During a mission trip a couple years ago, the Gateway 2 Missions team traveling from the US came across a school in the Namutumba District of Uganda. At first sight, it was clear to the team that this was no conventional school. With most of the group having attended school in the US, it was hard to reconcile the many structural deficiencies observed that day. Contrasting images plagued their mind with the characteristics expected of a traditional schoolhouse – attributes such as walls decorated with students’ artwork, the assigned desks, and chalkboards highlighting the days’ lesson. However, this was not the case for the children of the Namutumba District. Students and teachers pressed through nature’s element to conduct the day’s lessons because the school was without walls.
A lesson can be taught in any environment; often, professors will choose to move their class outside for a change of scenery or dramatic effect. The keyword here is “choose.” In Uganda, a village can experience torrential rains for several months during the rainy season, making it challenging to operate a school. (CLIMATE, WEATHER & TEMPERATURE IN UGANDA). This school, in particular, was constructed out of tree logs and a tin roof. Leaving no other option than to close sessions for the remainder of the rainy season. When school would return in session, the students sat on logs with their feet resting in mud puddles. Two hundred and seventy students missed out on their education due to nature’s elements, and walls were the missing component.
Gateway 2 Missions was inspired by the teachers’ motivation and determination to facilitate and recognized the students’ need to have an educational structure that could nurture their learning. In November of 2019, Gateway 2 Missions donors were presented with the Namutumba school and advised of its condition. Our donors did not disappoint.
Through a series of campaigns, Gateway 2 Missions was able to rebuild the Namutumba school with walls, a roof, chalkboards, and gutters. It started with breaking ground and blessing the soil for construction. Within several months, we had a structure with walls. We then added a sturdy roof, windows, doors and contracted a water tank to be installed. This provided fresh water for drinking and washing hands. The final touches were the gutters to help drain and direct the water away from the structure. By January 2021, the school was back in session, and students were excited to see their new school.
Our efforts extend beyond feeding the poor; we inspire to affect change in Uganda. On our mission trips, we were allowed to walk side by side with the people we support. We hear firsthand their experiences and understand their condition. This window into their lives affords us the insight needed to organize efforts and campaigns for their benefit. Namutumba school remains our largest project to complete to date. Our donors, volunteers, and organizers all worked diligently to bring this vision to past. Now, the teacher and the children of Namutumba district have a dwelling for learning and protection from nature’s elements.
CLIMATE, WEATHER & TEMPERATURE IN UGANDA. June 10, 2020. website. April 13, 2021. <https://www.nkuringosafaris.com/climate-uganda/#:~:text=The%20wet%20season%20is%20from,season%20from%20December%20to%20February.>.