CHRISTMAS WITH MPI WOMEN

Christmas with MPI women

(Interview with Rose Busingye (Director MPI) with Lumanyika Bright)

Before this New Year of 2016, I heard about the Christmas Celebration that the women of MPI had at Luigi Giussani High school. What roused in me was the desire to know really what had happened on that day; I couldn’t hide from that fact that had happened, it was such a disturbance that left me yearning to go deeper.  It was for me too that moment and what dominated was nothing but the desire to relive those memories with someone who had witnessed that feast. So I asked Rose (MPI Director) to share with me about the Christmas with the women.

What was for you Christmas with the women?

When we talk about the women, people begin to look at what they do, their mistakes, we really don’t look where they are looking and we don’t see what they have found that is beyond the mistakes they do.

The preparation was on that morning of 24th, on 25th it was ready. If you ask our people who are working they say, “me I don’t have this, I didn’t budget” but imagine that evening the women budgeted, they contributed money, went for shopping and on Christmas; it was ready. They bought two goats and one pig then each one was bringing potatoes, chicken, rice and others. You would see that, the most important thing was not the preparation but something that was happening; that something that was connected with their lives. Maybe with friends we bargain, we buy this, we don’t buy this, and you would really understand that it’s something beyond friendship.  People who tell their children and husbands that “you remain home, I am going to celebrate with my friends” this is a wife telling a husband.

You can see that when one discovers a value; everything rotates there, everything serves what the person is, the value the person is, the problem is when we start the other way round, we start with money and forget ourselves. We think that the most important thing is money more than our lives and then we hang up there and we are not moved at all. Christmas is just a day like any other day, but for them what I saw that day was something beyond life. We stayed there up to 7 pm in the evening, and we ate while dancing because it became like Christmas is celebrating ourselves and what came is for me, is me. It’s not to have a new dress but to have myself. It’s to celebrate life that is what I witnessed.

I kept gazing at her while she was telling me all this, I felt as if nothing mattered any more than the desire to stay and look where those women were looking and to have what they found.

Written by

Lumanyika Jude Bright

2/02/2016

AN INTERVIEW OF THE STUDENTS ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE IN THE HOLIDAYS IN RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR LIFE IN SCHOOL.

My name is Gashumba Emmanuel. I am a Social Worker of Meeting Point International, following up children in the Distance Support Program Office (DSP) both at home and school to understand their social wellbeing, behavior and characteristics such that they are helped to discover their greatest need, desires and value. I attended my high school from Luigi Giussani High School, completed senior six and right now am studying at Makerere Institute for Social Development doing a course in Social Working and Social Administration and at the same time working at Meeting Point International as a Social Worker.

Meeting Point International (M.P.I) supports over 1700 children in their education and most of the children under support belong to the women of M.P.I. When the women of M.P.I, through their encounter with Aunt Rose discovered their true value, they wished that their children also discover the same value that they had discovered, everything they touched acquired a meaning and become present for them and so they wanted their children to also feel this total Joy and happiness that prevailed within their hearts. What struck me most and keeps on moving me every day is the great charism that the women exhibited through the selling of various paper beads made from recycled papers and provision of strenuous manual labor in the setting up of  a beautiful school for their children called Luigi High School and the Primary school called Luigi Giussani Pre-Primary school. Most of their children study in this two schools and they wish that their children can discover who they are, the love that their mothers have for them and God their creator through a beauty that is in front of them. Some other children, study in various schools surrounding Kampala and among these  schools we have; St. Jude nursery and Primary schools, Mivule schools, Nagalama secondary school, St. Kizito schools and many other schools to mention but a few.

Children have been in schools, a few months back and they were in their third term of the year, meaning a term that is supposed to determine their promotion to the next class; some have been candidates like the senior fours, senior six and primary seven. They have all been working very hard, reading day and night, consulting teachers in order to acquire good results that would enable them to move to the next level of education. At the end of the day, those who worked hard acquired good results and were promoted to next classes. For the candidate classes, they are still waiting for their National Exams to be released by the Uganda National Examination Board (U.N.E.B).

Most of our children are now in their holidays at home helping their parents in various domestic works like mopping the houses, rolling of paper beads, working in the stone quarry with their parents, selling charcoal with them, cleaningutensils and many other types of work.

Most of the homes of these children are located in the suburbs of Kampala City especially in Naguru and Kireka. Since this is, the longest holiday within the whole year, I Gashumba Emmanuel a social worker of Meeting Point International decided to carry out an interview on one of the students of Luigi Giussani High School called Namaganda Brenda who shared with me her experience at school and home. She said that “when the term is ending and am going for holidays I feel very happy, good and I feel like jumping to the sky because in the holidays, I become stress free from the books and exams. It’s the time I interact with all my family members with ample time and no interference at all. However with time, I become bored and start missing my school again. When she told me this, I posed a question to her [why do you get bored at home and after you start missing your school again? She replied to me saying that it’s because most of my friends are found at school than at home. At school, am more free and I express my self freely because am with my age mates and she added on saying I also miss my teachers at school, the good food, the good structures of my school and various school activities that take place at school like the Music, dance and drama, sports and many other school activities that keep me busy, happy and active. 

I replied to her, wow it’s a beautiful experience because, it reminds me of my school days in high school where by, when the time for holidays was approaching, I used to fill very excited because the pressure for reading books would reduce and that’s the time I would Participate more in various co-curricular activities like playing basket ball and football. I would also get excited to have much time with my family members but after a few weeks at home I would also again desire to go back at school to study and interact with my colleagues. Basing on this interview, I came up with a conclusion that most of the students when they are getting their holidays, they are very excited but when they reach at their homes, they get fade up of the life at home and they again desire to go back to their schools and even when they are at school, they feel like getting holidays. This is really so striking, hahaha oh oh oh…….

 

Namaganda Brenda

2/01/2016

THE PIONEERS OF LUIGI GIUSSANI PRE-PRIMARY AND PRIMARY SCHOOL (L.G.P.P.S)

IMG_6356In this world everyone’s wish is to always be the first or on top of the others.This refers to the children who sat their Primary Leaving Examinations from Luigi Giussani Pre-Primary and Primary school. It was challenging at the start to convince the children to join the school but when their time came to leave the school, most of them felt like not leaving the school, yet they had no choice but to give room for the incoming candidates.

If anyone like me ( Adong Evelyn a social worker at Meeting Point International) had a chance to talk to these children, or see whatever they did, one could really feel that they were really going to miss the school because of the love, care and protection that they were always given at school.I had a chance to enter their classrooms and sawthe indicators and reminders written by them that Never forget the Pioneers of L.G.P.P.S I was really moved personally because in my years of Primary seven, we left no reminders as we were leaving the school butthis love that the children showed for their school was different. The pioneers never wanted to be forgotten due to the fact they are the first primary seven (candidates) to sit national examinations in this school.I had a chance to talk to one of the pupil (Carrado Corradini Joshua), he first responded with a smile and his face portrayed happiness. To me, his smile and face made me realize that there is somethingspecial about the school. He then continued telling me that.

I love the school and missed it because of the teachers like Mr. JohnBosco (head teacher) and Miss Monica who always spent their evening hours playing football, netball and also the gym activities like jumping, skipping, and others with us honestly, it is rare to find teachers in a school playing with the children. This is because most schools in Uganda are mainly academic based and they don’t care about the social wellbeing of the children. In fact the teachers from other schools don’t build relationships with their children.

Corrado continued telling me that “At times we are called to the staff room and given snacks,by the teachers”. “Mr. John Bosco was always after me to ensure that I eat food.Whenever I am not feeling happy teacher Bena (class teacher) was always concerned to know why am not happy but not only to me but also other pupils in school”. When I had these words, I remembered my school days where by the teachers never cared about the children and no teacher could take an initiative to know whether the children have eaten food or not. I must confess that L.G.P.P.S is really a school among schools that I have seen. The last thing that amazed me from Corrado was what he said when I asked him what he would tell other people about the school.” L.G.P.P.S is a good school. I will tell them to join the school because even the support staff try to ensure that children use the toilets properly and they don’t destroy things in the school compoundtherefore in L.G.P.P.S they not only care about the academic progress of the children but also their social wellbeing in the society.

 

Complied by

Adong Evelyn 

2/3/2016

ITALIAN SPONSORS VISIT TO MEETING POINT INTERNATIONAL AND LUIGI GIUSSANI SCHOOLS.

During Christmas holidays, a group of Italian sponsors came to Kampala to visit Meeting Point International and Luigi Giussani schools.  One of them is called Lorenzo; he started sponsoring Luigi Giussani schools before he even saw where his effort was going, all this was because of the friendship with Rose Busingye (the Director of MPI). He met her in Italy and he decided to involve himself with what this woman has built in Kampala. Reaching Kampala and realizing the concrete impact of his contribution surprised him. He was happy and he could not imagine the beauty of the experience he was supporting and all he could say was “I am happy to sponsor people who are happy”. Lorenzo was amazed in front of the way people live here: the community of Kireka and Naguru is composed of women who have incredible stories: “I am free” they sing. Free form all of the reductions that affect people’s life: they are focused, centered (as the Pope says) on the Christian encounter they made through Rose. It releases every woman from all the limitation they have: money, success, wellbeing are meaningless if a person does not get the value of life. Instead of taking these women live giving everything to the others and are happy and free. It really provokes all of them and me: I was accompanying them and I have never felt so involved like that moment because those women were changing the conception I have of happiness and well being. Lorenzo said “Supporting a school or an NGO does not help you to understand the fact that behind these institutions there are people and there is an experience that can change the world”. Why a group of women can change the world? Because the happiness they show among the difficulties of their life is the sign of the dearest thing they have: they meet Christ every day in the things they do: working, feeding children, crushing stones, making beads. Looking at them I realized that when the Pope says “When Jesus become part of our lives, we cannot longer remain imprisoned in our past. Instead we begin to look at the present with a different kind of hope”.

These women share an experience that make them friends, and this friendship is generating development. Lorenzo and his family were welcomed by the women of MPI in Kireka: they say it was like being welcomed by a family. Families of people who are free to give you everything, because they already have what really matters: the value of life and the value of the Christian experience. After dancing and singing with Rose plus the women, the visitors went for lunch with Rose.

This was an occasion to ask Rose about the story of Meeting Point International and to go in deep in the story of the women that generate this beauty. Rose told the stories of Teddy, Florence, Tina, Priscilla and many others so we could know in detail the past and the present of these people. Many stories were incredible for us because we realize that it does not matter what kind of problems or difficulties a person has to face: if someone in aware of his/her value can discover that this is greater than the issue or the limitations. This way every challenge can be the occasion to discover again that each person is loved and every instant is meaningful. Lorenzo repeated “I am surprised in front of the happiness of these people. They have lost many things, but they have what really matters: they know why they wake up in the morning”.

Rose told the visitors the episode of the Christmas Party at Meeting Point International. On the 25th the women celebrated the catholic feast in the field in front of Luigi Giussani High School. Teddy, one of them, said “We did not organize anything. On the 24th we realized that we want to spend Christmas together and even if we were many, all the hearts were turn to the same thing so we moved on as we were one; on the 25th everything was ready and beautiful because everyone brought the best she has. I brought the console and I was the DJ. We danced all day and at the end of the day I was not tired”.

Later visitors went to Welcoming House and the Children welcomed them: all of them were astonished because they noticed that nothing was missing in the life of those children. They are loved and accompanied in their growth: Apofia, Rose and the “aunties” take care of them. You can see that even if they are so young they are aware of the fact that someone loves them now and will never stop. This awareness can really make the difference. Children are hopeful and happy for what they receive every day and not sad for what they do not have. What Rose and Apofia give them is something that can change people’s lives. Apparently these children have nothing because they share everything and no one possess “things” but looking at them especially at the way they live, everyone can see that they have the love of someone who will never abandon them and it gives strength, hope and curiosity in meeting the others. The awareness of not to be alone in front of life’s challenges is what can change someone’s life. Here in MPI is evident: people do not need their problems to be solved, because these problems are challenges. People need to know they are loved and not alone.

The thing that surprised Lorenzo most was the happiness of the people he met: contributing to the development must be a contribution to the growth of people. The happiness Lorenzo noticed is the sign of the awareness that people have about the value of life. They are happy because they know that everything they do has a value. When someone understands that he or she has a value everything he or she does get meaningful because every experience becomes the occasion to discover the meaning of reality and of life. I work here since July, and accompanying the sponsors has been a great occasion for me to understand again what I can discover in my everyday life here.

 

Francesca Peverelli