“When the music changes, so does the dance”

Posted on: February 2nd, 2012 by Courtney O'Callaghan No Comments

That’s the new logo of our Spirit of Uganda 2012 Tour T-shirts (pictured above). The African proverb speaks on a deep level to all of our students.

Half of those students arrived in the United States on New Year’s Eve to begin the four-month Spirit of Uganda tour. Meanwhile, the 21 primary and secondary students left in Uganda are carrying on their own dance.

Last November, the group returned to their respective villages/homes, where they each had to carry out a service project.

Here are some of the highlights:

Phyllis Asiimire, 14, spent her school holiday volunteering at a home for babies.

Phyllis Asiimire, 14, spent her school holiday volunteering at a home for babies.

Phyllis’ first visit to Sanyu Babies Home was with Empower African Children…

 She observed that the home received many (although not enough) material donations, but there were not enough people to carry, hug, play, feed, and love the babies.

During this school holiday, Phyllis volunteered there for a week. Her day started at 6:30 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m. Her tasks included waking, bathing, dressing and feeding the babies, making their beds, laundry, helping in the classroom, and changing diapers — her biggest lesson of the her time there, along with learning the tragic histories of the babies.

She feels the experience has made a difference in her life, the lives of the babies, and the “mothers” who care for them. Phyllis wishes to see the birth rate in Uganda drop and for schools and communities to engage in teaching about the consequences of early parenthood. This, she believes, will curb the cases of child neglect and abandonment.

Daniel Tashobya, 18, organized a behavioral change workshop in his uncle's community.

Daniel Tashobya, 18, organized a behavioral change workshop in his uncle's community.

Daniel’s uncle owns a traditional dance troupe…

In his interactions with the troupe, Daniel noticed there was a general lack of respect for leaders, for each other, and time for prayer. He organized a behavioral change workshop for the troupe and other interested locals. He asked a teacher from the his alma mater, Taibah Junior School, to give a talk on HIV/AIDS, as well as a community development agent to talk about living and working with others. More than 50 people attended the workshop, which was so well received Daniel plans to have it annually.

 

 

 

Jengo Munawiru, 19, focused on teaching his community good hygiene habits.

Jengo Munawiru, 19, focused on teaching his community good hygiene habits.

Jengo has the rare opportunity to influence people in two countries – Uganda and Tanzania…

His home is on the Uganda-Tanzania border in southern Uganda. Last year, he conducted a soccer camp and tournament in Uganda. This year, Jengo tackled hygiene in Tanzania, which, by the interest and help from a few individuals, spilled over into Uganda.

He started his campaign by cleaning his home, compound, and bathrooms. He then recruited five individuals, who went house to house teaching people how to clean their homes, compounds, bathrooms, and keep their babies safe. As a result, people started collecting their trash in plastic bags and burned it less often than before. He will continue to inspect and teach whenever he returns home. His hope is that those in his community have learned the importance of good hygiene and will maintain it.

When our Spirit of Uganda performers dance their way into your hearts over the next few months, we hope they are influencing you in meaningful ways. In the same way, we hope all our students positively influence others wherever they go — be it on a renowned stage in New York City on in a little village in Mitooma.

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