“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

melissa

"Time is such an ironic thing… it marches on and refuses to stop despite our pleas. These past 10 days at SMK have seemed to blink by, yet it has been long enough to do some really amazing things. We had enough time to hang mosquito nets over every bed in the dormitories, introduce yoga, help write letters to new friends in America, create special projects with sibling groups, learn card games and special hand claps, remember a few words of Lugandan, celebrate a really memorable Christmas holiday, install more computers within the Computer Lab, capture some amazing memories in photographs, assist with creating some mind-blowing artwork, plant more seeds in the vegetable gardens, create small book club reading groups, introduce various arts and crafts projects, record biographies on all sponsored secondary students, and create life-long memories with new/familiar friends.






























Team 3 has said goodbye to the children at SMK. There were a lot of tears and reflections on the incredible memories that have been created during our time at SMK. Our lives back in America will take us back to school or work in different parts of the country. Regardless of our destination, this trip has profoundly touched each of us. It shows in our faces and spirits. Perhaps you will see a deeper appreciation for our loved ones, a different perspective on the luxuries and conveniences within America, or a special smile that will creep across our faces when we talk about the beauty and harshness of Uganda. Whatever form it should take within each of us, hopefully you will recognize our differences."



















Tuesday, December 29, 2009

eddie

Joseph, Gloria, Joan, Rosemary and the CTT sponsored students

"Yesterday afternoon Gloria met with the students who are sponsored by Change the Truth. Having their secondary school fees and living expenses covered by CTT is considered a privilege, and we have high expectations for these children. Aside from maintaining a high scholastic performance, these kids must also abide by the rules of St. Mary Kevin, set a good example for the younger children, keep in touch with their CTT sponsors, and join the CTT team during its annual visit to SMK. We currently have 24 sponsored students – 23 in senior levels and one student in his final year of nursing school. One student, Danielle, just completed his senior 6 exams. He’ll receive his results in February and will be able, then, to make a decision about going on to the university. As an incentive for the children to do well in school and go on to college, Gloria announced to the group that CTT is going to pay university fees and award each entering student a laptop computer of their own. Since its beginning, CTT has focused on education, and Gloria wanted the children to know we are there to support them all the way. For those who are not particularly academically inclined, they will probably opt for vocational training (electrical, welding, etc.) and CTT will do its best to support them, as well.

There was a lot of applause, many smiles and expressions of gratitude from students and staff alike. I took this group photo after the meeting (they are holding onto the mosquito nets that we gave them.)

Thank you, everyone, for helping to make these scholarships possible. These kids could not be more excited about being able to fulfill their dreams."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

ugandan photos

Now that you’ve heard from the members of mighty Team 3, you know how amazing our time in Uganda has been. It’s been remarkable to see how everyone has adjusted, made their own way and made their own mark. Such enthusiasm, energy and love. I feel really lucky to have had such good comrades on the journey.

Carol boarded her plane a couple of days ago, and Christy left tonight. There is sadness with each departure. The children fall in love and hate to see us go. The team members hate to leave.

I have been shooting a lot of “snaps” (the children are always saying, “take a snap, take a snap!”) but recently started to make some work for my portfolio. Today was our day off, so I processed some of those pictures.

Enjoy…













Saturday, December 26, 2009

snapshots: friday













laura

Christmas at St. Mary Kevin was such a delight. It was a rainy day but it felt like the sun was shining down on all of us. Some children were dressed in their best for the holiday, greeted us with vibrant smiles, and were ready to start celebrating. Once Mama Rosemary gathered all the children together and announced the daily activities, the children were beaming with excitement. Spending Christmas away from home wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Being with the children and sharing this special day with them is a gift I’ll never forget. As we passed out their gifts they were so grateful. Once the talent show started some of the girls had already changed into their new shirt, put on their new flip flops, or had their bandana on. These children scream talent, from dancing, singing, painting, sports, they seem to be good at whatever you put in front of them. They performed a couple dances from the welcome ceremony and I’m still amazed at their skills. All of the group members had a special talent they shared with the children so Sara and I taught the children the chicken dance!

Each day I have to remind myself I’m in AFRICA! Unbelievable. I can’t believe I only have 4 days left in Uganda, it seems like our time here has flown by. Everyday when we get ready to come back to the city, the children ask when we’ll be returning, Tuesday will be a hard day for all of us. Having to say goodbye to their sweet faces and not having a little hand in mine all day will be hard to adjust to. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to be on Team 3 and I’m thankful to Gloria for such an amazing trip!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

sara


Today we had the pleasure of visiting Peter’s family. Peter’s village is about an hour and a half north of Kampala, in central Uganda, in a village called Gembe. In the early 80’s, this part of the country was in the heart of the war zone of the rebels. After a transition of power, from Idi Amin to the current president, Museveni, this lush countryside is now home to peasant farmers who live very peaceful lives. Upon arriving in Peter’s village, we were greeted by his family, which is comprised of his parents and his darling nieces and nephews. Gembe truly lives up to the meaning of its name, peace. The village was so serene. It was a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of Kampala. After visiting for a while, we said our goodbyes and headed back to the city.

I cannot believe my time in Uganda is already half way over. I have been blown away by the Ugandan people’s friendliness, hospitality, and sense of pride for their country. We are warmly welcomed everywhere we go. Each day, as we pass through Kajjansi, the village children run alongside our van affectionately greeting us by yelling “ hello muzungus!” (white people). Apparently we are the village spectacle.

This trip has truly been a life changing experience. I am continually amazed by the children at SMK. They are artists, footballers, dancers, and singers; the list could go on and on. At times I find myself forgetting that at the end of the day, these kids are still orphans. They never got the chance to go to soccer camp, or take studio dance lessons, yet they are as talented, or even more so, than kids back in the United States. Their sheer raw talent is remarkable.

The situations in which these children have been born into have ceased to hinder their ability to love. Everyday I receive endless hugs, kids wanting to hold my hands, and beautiful cards. I feel so lucky just to be able to spend time with the kids at SMK. As much as they think we are helping them, they are bettering our lives tenfold. These little daily lessons are constant reminders of what is important in life, love and friendship. After my time here, I hope to apply these lessons to my life. I will always remember time spent here, and I will be forever grateful to Gloria and the many others who made these experiences possible.















Wednesday, December 23, 2009

bobbi


The people in Uganda are wonderful. They are friendly, helpful, and I feel completely safe. I know there are issues, past and present, but TODAY, I feel safe. I sit here wondering how to communicate this experience. I got to the orphanage today, and went into my yoga room. The mats were rolled up, and on a table. I asked the boys why they rolled the mats up, and they told me they had to sweep the floor. I didn't ask them to do that. So three boys and I reset the room up, and the yoga day began. The first class had 15 kids... here's the really cool thing. There's a kid, Sam, who I really connected to last year, and he loves yoga! And he's good at it. Tomorrow, he's teaching the class. I gave him the book, some paper, a pen, and it's all his. I think he's about 14. So I'm working on passing the torch. Mama Rosemary, Peter, Charles (our driver), Douglas and a couple new 'elders' were in the next class. Mama's doctor told her she was going to have to go to exercise classes…yoga...and pay 10.00 per class. She does our class each day and at home and feels great. In the yoga classes...during relaxation, shavasana, at the end, all these little kids come and lay down on the mats and fall asleep...The adults fall asleep and I just let them sleep....they’re beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Next day)

Today was another day. Today was the day that Samuel would teach his first yoga class. Last night he had the book with all the poses in it, some paper and a pen.....I said nothing throughout the class. He led poses I've never led and can't do. He had them breathe in every pose, he did warm ups, strong poses, cool downs, and meditation. I brought the kids together at the end to acknowledge him, and talk about what we thought of his class... just like we did in our teacher's training. My first major tears. There's another kid who wants to teach as well. Samuel walked around assisting kids who had trouble. He led the class in their native language, Lugandan. They all speak English well, but when they're with each other it's usually Lugandan. He'd had only 3 classes!!!!!!!! THREE! It took me 10 weekends and a lot of anxiety to teach my first class...no kidding!!!!!"