While Salima was home from college for Christmas she made liquid soap. It costs so much less than the powdered soap I buy in the supermarkets. I know there are a lot of things I could get for so much less but don’t know where to get it, can’t get it for the Ugandan price because the color of my skin. Two and a half years now and we still find out things that we could get here and say “Why did we not know that?”! Salima left me with the supplies for the soap and we just finished off what she made. It so happens the young man that taught her was around today and Jennifer brought him here so that he could teach them how to make it. But he told them you have to buy the ingredients in Kampala. I know we can get them here, Salima will just have to tell her mother where! This young man goes around teaching liquid and bar soap making, candle making, mosquito repellent and some kind of jelly. I know how to make most of these things, just can’t find the ingredients. Part of the problem in us finding things is what we call them is not what they call them! So when we ask about something, they may actually have it here but they have no idea what we are talking about! He is teaching two days at a school in town, he just travels around and charges groups of people to teach and for the materials. The ingredients from them cost the same as what Salima bought. It costs under $10 to make thirty liters. Then people sell a small water bottle worth for about twenty five cents so they can profit around $15 on each batch. That’s pretty good for someone out here in the village. They all just laughed when I told them that and said that was a lot of money. But I doubt any of them will pursue it. Very hard to understand why they wouldn’t. They had a lot of fun, Sharifu was embarrassed to stir it because he was afraid someone might think he was cooking porridge for everyone. (Not man’s work!)
We’ve had bad news this week, really praying for a solution. Our kids we feed and send to school got their exam results this week. The new year will start the first week of February, I don’t know why they have to wait until two weeks before the new school year to see if they passed. The two in second and third grade always have excellent grades. Fiona was in her last year of primary school, she would go on to secondary (which I guess is junior and senior high for us). She has always tried hard but struggled to get good grades. Not failing grades but we have asked if there was anything we could do to help her. She has always gone during holidays, stayed late and really given her all to it. We have been praying about where she will go to school for secondary. It would probably be best for her to board in town for her physical safety but haven’t been sure about her leaving all the younger ones on their own. Naomi is around twelve now so she can take care of all. And one more younger one is going to school this year. But, Fiona failed the exam. And the teachers told her that her only two options in life are to become a seamstress or child care. How sad is that, to be told it’s pointless to repeat school and you won’t amount to anything more that two options? We talked to the head master today and he said most times they don’t have children repeat grades but they don’t feel it will do Fiona any good to repeat. We wonder if it is because for the first five years she went to the inferior government school and didn’t get a good foundation or help soon enough. Now, if she stays home she will feel shame. She is at high risk at being taken advantage of and to be married off – she is fourteen or fifteen now, marrying age. We are going tomorrow to talk to a good Ugandan friend to see what we can do and then our plan is to take her to a female Ugandan friend to try and have a conversation with her away from the village. That is the biggest struggle for us, to get the whole story, to get true feelings about something, to get the true interpretation. I’m asking prayer for this situation and for Fiona. She is a beautiful shy girl that has no mother and really no one but us to help her with life. And doesn’t speak English! I hate that, because she isn’t going to talk openly through anyone here interpreting. It is extremely hard to have heart to heart talks with someone through an interpreter, especially one that is local because gossip is rampant here and no one wants to be talked about. Being motherless is hard enough for her. I believe with all my heart God put us in Fiona and her siblings’ lives for a reason so He has a plan for her. Our God is a miracle worker. He can part waters, move mountains, bring the dead back to life, save, bless and care for. He can do anything, everything, things beyond our comprehension.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11