"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Friday, January 02, 2015

team 8: dawn

Team 8 was chock full of good human beings who really understood the experience and who happen to be blessed with the ability to beautifully express their thoughts and feelings. The following blog post is from Dawn, who, along with her daughter Emily, are the last two team members remaining at St. Mary Kevin. Dawn is on her third journey to SMK and recently became a CTT board member. We're incredibly lucky to have her in our corner, as you will see just  from reading this post. I think we should all consider printing her missive, hanging it on our office or kitchen wall and reading it daily. There are so many good lessons here.

"3 Things

This is my third trip to St. Mary Kevin in Kajjansi, Uganda, and my second with my daughter, Emily.  Our visit this year has been filled with exciting moments and quiet connections, all of which add to the layers of memories that I will always treasure. 

I’ve felt a certain comfort level being here this year that comes from being familiar with these surroundings that are so different from home.  Since I’m not using as much energy just trying to figure out the basics of getting from point A to point B this year and how to convert dollars to shillings, I’ve tried to soak in some lasting lessons that I can carry with me. 

Here are the three that were inspired by conversations with Rosemary Kavalu, the founder of St. Mary Kevin.  Along with her husband, Joseph, and their daughter, Joan Faith, 'Mama Rosemary' has created a safe, loving environment for hundreds and hundreds of Ugandan children for more than 20 years.  She is the auntie you wish you had and the role model we should all aspire to be.

1.  Life Is a Struggle.  We Need Each Other

We all face challenges in life, some more than others.  In a place like Uganda, where most people exist on $2 a day, the struggles can be overwhelming.  But we are meant to help each other, to reach out to those whose needs are greater than ours, and to lift each other.  This African proverb sums it up:  'If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.'

We watch the older children at SMK care for the younger ones, and all reach out to the littlest friends like Wasswa, David, Jane, Moureen, and Daniel.  In this village of children, where sadness can come on suddenly and there are no parents to offer comfort, I marvel at the system of support that sustains them.

2.  Be It Ever So Humble…

The Kavalus spoke to the children this week about working hard to achieve their goals, but to always remember where they came from.  They know that SMK is not the most beautiful or best-equipped place to grow up, but the children can still be proud of this only home that most of them have ever known. 

Part of moving forward in life is giving back to those who helped you or gave you your start.  This message is especially important for the secondary school students who are sponsored by Change the Truth.  As they progress toward a university or vocational school, and graduate into the world, they will be expected to visit SMK and offer any support they can for the next generation of students who will look up to them and gain inspiration from their achievements.

3.  Do It With Love

If there is one message that Mama Rosemary delivers again and again, it is this:  Do everything with love.  Give support with love.  Educate with love.  Inspire with love.  Grow and improve with love.  Love makes things possible, and things are possible with love.  Period.

Wishing everyone a healthy and love-filled New Year!"

- Dawn

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