I’m going to Africa!!
This blog is my way of sharing the excitement about my upcoming volunteer adventure in Uganda. Many of you have asked about my trip and what I will be doing. This is my attempt to answer your questions and share my discoveries in words and pictures.
For about a month, I will be living in Bududa a rural village on the slopes of Mount Elgon in one of the poorest, most remote, and most beautiful areas of Uganda. I will be producing videos and teaching woodworking at the Bududa Learning Center.
The Center was started by Barbara Wybar, a Philadelphia school teacher, after she returned from a mission to Bududa organized by her Quaker Meeting. Over the past 15 years, Barbara’s amazing energy and dedication has transformed an idea into an international foundation that built a group of modern buildings and hired a full-time staff that serve the local people through the Bududa Learning Center.
The people of Bududa are the poorest of the poor. The birth rate in Uganda is one of the highest in the world and more than a third of the residents subsist on less than $1.25 a day. Homes are mostly mud huts and meals are cooked over an open fire. Torrential rains and mud slides make farming a challenge and the spread of AIDS has left hundreds of children without parents.
The Bududa Leaning Center strives to address these challenges through three programs.
The Children of Bududa is a comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of orphan children. In addition to placing kids in a caring home, they receive clothing, soap, toothbrushes, and medical care
The Bududa Women’s Development Group is a micro loan program that provides both small loans and business training so that women can achieve independence and provide a better life for their families.
The Bududa Vocational Academy is a full-time secondary school offering young adults training in six technical skills and trades: Tailoring and Sewing, Carpentry and Joinery, Brick laying/concrete practice, Nursery education/early childhood development, Hair dressing, and Computer Science.
During my month in Bududa, I will be making videos about all of these programs. The videos will support the Learning Center’s educational and humanitarian goals and help local residents become aware of these opportunities.
I will also be teaching woodworking side by side with the staff in the woodworking course and my friend Jim Sharp. He is a woodworker with many years of professional experience. Jim and I volunteered together in Louisiana helping rebuild homes destroyed by hurricane Harvey.
Jim and I have spoken with two Bududa volunteers – Kate O’Shea, Head of Wissahickon Charter School, and Eve Schwartz, Penn Charter science teacher. Even the mud and the rain couldn’t dampen their excitement. They were enthusiastic about their experiences at the Center. They enjoyed meeting and working with the friendly people and helping the Bududa Learning Center serve the community.
There is so much to write about and I haven’t even left for Africa yet. In future blog posts, I will be writing more about the village, the people, the Center, and the production of the videos. Expect to see lots of pictures and poignant stories about the local people and the staff of the Learning Center working hard to make a better life for the children of Bududa.
Be sure to sign up for the blog (and tell your friends) so you won’t miss out on the next chapter of my volunteering adventure in Africa.