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

Friday, August 26, 2016

post from brittany

It has been proven that music incorporated into schools improves the overall academic achievement of students. With a quick google search, you can find study after study that links music classes to improved brain function and increased test scores. Offering opportunities to the children at St. Mary Kevin to study music is just one of the ways CTT volunteers are able to encourage future success. Not to mention it is just a really good time!

For the past week, the younger students at SMK have received an immersive musical experience thanks to the ladies of Uptown Violins. Here's a brief update of their activites:

We finished our first week of music camp with the younger children! The children are so cute and high energy! Their creativity and innovative spirits shine through each day.

Some highlights were: a call and response clapping song titled "Flee, Flee, Fly," a musical painting craft, learning note names and Rhythms incorporating them in a spirited game of basketball. However, performing a song from the movie Tarzan using rattles, boom whackers, violins, and clapping was the ultimate in fun!

                                                                                                                          --Brittany Peterson


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

first impressions

First impressions can be a tricky thing. Sometimes they are totally wrong. Other times they are spot on, like they have been for Sherèe in her first days at St. Mary Kevin. In her own words, here is what she has to say about what she has observed so far.

We have been at SMK for two days! We are living, breathing entertainment. From our violins, our funny names, Ben's extreme height, and the color of our hair, we almost seem from another planet! However, what perhaps has been the subject of greatest interest is that we are family. Family—what a loaded word for many of us. Be it one that brings to mind pride, love or possibly trouble, it is something many of us understand. At SMK family isn't a known entity but rather an intellectual concept. How can we even begin to teach it? We are here all together—a father and mother, who are also simultaneously jjajas (grandparents in Ugandan), sisters, a brother. This does not even include our other three sisters, brothers, niece, 11 uncles, 10 aunts, and 30-some cousins. That is simply unbelievable! But there is also family at SMK. The kids demonstrate there love for Melissa and pride in their matron Josephine. The older children help the younger with their English, their washing, etc. Family is something not to be overlooked, be it the one you are born into, or the one that you form. We are very blessed to be here and help share the love of family while also witnessing a very close-knit Ugandan one.
                                                                                                                          --Sherèe Lutz

                                                                   Ben and new friends. 

                                                                               New hair-dos.

                                                                                New music. 

                                                                                             New experiences. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

chapter 11 begins

Change the Truth chapter 11 officially begins!

It will be launched right here featuring blog posts submitted by some very lovely volunteers who'll be traveling to St. Mary Kevin Children's Home in just one week. The Peterson/Lutz family of five will be in Uganda until September 3rd, and their visit will overlap with Natalie's (who will be there until the 12th).

Stay tuned for their journal entries and photos.

*** Now it is possible to subscribe to this blog and receive a notification whenever a new post is published. Simply enter your email address in the little window to the right at the top of the page.

Thanks for hanging with us all these years, and welcome to those of you will be following along for the first time!

Saturday, August 06, 2016

an old dog jumps through a new hoop

As most of you know, I enjoy dabbling in pastels and have done so for a couple years. I've never taken a drawing class (until now), and I really only started playing around with the colorful chalk sticks as a diversion from photography. When I had shoulder surgery last year, drawing with my non-dominant hand (I couldn't use my right arm for six weeks) provided such a challenge and such an incredible amount of joy that I realized I was hooked on a new medium.

As most of you also know, I am now turning these naive drawings into little coasters and have started a small business called "Gloasters." My bestie Gail came up with the name, combining "Gloria" with "coaster." I've been promoting the gloasters on Facebook and have opened a store on Etsy. Friends have been so nice about making purchases, and I feel grateful that no one has laughed at me yet!

This past week I did my first art street fair. Eddie and I bought a tent canopy, two 6' folding tables, a receipt book and a few cardboard display stands and offered the coasters to the public on First Thursday in Portland. At $5 a pop, I figured we could sell a few, though I really no idea. Luckily, people did seem to enjoy them, and we sold at least enough to cover all the supplies we'd purchased! (I'm also selling beautifully printed 7" x 7" signed prints of each drawing for $25.)

did i mention we also brought chairs and a bottle of wine to the street fair?
here's my sidekick, taking a break from selling

Yesterday I sold the 150th gloaster to a friend who come over for a visit (it's hard not to see them when you step into our small apartment, as they are front and center on the only table!). In honor of the sale - and the fact that I've signed up for a second street fair - I drew all evening till I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.

My Kansas City friend Greg Azorsky is manufacturing the gloasters for me. He's the nicest guy, does a fantastic job and is a great cheerleader. I am grateful to have him in my corner!

When I was a kid I sold greeting cards door to door. I represented the Wallace Brown Card Company. I loved the challenge of making sales, loved keeping careful records and was always so thrilled when customers liked their personalized orders.

I've always had an entrepreneurial streak, I suppose, so becoming Ms. Gloaster (as Eddie likes to call me) suits me just fine.

Here are some of the new additions to the Gloaster family. I love making them, and I am just happy that others are enjoying them, too! (They couldn't be more different from my black and white photos.)



red dress

hanging the moon

happy hour


I mentioned that I'm taking my first drawing class. We work with charcoal only, and I am absolutely loving it! Here is a drawing I made a couple weeks ago. Probably not Gloaster material...

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

post from natalie

CTT’s dear friend Natalie will be traveling to Uganda for the 5th time later this month. She’s been very busy preparing for her visit with the children at SMK, and that has had a lot to do with ripples. Please read her missive to see what I mean:

Every wave starts with a ripple. Or, so they say, I suppose. When you think about it, that gives an awful lot of power to one little drop of water. It ignores all of the other drops that join with that bit of energy and start moving forward. It's in that transference of energy that the magic really happens. It’s what keeps the surfer on his board, moves ships across the ocean, and even maintains the temperature of our atmosphere. 

Making positive change in the world starts a lot like a wave in that way. It takes one person to put their toe in the water and splash around a bit to get things going. But it is the efforts of many that create real movement. Preparing for my return to Uganda has reminded me of this simple truth--our efforts are a result of who we bring along with us.

For the past month, my mailbox has been filled with packages containing supplies that will support the academic, artistic, athletic, and health needs of the children at St. Mary Kevin. Gifts have arrived from all over the country--from people I know well, and some I have never had the pleasure of meeting in person. All told, I will be carrying the energy of over 60 people with me across the ocean.  And just like the drops of water that start a wave don't always make it to shore, the people I bring along with me will probably never have the privilege of knowing these great young people personally. But, the energy they have generated will be felt for years to come as a giant wave of love. 

On behalf of all of the students at SMK, I thank each and every one of you who selflessly gave of yourself to ensure our students are supplied with the tools they need for school. I thank those of you who invested in our artists. And I thank those of you who provided our kids with a few things that allow them to just be kids for a while. It is because of you, CTT has been able to do all it has for our kids. I am honored to be carrying your hearts with me. 

- Natalie