unfortunate others in a misdeed and call them on it, the tiny terror backs me immediately with stentorian officiousness and bustling nosiness. Buster, I prophetically named him when I got him from a shelter who had found him wandering the streets of Albuquerque as a six month old pup, and a bustling, bossy Buster he is. How dejected and downcast he looked then and I tenderly, innocently, took him home and under my wing to nurse him back to good cheer.
You never saw a more adorable dog. Butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth as he cuddled up to me. He had separation issues and trotting after me was his chief delight. That was then. He still has issues. I can’t step a foot outside my door without him threatening a catatonic fit if he isn’t brought along. Yet somehow, that endearing, friendly little cherub mutated from a benign Tonto into Poe’s vengeful Montresor when it comes to other canines and me. Scruffy, rough, curly white hair with ears that shine pink when the light is glowing through them and darling little black nose topped by sparkling, black, lively eyes make up my intrepid Buster.
The only one who doesn’t tremble at his ferocious antics is the big orange, long-haired tom cat who has moved into my house and refuses to move out. Once I gave the admittedly gorgeous feline to someone in Albuquerque, a good thirty-five miles from my home in Moriarty. It wasn’t but a few days later that I came home to find him back in my yard under a van, waiting for me to open the door so I could get him some damn dinner before he took an evening nap. His long solitary journey home up and over the Sandia Mountains didn’t seem to faze him so it isn’t surprising that he doesn’t let a senseless, fuzzy, self-important terrier mix tell him what to do.
But Buster doesn’t seem to mind. It is only the household’s other dogs that he threatens and bullies and challenges as he drives them ruthlessly into the lower ranks. I am number one and he is number two - the primero pet and my doggy best friend, if he does say so himself.
I went to the Black Panther movie yesterday. The special effects were a lot of fun and the storyline moved along quickly. There were some good scenes as they attempted to confront various lines of thought concerning racism, projecting the idea, Marvel Comics style, that a superhero would be called on to lead the world in a better way.
In one scene in the film, there are villagers who have been captured by guerillas. It is a tense scene until they are rescued. The whole concept of racism, coupled with the habitat and the terror, reminded me of my friend Jean who hid for 100 days in Rwanda during the days of the 1994 genocide. One Rwandan tribe terrorized the other and Jean survived by hiding in the rain forest and drinking water from the leaves. I cannot imagine the terror and horror he must have suffered. Nowadays, he is providing free education for children in Uganda.
I enjoyed the film. There was a spirited debate about two reasonable approaches to overturning the past and trying to create a new reality for those who have been oppressed, but unfortunately, at the end, there are many questions that remain. How do you resolve what has been done and move forward with justice - and love, restoration, and kindness for all - when the world is so fallen? Evil abounds. I think it will take more than a superhero to set things right. It will take God himself, and maybe only eternity brings true peace.
Still, it was a thoughtful film and one can only appreciate the effort made to be fair-minded about the best way to go forward. I recommend #BlackPanther.
‘Pay it forward’ stories that will inspire you: http://a.msn.com/01/en-us/AAwsaPX?ocid=st
I love the 378 in a row that occurred over coffee. Now, that is good old American pay-it-forward - our favorite hot drink, one at a time. The string actually stretched from early morning to dinner time. I wonder what I can do to #payitforward today?
Since this is finals weekend at school (I graduate with a BA in English tomorrow!), I probably won't leave the house, but will stay hunched over my computer, typing furiously - or furiously typing, at least. Therefore, I think I will add the price of a bag of coffee to this week's support for the JCRS school in Uganda. I think educational pay it forward is the very best kind, next to spiritual pay it forward, which has even longer-lasting benefits.
I took a Jung personality test for school today and it says I am an INTJ (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judgment) Apparently, only 2% of the population are INTJ, and only 0.8% of women. Soooo, I DO march to the beat of a different drummer, which everyone who knows me knows.
I took the Jung Personality along with a series of other tests in an exercise to see what job they would think most suitable for me. The two highest recommendations they diagnosed for my personality and skill set were sociologist and historian, both of which require a good deal of research. It sounds interesting to me.
Try it yourself. From the website: How do you deal with people, process information and make decisions? What is your Jung personality type? Take the free Jung personality test, with the option to upgrade to an extended report afterwards. Test yourself at https://www.123test.com/jung-personality-test/
The new roof on the Jesus Cares Restoration School is going up today! This new building has three classrooms, an office, and a storeroom. Next on the agenda - doors and windows. Ugandans call this progressing "inch by inch." Americans call it "little by little."
This is the third set of buildings in the school, which is located in Nabwendo, Uganda. It is totally free! We opened it in 2015 because the widows and poor villagers had no way to send their children to school. Our three year anniversary is May 2018. We now have 447 students, and will soon have 15 teachers, one assistant teacher, one cook and one assistant cook. We provide one meal a day for the children, and two for the teachers.
Yikes! I need to sell some stories because I love this school!
Regardless of whether the doors and windows are up yet, we will start classes in the new rooms when the next term starts on May 28th. The three classrooms are for the youngest "nursery" students. Check out their Facebook page: Jesus Cares Restoration School
I am just sitting here working on my website and look who popped up outside the window. Dana and I raked this little bird sanctuary yesterday, filled the birdbath with water, and added seed to this one. And here's the payoff. This is why I like to write in my room. It's sad that I own cats...