This summer our team was privileged to host four SLAM summer interns. Internship facilitator Rachel Hartnell reflects on how they helped us accomplish some remarkable goals, and learn so much about the Lord, themselves, and their brothers and sisters in Africa at the same time.
It was truly a blessing to work with our East Africa Interns this summer. Matthew Webb, Tuesday Jordan, Brittan Botzum and Tiffany Potts served rigorously and joyfully alongside our Ugandan and Kenyan cooperatives. Lawrence Ssemakula remarked, “These interns were humble in their response and hard-working; They were always looking for ways to help.”
Each of them discovered and utilized their individual talents to accomplish some wonderful work! Throughout many days at St. John's Primary, Matt got involved in structural repairs--building storage spaces for teacher supplies and repairing broken desks. Tiffany utilized her artistic talents to create colorful educational posters that helped bring more life to the classrooms. Tuesday drew upon her love for children and soccer skills to help facilitate a soccer clinic and league for the children at St. John's. Brittan's joyful energy was essential in implementing lessons designed for kids this summer.
All four of them gave of themselves tirelessly, particularly at St. John's. But they were touched by the Lord as they did so. After spending time in the slum, Tuesday said, ”I have never been more broken than when I met the girls in Bwaise. They had come to the city for work but ended up in the slums selling their bodies. It was such a contrast when I saw it alongside the work GOD is doing with students at St. John's -- instilling self-worth, love, and a quality education that they wouldn't otherwise be afforded."
In addition to their individual projects, the interns worked together to plan a field day, dental seminar and meal for children at St Johns. The teachers and students ran, danced and laughed in the field as they enjoyed each of the fun activities the interns planned for them.
Tiffany reflected, ”Before this trip being a teacher terrified me. I did everything in my power to plan things so I could be behind the scenes. But, when things didn’t go according to plan during an activity, I had to step into a teaching role and the Lord met me. He used me, and the activity went so well! The Lord showed me that I can be a teacher!”
The dental seminars they conducted included a teeth brushing song written by Tuesday and a “Clean the teeth” game they designed together! The team also harvested and cooked food from the school garden we created, providing over 400 students and teachers a meal. Brittan Botzum said, “This meal was one of my most impactful moments on this trip. People see this village as a desolate place--a place that nothing good could come from. Today we showed them that God is here in this place. He is providing for these kids and values every one of them!”
In addition to the work they did at St Johns Primary School, the interns worked with our agriculturalists in the garden, they reconstructed the wall of an elderly woman's house, did housework for another elderly neighbor, performed for neighboring families and friends, assisted in conducting eye examinations, painted our facilities, cleaned neighbors houses, visited health care facilities and city slums, and attended dozens of hours of Bible study and worship! The list could go on and on.
These interns packed so much hard work and joy into every day of their trip--always without a complaint and always with a smile. Matt Webb explained, “I never thought I would say this but after working with the people in Uganda, I now have family in Uganda. There is no doubt that I will be going back to work with them again.”
Matt, Tuesday, Brittan and Tiffany--you were such a joy to serve alongside this summer!
Thank you for your service!