Hello All! We are safe in New York City and have internet access again. So here’s to catching everyone up on our doings in Uganda!
Last Friday the team had the opportunity to visit several different locations focused on the MDGs led by several Ugandan church leaders. Let me say that our first stop was anything but a normal school visit. I feel that our visit to the Kumi schools was one of the best parties I have ever attended. There was singing and dancing, speeches from government officials, playing with parachutes and footballs (soccer balls to you Americans and Canadians out there), and some of the team was even able to master the art of carrying water on their heads (okay maybe not master, but attempt!). The gathering was special because schools from the whole area joined us, some walking 1.5 kilometers just to join the party!
The school visit was fantastic! From an MDG point of view, I do not believe that there are many people more focused on creating a better community for themselves and advancing their people than those we met in Kumi. Throughout the speeches from individuals like Pastor Richard who both leads the school and local church, to both the mayor of the town and a man who told us to call him the “President of the county”, the focus on creating a better livelihood for the community through education in schools was real.
I personally had the opportunity to speak with Pastor Richard as he toured me around the school while activities were going on. His passion for educating children as well as having the church be an active member in the eradication of poverty in the Kumi area was remarkable. We had heard several days earlier in Kampala about how there has been some disconnect between the idea of the goals on a global level and actually applying them on a local level. I believe that those in Kumi are doing it right with the way that the local people and government are working together for change.
The day also allowed for a visit to the home of a subsitence farmer who has read books and educated himself about how to crossbreed plants and is doing so on his family’s farm land. He has had thoughts recently about going commercial, but one of my favorite things about him was that whatever food he had left after providing for his family he gave to the schools for the children to have. A true servant.
We finished the day in the mountains of Eastern Uganda in a place called Kapchorwa where the team hiked to see Sipi Falls. The beautiful falls were not exactly simple to get to as we had to hike down a trail probably about a foot and a half wide that the local people use for daily foot traffic. I found out just how non-native I was when I was passed quickly by a woman heading down the trail with a basket of vegetables on her head and a baby on her back while I was struggling just to stay on the path with a hiking stick.
Thanks for keeping up with us!