Buheesi Secondary School Celebration

Tuesday, 3 April dawned dark and dreary.  It was raining in Fort Portal and Buheesi as well.  A quick phone call from Aloysius determined that the celebration would have to be delayed.  In the meantime, the Well Spring of Blessings Team sat and collected and organized their pictures to wait out the weather.   As it looked like the weather was clearing, the team stopped in a couple of shops to buy school supplies from the money provided by the school where Jenna Gubbels works.  There was enough funds for sports and math equipment.  Aloysius is an expert negotiator and maximized the money that was given to the team just before their departure.  With the successful negotiations ended, the team headed for Buheesi.

Fifteen miles on a nice asphalt two-lane roadway led to a muddy road.  Not far down the road was a most beautiful sign!

St John Paul II Rwenzori Valley Secondary School

A short time later the Secondary School was in sight.  A short rutted path led to the school and the team pulled down the path a line of students was waiting on both sides leading up to the school.  As the team left the car there was huge cheer.  The team looked at each other.  What were they supposed to do?  They shook some hands and went to the school’s administration building where an alter and a table with some chairs were set up.  As the team turned to the crowd they were met with a breathtaking sight with hundreds of villagers under canvas tents with the Rwenzori Mountains behind them.

Funny that no matter what country you are in, a school dedication is about the same. You have speeches, singing, and food.  But in Buheesi, things were done with such energy and enthusiasm.  There was a formal program, which had to be shortened due to the late start, but with such detailed organization that any bureaucrat would be proud.

The local area is predominately Catholic, so a Eucharistic Celebration was part of the proceedings.  What took your breath away is that even the poorest of the poor were able to drop something in the collection basket.

The dance routines were wonderful.  The colorful costumes and the drum beats were appreciated by the villagers.  In some of the routines the men had cymbals on their legs so they could make their own beat with their dance steps.   The Well Spring of Blessings Team had a surprise of their own.  Bill and Jenna had awesome dance moves and Greg showed that he had no trouble handling the djembe drum.  What the villagers didn’t know was that Greg had played the djembe for years as part of an African Music Troupe in the Washington DC area.

During the ceremony a team of cooks were preparing the meal.  The meal that was provided was overwhelming and more than any normal person could eat.   It was clear that the village was determined to be generous in their hospitality.  Just like the biblical story of the loaves and fishes, there seemed to be enough for the entire crowd!

The team had one more duty.  That was to deliver a suitcase full of school supplies from generous donors in Virginia.  They also handed out a commemorative plaque for the occasion from the Well Spring of Blessings.  The afternoon flew by and soon the villagers started to drift away to their homes.  It was a blessing that after a rainy morning that not a drop of rain seen during the ceremony.

The team piled into their car and returned back to Fort Portal.  The team had just enough time to clean up and get ready to meet with the District Chairman and his Chief of Administration.  In Uganda a district is a cross between a county and a state.  So these two men were important government officials.

During this discussion it was clear that Buheesi’s new secondary school had the attention of these local officials and they pledged their support to help ensure its success.  The day ended on this high note, and the team looked forward to spending time with the students and teachers the next day.


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