‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ – Matthew 19:14
Two Fridays ago, our intern group here at Engineering Ministries International (EMI) Uganda had the pleasure of spending the day at Doors Ministries in the Kampala area, volunteering as teaching assistants/tutors for the classes at their mission school. Doors is a truly wonderful ministry doing fantastic, life-giving work. They are a Christian organization that takes in street children, going out into the city to find them and bring them to a new home where they are cared for, fed, loved, and educated. Most of the children are boys, but they’ve just started taking in girls as well.
There are many street children living in Kampala, many of them having lost their parents to HIV/Aids. Girls are harder to find because they are more vulnerable on the streets, so they often strive to keep hidden. I was so glad to hear that they are actively making an effort to seek out these girls, who are in such need of love, care, and education.
Each one of us was placed in different classrooms to help out with tutoring the students in various subject areas and grade levels. I volunteered to help with the youngest class, under the instruction of Teacher Rose. Anyone who knows me knows that I love children, especially little ones, so it was really a delight to be able to spend a whole day with these four. There are three boys and one girl in the class. Two of the boys are twins, and the two of them in addition to the girl, before coming to Doors, didn’t know either English or Luganda (the local language). However, after just over a month at school, they can already understand much of the English spoken to them, know their colours, and are getting a good grasp on the alphabet. It’s really quite incredible. I was amazed to find out how short a time they had been there, given all they’ve already learned. Such a beautiful testimony of the power of Jesus working in and through this ministry.
We spent the day learning about colours and the English alphabet (lower and upper-case letters, phonetic sounds, etc.). I had them running around the room finding all the objects or pictures that had the colour yellow or red or blue in them. Then later, we did different activities involving the letters of the alphabet, using flash cards (that brought back some distant memories from my own childhood), and using a big poster of animals hanging on the wall to pick out the animals which started with letters myself, or Teacher Rose called out. I think one of the most amusing parts of the day was trying to explain what a porcupine was and teach the students how to pronounce it. It had us all laughing.
We all shared a typical Ugandan school meal of rice and beans for lunch. It was nice to have a chance to chat with the other teachers in the staff room while we ate, learning about where they are from and how they ended up at Doors. We even had a chance to play a game of frisbee with all the staff just before we left for the day, while the students were finishing up their last lesson with a guest instructor. It got a bit crazy when we had three or four frisbees going with about 10 people in the small concrete courtyard between all the classrooms, but there was much laughter and fun to be had that afternoon.
It was lucky that we were there on a Friday because Fridays are drama/music days at the school, when a local teacher comes in to run drama or music workshops at the end of the day. I absolutely loved sitting in on the music lesson as all the classes got together (ranging in age from around 5 up to 18) and were led through ear training excercises and taught a worship song. The best part was when the drums came out and it turned into a full-on jam session, with some great beats and each child’s voice raised together in praise and worship! So much fun to witness! Some students got to try out solos, and there was a great deal of excitement when some treats were brought out for those brave enough to try out a solo in front of the class. I’ll have to post some of the videos I took later. The whole experience made me miss my many years of music classes, and all my teachers and classmates that really became more like a family (sending love to my CCH vocal class!). Don, you would’ve loved it! Music really does possess a kind of magic. It has power to reach out and impact people in a way I’ve never witnessed or experienced with anything else. There was so much tangible joy in the room during this time, and such big smiles on everyone’s faces, even the students I’d barely seen crack a smile the rest of the day. When I think about it, it’s no wonder few things in life bring me greater joy than singing. What a gift music is!
The whole day was so full of blessings. I hope the kids had as much fun as we all did! I’m very much looking forward to going back to Doors to volunteer again. If anyone is interested in learning more about this ministry, you can click here and be redirected to their brand new website. They also have a Facebook page, which can be accessed through their website. Thanks so much to everyone at Doors for the wonderful work you are doing to spread the love of God to vulnerable street children and for such a wonderful service day!