Sister Mary Paulynne sends the following update and some great photos of the children and their new building. Awesome and what a gift from some many benefactors that made it become a reality!
“I thought that you and the Sisters would enjoy pictures of the nursery school and the children! The building is almost completed with a few finishing touches that need to be done: connection of water tanks, electricity and solar panels, etc. The furnishings still need to come in a few weeks but otherwise we are ready to begin our second term in the new buildings! Praise God! We are also hoping and praying that the visas for our Juniors will be granted soon! We continue to trust in God’s divine providence and care.”
Many many thanks to all our generous donors for your help with this project! We are so excited to be able to continue our service to the people of Buseesa through this ministry!
In 2008 the Sisters of Notre Dame began offering nursery school for impoverished children between the ages of three and six as part of the sisters’ mission in Buseesa, Uganda. Nursery school is so valuable in Buseesa because children there receive little educational preparation at home. These children often live in mud huts with simple openings in the walls for air, usually with a thatched roof and sometimes with galvanized tin. There is no electricity to allow them to study at night. They are fed whatever their parents can cultivate on their small plot of land, if they have one. Many of our nursery school students are fed their first meal of the day at school.
Since 2008 hundreds of children have received loving care and patient instruction from sisters and dedicated lay teachers. Today 100 children are enrolled at the nursery school. It includes three classes, which are all taught in the two-room basement of our former convent building.
In 2015 we set out to raise $125,000 to build a new nursery school on the same property to accommodate for the growth of this program. The design features a free-standing building with three classrooms, office space, and an outdoor gathering area for assemblies, a play area with a swing set, pit latrines, and an outdoor kitchen.
Several generous donors have already contributed to the project, bringing our total raised to $107,000. One of those special donors is the congregation at Saint Julie Billiart Church in Newbury Park, California. Saint Julie’s raised an astounding $21,000 in support of the nursery school. We broke ground on the building in the fall of 2015.
Above are a few photos of the nursery school’s construction. Primer is being applied to all of the buildings at this time. The photos are of the kitchen, the administrative wing and the classroom block. There is also a front gate standing at the entrance to the school. Still to come are electricity and solar panels, and the water tanks and furniture.
The Sisters of Notre Dame would like to extend thanks to all who have contributed to this project. We ask for your continued prayers for its successful completion!
“I very personally see your spiritual and monetary contributions at work in the Uganda mission. None of this would have been possible without you! Thank you, thank you! Webale muno!”
Well, we are on countdown mode over here until the term ends….at least I am! The students are working hard at their studies and teachers are teaching, praise God. Tomorrow, we have the student council induction ceremony for the new officers. Since our P7 students will be in a very serious mode of study for the third term, they relinquish their student council duties at this time and pass on these offices to the next group. The new student council members will shadow the outgoing members for a week or two when we begin the third term and then the new officers take over. So tomorrow we have an assembly for the entire school to witness the “passing of the torch” to the next group. The current president will be introduced and then the new president is announced. They meet in the middle of the stage, give each other a hug and the outgoing president takes the student council tie that she is wearing and puts it on the newly elected president. Each outgoing officer follows the same procedure until all of the new student council members have been introduced and given the student council tie. The newly elected officers even take an oath of office by placing their hand on the Bible and promising to be good role models to others. Pretty impressive, no so?!
Sister Mary Paulynne on the play field
Thursday, August 7, is the Citizenship Honor Roll assembly in our dining hall. The students that have merited good conduct will receive certificates from their teachers in the presence of the entire student body. The students receiving this award will get a sweetie (a piece of candy) from me and then when they come back to begin the third Term of school in September these lovely children will be rewarded with a movie! They LOVE this treat, believe me! After the assembly it will be time to clean the classrooms and the students will remove items from their student desks and lockers. The rest of the morning and early afternoon is spent cleaning their dorms, washing and cleaning their clothes and packing their cases for home.
Friday, August 8, is departure day. After our morning assembly of prayer and flag salute the students proceed to their classrooms, put their cases outside and wait on the veranda or on the grassy section below the classroom block until their parents arrive. The teachers and several classroom helpers are assigned to supervise the students while they are waiting. Many times lorries (large trucks), or taxis (which are the size of a VW van) take children home who live in the same village or nearby neighborhoods. Occasionally, boda-boda drivers (a motorcycle with an extended back seat) take individual students home who live nearby. Transport is expensive here so parents find the most economical and creative ways to get their children home safely for the holiday. While all of this fabulous activity is going on, our administrative team: Sister Bernarde, Teacher John and I are in the staff room greeting the parents and accepting school fee payments from this p previous term and a down payment for term three.
So you can see why I am on a countdown for the holiday to begin! But hey, it is never boring here and it is such a joy for me to see the sparkle in the children’s eyes when their parents arrive! And oh yes, the gleam of happiness when the parents see their children well and happy is an added joy!
So I wish you blessings and thank you again for your prayers for ALL of us! Continue to pray for rain…we only got a drizzle yesterday!
Well, here we are in the middle of July and it’s just about three weeks before the end of this second term of the school year. So I thought I would give you a few updates of what has been happening in the Emerald City, Buseesa. (I refer to St. Julie School and Notre Dame Academy as the Emerald City because when one approaches our site from a distance all you can see are the green roofs!)
First of all, Notre Dame Academy (NDA) recently made history! For the first time since NDA became a secondary school, the net ball team went to the national playoffs. The team had to be the top team in the district then the county and then be invited to the national level of competition. Our team had to travel to Mbale which is a several hours to the east of Buseesa. The girls had to play several games throughout the week. As you may know, net ball is sort of like basketball except it is played on the grass with more passing of the ball than dribbling. Even though they did not qualify for the next stage of competition we are very proud of our young ladies. Our presence at the national level certainly put NDA, Buseesa on the map!
Currently, the students of the primary and secondary schools are taking the MOCK exams, which are tests given in preparation for the leaving exams in November. The results of these MOCKS are useful for both teachers and students. When the papers are returned the students can revise/correct their errors and study the corrected exam papers. It seems like the current P7 class is far more serious than last year’s class so we are hoping for better results and higher scores on the leaving exams in November. So please pray that the students stay focused and keep their interest level piqued during these next few months.
As you may know, we are in the midst of our dry season in Uganda. We certainly would appreciate prayers for some rain as our water tanks are only half full. The students have to carry their jerry cans to the nearby spring every day in order to fetch water. Not a fun activity by any means! We have to do this now because the dry season continues until mid-September. With three weeks to go before the end of this term and the students returning on September 6 we are concerned that we will not have any water in the tanks if we do not begin the water rationing now.
Speaking of rain, we did have a surprise rainstorm this past Sunday right after the 8:00 a.m. Mass. Now of course it was sunny when we came over to church and so no one had umbrellas or other rain gear with them. So picture 300 students in church with pouring rain outside and it is time to leave church to go to school and eat breakfast. Most children would perhaps get very antsy and squirmy waiting for the moment to dash out of church and make a run for it. Well, since the kids had to wait for the rain to subside somewhat before they left, what did they do?They broke into song and sang praise and worship songs! Even a few P4 students got out of their places and danced before the altar. After 15 minutes the rain let up and the children could leave church without getting soaked. I tell you, I learn lessons every day from the childlike and trusting manner these young people live their lives!
Thank you also for your support, love and encouragement. May the Good God bless you and all of the Sisters in Rosa Mystica.
Click below to hear Sister Mary Paulynne Tubick talk about her journey to Sister Teopista’s home in Uganda.
Sister Mary Teopista Nabugwawo made her first vows on May 10, 2014, in Uganda, Africa. She is a graduate of both Saint Julie Primary Boarding School and Notre Dame Academy Senior Secondary School in Buseesa, Uganda, where the Sisters of Notre Dame have taught and ministered for 20 years. Sister Teopista is the oldest of nine children and her family lives in Uganda, not far from the schools. She and several other East African sisters are preparing to begin their ministries at Saint Julie and Notre Dame Academy.
“People that live in the nearby region are very happy that these young ladies are going to serve in their area,” said Sister Mary Paulynne Tubick, who is principal at Saint Julie and taught Sister Teopista when she was a student there.
Sister Teopista began her formation journey as a candidate at the formation house in Mpala, Uganda. From there she traveled to Tanzania for a year as a postulant and then spent two years as novice. Once that process is concluded, Sisters of Notre Dame typically return to their home parishes to begin their ministries. Sister Teopista will work with nursery and primary school students at Saint Julie.
“She’ll be working with another teacher and watching what’s happening so she’s not a stranger to the educational format,” Sister Paulynne said.
Sister Paulynne hopes that the newly professed sisters will continue spread the joy and love of God in their hearts to others.
“We [the sisters from the United States] can only go so far,” she said, “But they can speak the language so it’s through them that other people can see the word of God. I hope that they continue the Notre Dame spirit in the schools we’ve established and that they are empowered to carry it on in Uganda.”
Sr. Mary Anita Hornack gives Sr. Mary Anncarla Costello a kiss goodbye.
The Sisters of Notre Dame gathered to wish Sr. Anncarla safe passage and successful meetings as she prepares to spend the rest of the month in Uganda. Sister will be there with the leadership team from Covington as well to visit with the sisters and to discuss sustainability plans for the mission. Our prayers are with you all.