Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This weekend turned out to be a great deal of fun. On Saturday, as Will wrote, we went to the graduation/turnover ceremony for KiBO. They turned over the items that they bought with the money they raised to a primary school. There were mattresses, roofing materials, and a water filter that Platinum Capitol turned over. As mentioned by Will, I was asked to speak as a "special guest." I was caught off guard. Following Agnes who gave a speech about how it was time for Ugandans to return to a time when doing a good deed was an act of kindness rather than a way to make a profit, I told the group about the Ingram Scholarship program and its emphasis on service I also told the story about Nicholas and the computer being a "tool."

Following the ceremony, Will and I went to lunch with Samali and Agnes and then to visit Agie's friend's grandmother. That evening, we went to Jeremy's home for a lovely dinner and to watch the European Championship in football (soccer). It was a great deal of fun. Jeremy and his wife Jamie are terrific host. Even better, their children kept us entertained and active. We fought with lightsabers, and I was shown how they water the plants aka "what we do to make our parents proud."

Sunday was a relaxing yet productive day. I decided that it was time for me to read the Harry Potter series, which Will brought with him. This was a terrific decision. They are so good. I can't stop reading. I am 240 pages into the Chamber of Secrets! Hopefully, I will be able to finish the whole series before I get home.

Yesterday, I started making appointments with different NGOs to meet about service projects for EAC children to participate in. This morning, I had the first of these appointments with an organization called BeadforLife (http://www.beadforlife.org/). This organization, as I understand it, has three programs. The first program is an 18 month leadership and empowerment program for women. During the first 15 months, women that come from dire circumstances learn to make paper beads. They then sell these beads to BeadforLife who send the jewelery to the US to be sold. Each time a woman sells beads, money is put in an account. The money in this account is for the women to start their own businesses in the last 3 months of the program. I was really impressed with the way that this program gave women the tools to succeed on their own. The second program, I believe, is similar to the first; however, women learn to produce soap rather than beads. Finally, BeadforLife provides funds for children that have dropped out of school to go to vocational school.

When I entered the BeadforLife compound, there was a celebration taking place. Women were dancing and singing traditional songs. I was invited to join. To my embarrassment, I did not have the dance abilities needed to be a successful participant; however, they were very welcoming and only laughed at me once. Witnessing how BeadforLife uses music was surprising and exciting. Because EAC focuses on music and dance, it is great when an organization shares this as it opens up widows for relationships. I can see EAC children using their talents when volunteering with BeadforLife. It is going to be interesting to follow up with the organization in the coming weeks.

Finally, I met an older woman from Boulder that was volunteering with BeadforLife. Last year, she and her husband decided to drop everything and move to Kampala for a few years. Mom and dad . . .

- Feldman

P.S: Go Mavs!!!

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