Monday, May 27, 2013

Why You Might Care About Uganda....

Some may ask, "Why Uganda?"

Welcome To Kampala

I might reply, "Why not?"

This is my second time having the privilege of visiting The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project (NAOP) in rural southwest Uganda.

As Director of Development for NAOP, I eat, sleep, and breathe the students of Nyaka and Kutamba Primary Schools in the United States daily; however I too need a reminder every now and again as to why with all the need in the world, them?

Country Manager Jennifer Nantale, Director of Development Kelly Voss, and our travel coordinator from BIC Tours Sam Mugisha planning the next few weeks of donor visits

Why do I call donors, write letters and grants, and seek funding for grannies raising an average of 5 orphans living a 19 hour flight away?

Why does my 17-year old son often get left behind while I fly to speak to donors or foundations about our work?

Why do I swallow my ego and nerves to speak up any chance I get to anyone who might listen about our important work?

Why you might ask, should you care? 

With all of the need in the world, in the United States, and in your own community ~ why should these children and students continue to receive a portion of your philanthropic time, talent, and treasure?

It might be because of the statistics.  Out of a population of roughly 32 million in a state the size of Washington there are 2 million orphans predominantly a result of the scourge of HIV/AIDS.  That's a lot of children born into a circumstance for which they didn't ask.

Perhaps it is because this country, a mere 50 years old (post-colonial) offers a unique opportunity to grow and educate a middle class and to embrace democracy ~ a possible deterrent against terrorism ~ a recognized global threat.

Or maybe it is because you recognize the unbelievable ROI afforded by our students.  For a mere $.68 a day you can ensure a student has 2 daily meals, access to medication and sanitary products, clean water, and the life-changing experience of a primary education!

Perhaps you want to leave this world a better place for your children and grandchildren and all of the important young people you love?

My son is volunteering at the schools this trip ~ it will be a great opportunity for both him and our students to learn about one another's culture.

You may be like me and believe all of the above to be true, but there might be something more for you like there is for me.  I care.  Our global community is important to me.  I want to live for something bigger than my single little life here on our earth.

As I trudged through security madness, lost bags, 19 hours of plane time, and unbelievable back pain from the weight and stress of the trip, I reflected on our grannies' lives.

They were born into subsistence farming; raised and then lost (typically to HIV/AIDS) their children and now are raising their children's children.  They have no help other than what you, our precious donors, provide.  And do you know? They are some of the happiest most joyful people I have ever met!

Two of Nearly 7,000 Grannies We Serve Thanks to YOU!

And so, I can put up with the little inconveniences in life, and have even learned to do so with a smile and patience (usually).  I want to give my life meaning and purpose while helping others and The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project is a perfect training ground for this to happen.

I'll be blogging about our students and grannies whilst here in Uganda over the next few weeks.  I hope that you enjoy their stories and that it inspires you to live bigger and more fully and to give generously of your time, talent, and treasure.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining me on this journey.  It is an honor to walk hand-in-hand with you.  Webale!

~ Kelly

Follow #nyakabound on Twitter for all of the updates on my trip!