Wednesday, July 30, 2008
On Sunday we attended a fantastic, elaborate wedding ceremony for Patrick from Town Council. Jackie, Ashley, Rylee, Ashley W., Seren, Kira and Emily went to the pre-ceremony praise session which lasted a good three hours before the hour + long wedding in Mukono. After the ceremony was the reception at the Nora Complex in Lugazi. The Mukono celebration was a waste of time compared to the festivities later in the evening. Deo even introduced us in the middle of the reception as the guests of honor and had us stand in the front of the hall. Thanks Deo.
Monday was spent in a dizzying attempt to visit and say goodbye to all the partners our departing volunteers needed to see. It was rough for some, amazing for others, but I think everyone started to feel the reality of going home. Chrissy and Emily went to observe at Little Angels Primary School to prepare for teacher training, a few people went to work on a stove and others attended to their PWD visits. It was a weird day.
Tuesday was equally weird. Irene cooked us a fantastic lunch as it was to be our last time all together in Uganda. Aloshus brought the people from the Mayor's house to the main house with all their luggage and then the rest of the volunteers packed up. Most of us had a rough time saying goodbye, even though we will most likely reunite in a little over a month. The worst part was seeing the family and Edith cry as the kids on the street ran after the bus as they all drove away. I couldn't help but cry. The people with whom I've spent hours and hours every day were leaving--just like that. It's weird how it feels like we've always known each other, even though it had only been 6 weeks for some and 11 for the others.
That night we rented some speakers and went down to the Cornerstone Orphanage in Nakazadde to watch Cars with the kids. They loved it. I think they understood English better than the kids at St. Edwards when we tried to watch Shrek with them.
Wednesday was BUSY!!! All the energy from the third wave rubbed off on the rest of the house and we all picked up and got going on all our projects again. We hustled around doing stoves and PWD home visits and writing up project proposals. We sorted and cataloged all the books we have collected and placed the more advanced books in the recently constructed Lugazi Hill View Library. It looks fantastic!!! Then Stephanie and the team had a great discussion with the students about playing sex safely. Our St. Edward's playdate went well also, we watched The Little Mermaid together. Next Wednesday will most likely be our last with that group.
Thursday was a PWD miracle! Seren taught a bodacious lesson on the importance of bonding with your children. Faith had the new volunteers introduce themselves and then had James Brown give a little speech. Afterward, she spoke to the group--for a while. The individual homevisits went extremely well and the new energy of the volunteers has been opening discussion on what to do next with each of their new friends.
On Friday, the rain spoiled some of our plans. We were hoping to finish filling the Kikawula stove, but didn't get too far before we got drenched. The other PWD home visits went really well and the kids and volunteers are really bonding well. Our AIDS support group went really well too. The Mamatoto choir is coming along and they have a great time when they get together.
After work the majority of the group left for Sipi Falls (aka the garden of Eden) and I'm not sure what happened after that because I went to bed around 9pm. \
It was a very busy week, and we are so excited for the good energy that's rejuvenated us. We look forward to more good work and busy schedules.
Thanks for reading--if you did. If you did--leave a comment.
The shovel goddess
Thursday, June 12, 2008
On Monday morning Ashley and Heidi went to
On Tuesday there was a huge holiday called Martyrs Day. It is a day remembering 23 Christians who were martyred because they refused to work on Sundays. People make a pilgrimage to this memorial from all over the world (like we’re talking other African countries,
On Wednesday Corbin, Leslie and Heidi went to Truelight and built a stove. Building stoves is quite hard work and this group is learning how essential it is to have a lot of people being a part of this project. Later that day some other members of the group filled in a stove for Betty. At 3:00 the secondary schools team went to Hillview Highschool and started their club. With some help from the kids the club was officially name Team Ekitangala (Team Light). Two Mzungus were teamed up with four kids. Throughout the summer the two Mzungus will be mentors to their four children. At 5:00 many of us went to St. Edwards for the weekly orphan gathering. We finished watching Shrek 2. The kids thought it was hilarious and loved it. We came home to a delicious dinner and then each person worked on their projects.
On Thursday morning the persons with disabilities team met with the mothers and their children. Ashley and Natalie gave a counseling session to the mothers about living with a child with disabilities. The mothers were excited and the lesson went very well. The rest of the team played with the children (coloring and playing with balls). After the meeting some went to a business training. David, Jeff and Ashley taught supply and demand to a group of local people. At three Amber, Natalie, Heidi, Rylee, and Ashley went and taught English to a women’s group. Many of the women are at different levels and we plan on pairing some of those that know better English better with those that know as much. Irene threw something new on the menu (we always love our meals, but they are usually most always the same), we had these rolls filled with a spicy cabbage (in the words of Ashley, “A hot pocket went to
On Friday Leslie, Heidi, Rylee, and Natalie went to Iganga. Talked about friendship and taught the children to make friendship bracelets. After they made the bracelets they exchanged them with one another. We played with a parachute after and played other games together. They got so excited to see us and we love working with them. Tori and Jackie went to
On Saturday we woke up at 3:30 am to get ready for our long adventure to
On Sunday morning we had a delicious breakfast provided by the hotel, it was omelettes, bread, bananas, and steamed milk. Richard met us at 9 and we headed off to Kigale. We went to the
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
May 13th, 2008
Hello everyone!!!! We can’t believe we are saying this, but we are finally here in
Friday afternoon was a very rewarding one. We got up at about 8 am and took a ride out through the sugarcane fields to the Hope Children’s Home—an orphanage for young kids. Our projects for that day were to build a chicken coop and an adobe stove. The girls got there first, and were instructed to take a big pile of bricks to the place where the coupe would be built. They made an assembly line involving all of the little kids and had the best time. They taught them songs like “If you’re happy and you know It” and “the Macarena”. The kids absolutely loved it and were laughing the entire time the bricks were being passed. The girls and kids also hauled mud up a road to put together a big enough pile to make the stove. Meanwhile, the guys were working with the chicken coop and ripping out the old stove. After a great lunch of rice, beans, cabbage, and soda, we headed home. Later that night, some of the group went to African Paradise, the hippest dance club in town. It was a lot of fun and the Ugandans loved dancing with Americans. Everyone was sweating up a storm!!
Saturday afternoon we all went into town to get groceries and e-mail our families. Afterwards, the whole group took a taxi to the
Sunday we went to Pastor Bill’s church. It was definitely an awesome experience because we got to jump up and down, dance around, and wave hallelujah to music for 25 minutes straight. We were sweating by the time we were finished, so during the sermon we were all pretty uncomfortable and tired. But it was worth it because it was so much fun to go to. It lasted about two hours, and then we walked back to the house, hung out and watched a movie on our projector, and had another meeting about our projects and what we needed to do this upcoming week to get them started. The meetings are very helpful and informative, and it’s fun to see how much more prepared we are after going to one. Also, people talked on the phone to their families since it was mothers’ day. So here’s a big shout out to all the families!! We miss you, but not that much because we’re here in
Monday we went back to Hope to finish our projects but it rained most of the time, so we only got to do about 2 hours of manual labor. It was still a lot of fun though, because it was really muddy and the kids just loved helping us out again. After lunch, we went back to town to meet with the town council about the projects we want to start. At the beginning of the meeting there was a lot of confusion, but we were assigned to different town councilors to talk more about what we wanted to do, and a lot was accomplished. We planned to have meetings Tuesday afternoon, so that’s the plan for Tuesday.
It’s been such a great week and we are more than excited to be here!! We can definitely see many needs here as we’ve talked in all of our meetings and been in contact with all the wonderful people, and everyone is so different in such a good way and has great ideas that we know things will really take off. Thanks again for reading our first blog in-country….we’ll keep posting once or twice a week so keep checking it out!! Cheers!
Sunday, April 13, 2008
In preparation for our service in Uganda, our team decided to create a mission statement. We wanted to write something that would provide direction and vision to our projects. A couple weeks ago we got together as a team and brainstormed ideas that were important to us. We talked about goals we wanted to accomplish and general principles we wanted to employ to reach them. Even our out-of-state volunteers contributed by emailing us their ideas. We organized our ideas into a few different phrases. Then we voted on the 5 proposed mission statements and narrowed it down to the follow statement which we feel best articulates our purpose:
Friday, February 29, 2008
Brian and Kira Johnson are currently in Mukono. Here is what they have to say about their experience in Uganda and why they are part of HELP:
We decided to come to Uganda after hearing a native professor describe his country. It's beauties, it's people and their needs. He sparked our interest when he said the three things Ugandans need are Ethics,Education and Leaders. As we visited with him, we realized that he didn't mean importing leaders from other countries to solve Uganda's problems, but for Ugandan's to rise up and help their own people and country. He wasn't asking for money, food, or school supplies, he was asking for leader training. And we wanted to help.
One of the questions most frequently asked to us as we prepared to come to Uganda was: "Why? Why go away to some exotic place to serve when there is so much need right here at home?" The reasons are simple. Uganda is ready. Of course America needs leadership education as much as the rest of the world, but the movement there is already underway. Furthermore, when you walk into a school there and tell them about leadership education, they laugh at you, ask you what kind of a job you can get with that, or call you an idealist. Not so here. When we walk into a school and tell them about leadership education, they ask "Where do we start?" The people recognize their lack of leadership and the need for educational reform and are willing to change and improve. The people who are capable of making a difference are ready to make it. They just need mentors.
We are in Uganda for three months, and are primarily working with the teachers at local schools. As we have introduced leadership education, it has been exciting for us to see the lights come on in their eyes. They know their educational system has ways to improve and are open to new ideas. Teachers are understanding and applying leadership education, for themselves and in their classes. As one teacher told us, "Before this class, I only read to teach the students. The minimum. I didn't like to read. Now, you can always see me with a book, even if it's only for a few minutes in between classes. And the funny thing is, my students have begun noticing, and are asking about the books I am reading. It spreads. Other teachers take notice now also. They see the difference in us and in our classroom." These teachers feel a greater responsibility knowing they are teaching the future leaders of Uganda.
We came to teach and serve, but we have also been on the receiving end learning and growing. We are becoming better leaders and teachers ourselves, we are learning so much from the native people, we have been welcomed into a friendly and beautiful culture, we are making new friends, and we are helping to make a positive and lasting impact. We love the people! We love the food! We love the green hills and forests! We love the unique culture! We love Uganda!
Brian and Kira Johnson