Preparing a New Cohort for Ugnadans, by Ugandans – Gulu Trip – Post #2

Today (Saturday) may have been the most important day for our time here, even though the training doesn’t start till Monday. That is because today we met with six of our key participants of the forty two trainees who make up this cohort. These “Lead Trainers” come along side our team of three (Mike Evans, Stu Dix and yours truly) in helping run our classrooms, manage administration and share the teaching load.  These six leaders (two for each of our three groups) are co-teaching along with us. Next fall, God willing, these six leaders will carry the entire teaching load as a new cohort begins-for Ugandans, by Ugandans.

The current course we are teaching on Poetry in the Bible, covers portions of Psalms and Proverbs has ten lessons. I will teach five lessons, my two Lead Trainers (Julius and Sunday) will teach two each and our final session will be taught by one of the other Lead Trainers.

Today my job was to equip three of the Lead Trainers in two of the lessons. We spent two hours on each of the lessons. My job was to make sure they understood the material and help them design the best ways to present it. One example of trying to bridge the cultures between myself and the three brothers of the Made (mah-dee) tribe. Psalm 146 begins and ends with the phrase “Praise the Lord”. The writer of the curriculum talked about these two “Praise the Lords” serving as bookends for the psalm. When I said “bookends”, I could tell that it wasn’t connecting. I asked if they knew what bookends were-blank looks. I got creative…you know how a sandwich has two pieces of bread with the good stuff on the inside…again blank looks. Finally, I busted out my cross cultural skill and said “You know, like a hamburger?”. They did not know what a hamburger was. Stay tuned as I try to come up with a word picture that works for this setting.

They had come having studied the material and eager to learn. Overall, the time went well, but teaching cross culturally is really demanding: trying to discern what they are saying (they say our English is hard to understand, they are more influenced by Great Britain by their use of English (as if the English know their English!). When we get clarity, I am finding these are really great leaders who appear ready to teach. If all goes well, we will increase the teaching loud in the future. They will not begin teaching till Weds afternoon, and they have permission to contact me with questions between now and then.

This is so important because they are the future for a large portion of Northern Uganda and the eight languages represented by the forty-two trainees.

In other exciting news, today I have not injured any body parts and took a walk where I met an interesting cast of characters. See the pictures…

Please pray that Mike, Stu and I are effective for these pastors, and especially the six lead trainers that we are making the larger investment.


Larry Szyman

Pastor for Missional Life