We traveled back from Soroti to Jinja today, and completed errands in preparation for a five-day return to Buvuma Island tomorrow through Thrusday. Note: Off the grid.

[Note: We are off the grid for the next 5 days, on Buvuma Island out in Lake Victoria. We are testing and graduating our first 27 graduates from the Buvuma Island Section of Lake Victoria Bible Institutes.]

[This is an update on James, the deaf child we pulled from the streets of the island in Lake Victoria and moved to the deaf school in Mbale several years ago – see the “James” thread].

James spent two days with us this trip while we were in his area in Mbale. He stayed overnight with us in the hotel, sleeping in Alfred’s room since the two of them seem to have a close bond. This little boy who has evidenced so much anger and rejection at times in the last several years seems now to be a well-adjusted and happy child. The attention he gets from the other children and the teachers and directors at the school seem to be doing him a lot of good.

We had a little scare with him over the Christmas holiday when he was put with the family that normally kept him on the holidays. Up till then the mother of this little family had done a good job, since she is professionally a teacher of the deaf and understands their issues. However, she did not inform us that she was planning to enter schooling during this holiday and left him at her village under the care of others who were not familiar with his need for a tight rein (he has been on his own for many years without discipline and tended to wander freely on the island, getting into mischief without any language or communication abilities that might have otherwise transferred some social skills to a normally hearing child). Those who were then left in charge of him at the village failed to understand these needs and as a result failed to monitor his behaviors, only becoming alarmed and angry when he reverted to his old behaviors of wandering through people’s homes at will when no one was guiding him.

James sketched me as I preached, and no, those are not elf ears, those are my glasses. This from a boy who never touched a pencil and paper, I think, until two years ago.

This produced an unpleasant and unnecessarily “physical” confrontation, and Alfred actually had to go rescue him over the holiday and return him to the school. Now, unfortunately, the school is the only option for him during the holiday breaks in the school year. So he was glad to get “off-campus” for a day or two and see the big city of Mbale with us. Also, we enjoyed having him along. He is obedient and kind, always sharing the things we give him with other children. We had a wonderful time with him with no troubles of any kind, all former signs of willfulness being gone, it seems.

He has a serious interest in drawing, so we brought him some colored pencils. He spent his time sketching various things and seems to have the eye for a detail of an artist (of course, time will tell). During our Sunday morning church service, he sketched such things as the preacher – me – and Gail’s journal and Bible sitting on the table (an odd choice for a small child to even notice, let alone sketch in his book), the clock on the back wall, etc. Like I said, he seems to have an “eye.”

When we parted ways and Alfred drove off with him to go back to school, there was none of the previous sadness or acting out at our departure. I think he knows now that we will return and that we are not abandoning him – see https://meadeinternational.org/2017/10/21/the-grand-adventure-or-to-oz-and-back-with-james-and-faith-part-2/ for the painful telling of that part of the adventure. Oh, how I look forward to the day when James can talk to us fluently enough to have real relational conversation!

Somehow James has picked up the Ugandan custom of glaring dolefully at the camera when being photographed.

We did not get to visit with Faith this trip, our second deaf child at Kavule Parents School for the Deaf. It was school holiday break, and she was home with her family in Soroti, just as it should be. Still, we missed seeing her. All school reports are that she is doing well, though she needed a new blanket, which we have provided.

On that note though, we did run across another ten year old deaf girl living with her mother who has had no schooling up to now. She does not share the crisis condition in which we found James because her mother, though very poor, cares well for her. But the mother has no resources to put her into school. As a result of this, the child is growing up with no formal language but “family signs,” no education of any kind, and very little interaction with the world outside her home – a “back-yard child.” This is the time to get her into schooling or soon she will be beyond the ability to adapt to such changes in a healthy manner.

Unless Alfred can make him laugh…

So Gail and I are again praying about adding to our small brood of school-children we are overseeing with school fees, though with deaf children the needs are a bit more involved since they must board at the school. The mother has requested our help and has now shown that she is sincere by visiting the school and meeting with the director. But, she says, she cannot afford the fees. So we are seeking a sponsor. In a short time, this lovely child will be like the older deaf children even at the school who simply have never been able to develop the brain “wiring” to be educated. They are able to socially interact well, but their future is very limited because they were rescued and brought to the school too late to be able to adapt to the schoolroom environment. If we can go forward with this girl now, she has a good chance to learn language and be educated, as has been proven by James, who was virtually a street child when we brought him.

James shares a rare “night-out” for dinner with his adoptive family in Mbale.

This would amount to about $35.00 per month in her case, considering the positive ability of the family to share in some of the more basic expenses and to keep her on the holidays. If anyone is interested in rescuing this life (yes, I am reaching now for the heart strings, but I am telling you the truth), we would love to discuss this further with you by email or phone. Please contact us through the comments section of this website. As usual, Meade International will oversee the schooling for the sponsor, giving regular reports, and our local representative, Pastor Alfred, will be physically present as needed to monitor the situation.