Subject: Thanksgiving in February

February Thanksgiving

Six weeks into the new school year following the world's longest school shutdown, students and staff were ready to give thanks and celebrate. I arrived in time to join in on February 19th!

The singing, dancing, speeches, prayers, decorations, food, cake, sports and games were the best ever. From the youngest children in Baby Class (three-year-olds) to the oldest person (me!), all had smiles on their faces. You could almost touch the joy!

I had a flashback to our first visit to Uganda in 2003 and the children who sang for us at a government school. The condition of the children was painful to remember. They were dressed in ragged clothes with no shoes. They sang beautifully but were skinny and lethargic. Rarely did we see a smile. What a contrast the Mustard Seed kids presented with lots of energy, glowing health, and nearly constant smiles.

Pop the Balloons Contest by nursery school pupils was entertaining for all.

The two older classes of Secondary girls vs. the three younger classes in a game of netball. Netball is the most popular and competitive sport for Ugandan girls.

Latest from Lukaya

Since 2013, we Americans were reluctant to extend Mustard Seed Secondary to Advanced (A) levels. However, this year, with all the changes the Ugandan Government is dictating, we realized the need. After being here and observing the positive influence of the older students and their teachers, I am grateful we listened to our Ugandan partners.

Below you can see the Secondary students doing a traditional Buganda dance with some of their teachers joining them.


Fish, cows, hens, gardens, and entertainment are all thriving. Look for more photos and specifics soon.

What's Up?

One complication for entering Uganda was eliminated a few days after I arrived. Travelers no longer need to have a Covid test at the airport before going through immigration. Some other restrictions affecting visitors and residents are no longer in place. For example, the curfew limiting movements after 8 p.m. has been lifted. Cases of Covid are very few, and life is slowly getting back to normal.

Construction on the High Mountain Dining Hall is once again making progress after a delay at Christmas time. Staff and students are eagerly awaiting its completion.

There are so many people who have given so much to make Mustard Seed great. Students are thriving and having exceptional opportunities and experiences because of you!

We are grateful to:

The City College of New York, Biology Department for old but high-quality microscopes. These are much needed by the Secondary-5 biology students.

Eastern Christian High School and Athletic Director, Barry Veenstra - used but still in good condition soccer uniforms. See the photo below.

Judy Lamendola and family for several smartphones and iPads/tablets. These are so needed and appreciated by teachers. A tablet can serve as an audio-visual aid for science, art, geography, music, and so many other classes. Tablets and phones open up a whole new world of learning via the internet.

Sue Choi- two new laptops for the renovated Mustard Seed Secondary School library!

Signe Culleny- the beautiful and delicious cake for the All-School Thanksgiving Party.

Sylvia Allen of Sylvia's Children, another New Jersey nonprofit working in Uganda, for adorable knitted dolls for the whole Nursery School Baby Class.

YOU! You have also added to the resources available at Mustard Seed. You are part of the miracle.


Devis-showing off his Mustard Seed Academy jersey–AKA Eastern Christian High School Eagles. Click the video below to see more amazing dancing by the secondary school girls.

Representatives from each sector helped to cut the cake.

The lunch line – older students helped to serve the younger ones with heaping plates of meat, potatoes, rice, and matoke- not the usual posho and beans!

Just for fun– did you know?

Last month, the question was: Where would you shop for ingredients, and what specifics might you ask for?

Ingredients are tomatoes, green peppers, and onions used to make the beans or other 'soup' delicious and more nutritious. BTW, my plate of food, pictured above, is about 1/4 the amount of the typical Ugandan lunch.

Half of my time in Lukaya is over, and I am looking at the next two weeks with mixed emotions. It is always great to get home, and I'm eager to share the Mustard Seed story in person. Still, it is hard to leave my second home. There is so much happening and so much excitement here– and so much need. I hope that you share in the pride I feel.

With all my best,


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