(Photo by Worldwide Christian Schools)
Uganda (MNN) ― Ugandan lawyers began a three-day strike Wednesday to protest the government's treatment of demonstrators complaining about high food and fuel prices.
Demonstrations over the last three weeks in Uganda have left eight people dead and wounded more than 250 others. The brutal arrest of the opposition leader on April 28 fanned anger into an inferno on April 29. The government responded to the riots with a fierce military crackdown, and an uneasy calm returned to Kampala.
Dale Dieleman with Worldwide Christian School was in Kampala when he felt the change in the city. He was with a couple of students at the time. They managed to stay steps ahead of the mob, taking alleyways back to their campus, all the while hearing gunshots and smelling the first whiffs of teargas.
Dieleman says tensions remain high. "The government will not be lowering taxes or lowering some of the prices artificially on either fuel or food, so that leaves the situation as volatile as it was."
It won't take much for the situation to erupt again, and some of the areas where the schools are located may experience a day-long closure. However, Dieleman doesn't expect their programs to experience a long-term disruption. The reason for that is due to God's timing. "Things are being coordinated now through a team of national Ugandans who are taking charge of the situation in all of our programs."
The WWCS team felt it was a good idea to decentralize their work and train the nationals to train more teachers for the school networks. In situations like the riots, an indigenous team knows the area, knows how to handle security concerns, and can respond accordingly.
WWCS has already taken the first step to train one round of trainers. Dieleman had just completed another round of "training the trainers." The curriculum the trainers use with the teachers is a Biblical one that fits the mission and vision of Worldwide Christian Schools.
There is one added bonus: the training is also apparently an evangelism tool. Dieleman explains that one of the trainers "discovered that several of the teachers who were a part of the training were very unfamiliar with where some of the more familiar passages of the Bible are located, so their Bible literacy was very primitive."
Rather than go forward, "She [the trainer] stopped the lesson and began discussing with them their spiritual walk--their faith history, if you will, and discovered that they're babes in the faith." In fact, several were not followers of Christ. Teaching a biblical curriculum which the trainers don't understand doesn't make sense, so "she began really working with them and presented the whole Gospel message and the Gospel story, and she invited them to accept the Lord."
Dieleman says this is why their team is so excited. Providing access to a biblical worldview and quality education is not just for kids. "In the middle of this training, the trainer was able to perceive that this was really an opportunity to present Christ to them, and it became a salvation story."
Pray for continued safety for the teams as Uganda struggles to maintain peace. Pray for wisdom for the national ministry leaders as they move forward with implementing some of their growth plans. There's more details here.