Pay Attention to the Instant, To the Now-Aloyo Gladys

When Gladys came back to Uganda, I caught up with her and she told me her experience being in Rimini, Italy for the first time, for the event “The forces that move history are the same that make man happy”  by Okello Marvin

From the time that I got to understand the movement and the charism of Fr. Giussani through the friends that had encountered him, the one and undying desire of my heart was to reach his grave. I didn’t know when, but certainly I knew I would reach him one day and pour out my heart to him at the foot of his grave.

Hardly had I known that Christ had already prepared everything for me. He looked at my heart and was granting me my desire. Hardly had I known that I was going to go to Italy this year in August. Everything happened when I least expected. Being invited to Rimini Fiera was a sign to me that despite my nothingness. Christ is always choosing and preferring me. Even though I am not worthy of anything as big as this, he has, He has made me worthy by making me now and loving me the way I am. It is something that makes me marvel up to now, at the mysteriousness of God.

Before going to Rimini (Italy), my prayer was that Christ helps me to understand why he has chosen me for the days ahead, and also help me not to lose myself in fear or uncertainty (since I was going completely to a new environment and for the first time) and that he stays with me. Things were a bit difficult at the airports and at certain moments I was so scared. In those moments of getting scared, I could hear the voice of Aunt Rose (Rose Busingye), she had told me once, that I should always pay attention to what is happening at the instant, because the instant you miss everything.

For me this voice was like a waking call to me. And immediately I remembered this I could wake up and look at things around me. And all the things before me communicated one thing to me, “I am with you” Everything that was happening to me was because somebody was making me them and making them for me. So everything I looked at gave me Christ back and this was my certainty because I know that Christ is with me, he is communicating himself to me, He wants me to understand him more.

On arrival to Italy, Teddy and I were taken to the grave of Fr. Giussani. We spent close to 15 minutes and I knelt before Fr. Giussani, I was very emotional that I even failed to say a word. I looked deep into the eyes his eyes, in his portrait. He was looking at me. To me, it seemed as if he was calling me to follow him. I could see and understand whom I am. Because his face looked like that of a beggar, one in need of something. This is what I am, a beggar, who without an “Other” cannot live. I need a “You” in order to live every instant of my life. Fr. Giussani wrote that the real protagonist of history is the beggar, man’s heart that begs for Christ and Christ’s heart that begs for man.

And Fr. Giussani, in his eyes was telling me that I need to be a beggar in order to understand the days that I was to spend at Rimini and thereafter. So I started the days of Rimini with Fr. Giussani’s face in my eyes and heart and Christ with me, so I managed to live those days with a begging and curiosity. How I wish I had the words to describe every moment I was there. It was so beautiful. A beauty, that even now nothing can erase it away.

I met so many people at the tent of AVSI (where I was staying during the day). I met friends that I had been with in Uganda. I also made new friends. Their faces made me feel one with them and at home. They were so free to me and open with me. Through them I realized that I need this simplicity of a child in order to understand everything. Because a child has a simple heart, open, yet curious to know and understand. This is also what I need in order to face myself and everything.

For example, a certain lady came to the tent of AVSI and she had seen me in a video. She immediately began telling me about herself and how the movement helped her to be who she is now. This openness is only possible when one has the simplicity of a child.

I attended the encounter of Fr. Carron on Job. And from Professor Marro’s words and also from the experience of a sick doctor, I think I understand more about human suffering. Fr. Carron explained ways in which man suffers. He said that sometimes man suffers because of his freedom, and that he does something that hurts himself. Then he also said that sometimes man suffers because of things beyond his control, for example natural calamities or even Job who suffers innocently. Fr. Carron was asking, “But why does God keep quiet in front of human suffering? Why doesn’t he intervene?” He answered himself by saying that, if God intervenes, or takes away the suffering of man, He would have taken away the freedom of man. God wants man to face everything freely. Even so no answer is enough to take away human problem. “But does this mean that God has left us?” Says Fr. Carron, “in front of suffering, he offers to us his powerful presence. And this is only possible if we are in a relationship with Him.

Like the “why” of Job was because he was familiar with God. Fr. Carron also said that God didn’t answer the cries of Job (He instead asked Job questions) but he gave his son Jesus Christ as the best answer to the sufferings of man. Only the awareness of his presence enables man to face human problem differently. A poet said that (Imitating Job), “You have given me all possible reasons to leave You but I won’t, I am only asking why?”

All these words were for me. And even as am back to Uganda, I have everything I need to live those days even here. I don’t want to forget anything. Those days are helping me to live now even more certain and in a meaningful way.

I thank God for this friendship, this belonging that he has given me and He is using it to bring me closer to Him. It is here that I want to stay all the days of my life. I won’t let go because he doesn’t let go.

 

 

CHILD PROTECTION TRAINING HELD AT MEETING POINT INTERNATIONAL.

LGIHE-Logo-08MPI had the child protection training with all the staff in order to develop its own Child Protection Policy. Before the training, the Director of MPI Rose Busingye Shared MPI’s approach to child protection policy.

“We can learn rules but we know very well that behind these rules there is somebody, a Name, a human person. If behind Child Protection there is a child, then you find that it is interesting otherwise it becomes usual skims or things to do.  Like in schools these days, children study for passing exams, not for development. If things have meaning, then I have to put or do anything in order to learn all the ways to do them. It’s not the government to tell me to do things but why should I do it.”

Rose Busingye.

The training was conducted by Mauro Giacomazzi of LUIGI GIUSSANI INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION.

 

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8/05/2017

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