Monday, June 21, 2010

Carrying your things

A wonderful age old way to carry your things is seen here. Teaching this approach to your children ensures that this tradition will continue.

main building

Kevin Roulhac and I visit with the teacher of the catering department. In the background is the main building of the school.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Greg Ebersole

Greg traveled with me again to Uganda. A professional photographer, he took the pictures you are seeing and will see from our Uganda visit. A college classmate and a dear friend, Greg now lives in Cali Colombia South America.
Here he is standing with his new found friends in Pader, Uganda

Having Fun

Here the young students play soccer outside of their class room.

School Girl

Jen is studying catering at the ABCS. Like all of the other students she is an orphan. She is also a single mother. There is not currently a day care program for the mothers who are students. This is something we talked about and will hopefully find a way to provide for the mothers at the school.

Uganda Ceremony

I saluted the people for their dedication to excellence and for their ability to survive the many atrocities inflicted on them by the Lord's Resistance Army. I spoke of the three hundred year period of institutional slavery in the united States. I framed it in the context of suffering and overcoming and linked the suffering of the African American to the suffering of the Acholi people of Northern Uganda. Here we made a profound link. I find this link every where I travel together with the common link of music to aid in binding us together

Uganda ceremony

I had the honor of watching many dances at the ceremony\celebration for the items be brought to them. The photo of the children dancing was a real highlight for me. Fortunately I also have it on video and will eventually be able to show it to you in video form.
Here you see the colorful costumes and the dance steps of the children. It was simply amazing.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Uganda ceremony

One of the highlights of the ceremony was when a public official spoke. He referred to me as "one who has come home." He suggested that "I left as slave but returned as master." What was clear is that the people of the small town of Pader have claimed me as their own. It was a wonderful feeling to be in that moment with this African community and to feel the connection and appreciation.
The Anthony Brown Comprehensive School has many needs. There is need for desk top computers and a connection to the internet. They need more class rooms and expertise in developing an academic track to their curriculum to compliment their vocational programs.
These formerlly abducted child soldiers are eager to learn. I was impressed with their focus and discipline. They work hard but without the neccessary resources to advance their education, it will be difficult for them to compete. Friends of Orphans has created a place for them to learn. Now I must work together with others to help them advance in their lives. What an exciting challenge!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Uganda ceremony

On June 16th the officials of Friends of Orphans had a huge ceremony to celebrate the supplies we brought to the Anthony Brown Comprehensive School. There was much singing and dancing, speeches from various officials and a speech from me. The Hesston Mennonite Church sent with us a prayer shawl and a cup. Both items were made by members of the church and represent our connection and interest to commune with the people at the school. The photo shows me presenting the items toRicky Richard at this outdoor event.
Aftterwards we presented the supplies to them on behalf of Hesston Mennonite Church and committed to remember them in our prayers. We then enjoyed eating goat meat and rice This food is eaten and served when an honored guest arrives.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Journey to Uganda

On June 10th I embarked on a jounney to Uganda with Greg Ebersole and Kevin Roulac. Kevin is a student at Emporia State University from Hesston Kansas and Greg is a professional photographer from Longview Washington. With the fundraising assistance of the Hesston Mennonite Church, we were able to buy supplies and equipment for the Anthony Brown Comprehensive School in Pader Uganda. The school educates formerlly abducted child soldiers and vulnerable children. I laid the cornerstone for the school in 2006 when I visited Uganda at the request of Friends of Orphans, and organization which works specifically with child soldiers.
Our tme here to date has been spent assisting in buying the needed supplies and equipment for the school. We have also spent considerable time on the campus talking with students faculty and admnsitration. We have learned a great deal and will be reporting about it.
The ABCS is a skill based institution focusing on vocational skills with the view of preparing student for work. The programs include: wood working, welding, computer training, bricking laying, auto mechanics, tailoring and catering.
Today we will officially hand over the things we provided for them in a formal ceremony. I will report on that later today.