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