Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Trip to Uganda

I have been the Development Coordinator for the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project for just over a year now. I just returned from my first visit to our operations in Uganda a week ago. I spent about three weeks seeing the schools, the clinic, meeting the people whose lives you are transforming every day.

My mother told me that I would be changed by this trip and I really just shrugged that off because...well, I travel. I've been to developing countries before. I've worked with people living in poverty. I've spent the previous year telling other people about Uganda. So I thought I knew everything (which, in general, I do).

But then I got to the small village of Nyakagyezi. And I’m going say something I never say. were right. (Also, that counts as your birthday present this year.)

Believe me when I tell you that my world was the best way possible. The people that I met there and the experiences that I had will stay with me for the rest of my life. 

Furida and me
I met grandmothers like Furida-- A woman YOU  saved from homelessness! The day I met Furida was the day that the true impact of what Nyaka does truly hit me. Furida is the sweetest, most loving person I've ever met and she's all alone. 13 of her 15 children have died. The grandson she raised for 8 years died from HIV/AIDS, and her granddaughter ran away to find work. What Furida has survived broke my heart. She had every reason to be bitter about life but she chooses to be grateful for the blessings she has. She showed me her new house and new kitchen. She is so proud of what Nyaka has done for her. And she considers her Nyaka family to be like a child to her. Even though you've never met, you have a mother in Uganda who loves you and prays for you. 

Furida's going to be featured in our Ten Weeks of Stories. You can subscribe to our newsletters if you haven't already to get her story delivered right to your inbox!

And, of course, I met your children...

These are some of the nursery students at Nyaka Primary School.

Lots of your children...

Kutamba students love to have their photo taken. I mean LOVE it. If you visit, bring a big memory card for your camera and be ready to see a few hundred adorable faces all ready for their close ups.

Nyaka students are some of the best players I've ever seen. Getting these students to stop for a second for a photo was magical.   

These Kutamba nursery and primary 1 students are giving you flowers. This is something your students do when they want to give someone praise for something. "Our donors are amazing, let's all give them flowers!"

I didn't see this picture until I got back to the States. Don't they just melt your heart? 

One of the children I met was a little girl named Mable (who you're also going to see featured in our Ten Weeks of Stories). She's a sweet Kutamba nursery student of about 6 years old. Like the majority of your students, she's a double orphan. She walks miles to school. Despite the hardship I know she's had to face, she's full of joy. All of your children are. They have no problem focusing on the good in their lives.

The people I met are so happy for what they have, that it can be easy to miss some of the big problems. It was a while before I realized that the children I saw playing in the middle of the day--though adorable--reveal a sad truth. Many children in Uganda aren't in school. And the even sadder truth is, without a miracle, they're not likely to be anytime soon. And, even though we were able to help many of our grandmothers, there are many more who desperately need our help.
Two children in Nyakagyezi.

When I finally got a moment to catch my breath, I sat down to think about my trip--to process everything I had seen. I didn't just think about the children and the grandmothers. I thought about the ones who have been taken by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I imagined myself in their place. I thought of my own grandmothers and my two adorable nieces. If something terrible had happened and they were left all alone, I would want someone to be there. I would want someone to love and care for them as I no longer could. Obviously, no one can replace a parent or a child, but I realized that everyone can show love. Everyone can choose to change a life. I've decided to help.

I went all the way to Uganda but YOU can make a difference with the click of a button!

Making a gift today will help us ensure that your children and grandmothers are taken care of. As little as $21 a month sponsors a primary student's education. Or just $62 a month will build a house for a grandmother like Furida (over 1 year).

       I want to help!

Posted by Daniele Reisbig, Development Coordinator for the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project if you have any questions for Daniele, you can reach her at or at the US Nyaka offices at (517) 575-6623. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Meet Our Young Hero, Cameron Northern!

Cameron Northern has been a champion for Nyaka since she was 7 years old. She was introduced to Nyaka when T. Jackson Kaguri came to speak at her church. After he told her about the children he was helping in Uganda, her heart was changed and she wanted to do something. Cameron asked her mother if she could give her piggy bank to Nyaka. She donated everything she had to the children. But even that didn't feel like enough.

Cameron hand wrote letters to all of her friends and family asking them to send her their change. The response was tremendous and she raised $848.48 for Nyaka!

Cameron and her family were excited for the success of their campaign but she felt in her heart that God wanted her to continue helping Nyaka. Since that year Cameron, with the help of her parents, Seth and Ali, and her little brother, Brett, has planned a fundraiser to support Nyaka every year. Cameron's father, Seth, told us that she has no problem asking people for money because she loves this organization so much and has such a passion to help. The real challenge is coming up with something new every year. And she's done a fantastic job! From a school supply drive and collected 250 pounds of school supplies to selling flower pins they made in their kitchen (raising $750!), she's worked hard to do whatever she can to help your children and grandmothers.
Cameron told us "I always want to do something different than I did the year before. I like to be creative and I think that creativity helps when you fundraise. I’m just really excited to do this." Apparently her excitement is contagious because this year Cameron raised her biggest total yet! She entered an indoor triathlon that included swimming ¼ mile, biking 10 miles, and running a 5K. Cameron hand wrote letters to her friends and family asking for their support. On the day of the event everyone came to cheer her on. She did the whole thing in 1.5 hours! AND she raised $2,603 for your students!

Cameron's mother said, "This is all Cameron’s heart and soul. Seth and I are just behind her to support her."

Cameron has been sharing her story and passion for Nyaka for 6 years now. This is part of her story and the lessons she's learned her own words:

I am completely committed to helping these children. I have realized how fortunate I am and how much I have that these children do not. I realized that the pink bike I wanted was DEFINITELY not as important as a little kid on the other side of the world going to school and having food.  I have also learned so much through the process of raising money for Nyaka.
First, if you are passionate about something, tell others about it! Live and breathe it! Figure out a plan to help the organization you are passionate about and just do it!

Second, don’t be afraid to ask others to support you.  People have been so generous in supporting me and even telling me that they were so glad that I asked them!  I was amazed how my letters touched peoples’ hearts, and it was humbling to have them tell me that they were proud of me.  

Third, I learned that being creative helps your fundraising effort.  Every year I try to switch things up a bit and do something different which people seem to like and I can reach a broader range of people. 

 Lastly, I have also learned to have confidence in myself.  I’m not embarrassed or afraid to ask people to help Last year at church camp I even to stood up in front of a group of youth, told my story and encouraged them to support and fundraise for organizations that mean something to them. Nyaka has named me one of their “Young Heroes and Child Ambassadors”. I’m working with them and my parents to come up with new ways to teach and encourage children to give. 

Most importantly, all of this fundraising has taught me that even a young child like me can make a difference in the lives of people half-way around the world! All you have to do is ask and put in the hard work!  

We hope that Cameron inspires you as much as she has us!

Cameron is currently in the planning stages for her most ambitious endeavor yet. We won't spoil the surprise but we're really excited to see what this amazing girl does next!

Want to meet Cameron and her family in person? 
Join us for our One by One event in 
Bloomington, Indiana on November 1st! 
Email us at to find out more!   

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

E-Readers: Bringing New Technology to YOUR Nyaka Students!

Nyaka has the most enthusiastic, loving, and compassionate supporters in the world and Cath Inanir, one of our board members, is a perfect example. She led an effort to put e-readers in the hands of your Nyaka students. Because of her support and a partnership with Worldreader, your students will have access to over 10,000 books and technology that will prepare them for their futures! 

In July, Cath (pictured right) traveled to Uganda with Worldreader to give out 50 e-readers to your students at Nyaka Primary School and Kutamba Primary School. Together Cath and World Reader presented the technology to over 250 of your eager students, teachers, and staff.

They were greeted with gratitude and excitement! The students dressed up and sang songs. Guests came from the District Education Office, the Segal Family Foundation, and across the world to join the celebration. 

The children celebrated because they knew what a precious gift they were receiving.  These e-readers open your students up to a new world of possibilities. Books that might have been too expensive to purchase can now be downloaded more affordably. Students no longer need to wait months for books. Now they can be downloaded within minutes.

Illiteracy is an evil that harms individuals and communities. It keeps smart people from being able to bring their ideas to life. This isn't a small, isolated issue at all. There are 740 million adults in this world who cannot read or write and 250 million children of primary school age who do not have basic reading and writing skills (Worldreader). They are prevented from reaching their dreams. With the help of e-readers, these students and many others after them, will not have to be afraid that illiteracy will keep them from their dreams. Access to technology and literacy resources ensures that your students will be able to get the skills they need to succeed!

Want to learn more? Cath Inanir also spoke to our partners, Worldreader, about this experience in their blog. You can read it here!

Here are more photos of YOUR students gaining access to knowledge through their new e-readers!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August Michigan Volunteers of the Month

August Volunteer Spotlight
Jessica Sullivan

Tell me how you first heard about 
The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project? 
Jessica ran her first marathon on behalf of Nyaka.
I first met Jackson back in 2003. I worked at the bank. He walked in and needed to do a wire because he was "starting an orphanage in Africa." I was so fascinated with his story and what he was doing we became good friends. I remember getting pictures from him of the first well that was installed. I ended up moving in 2006 and we lost contact. Six years later I was reading CNN and read this title that said "Cashing in the American dream to help AIDS orphans" and I thought that sounds a lot like Jackson, clicked on the link and there he was! I emailed him, we reconnected and long story short I introduced him to some friends of mine that introduced him to TEDx Traverse City and the FIM Group.

 What about Nyaka inspires you? 
The ripple effect one person can have on impacting the world. These children have some of the hardest stories but they still have the biggest smiles. All it takes is one seed.

 What have you done to support Nyaka?
 I don't live in East Lansing so I can't volunteer there and I have young children so traveling
Jessica with her husband Ryan, and their two sons Shamus and Padraig.
across the world right now isn't an option. So I am an ambassador for this organization. Getting the message out about the story and introducing Jackson to anyone I can. My family and I also donate every year, attend the annual fundraiser and I ran my first marathon to raise money for NYAKA. I've also introduced the company I work for to NYAKA and we helped raise supplies for their school.

 What do you wish other people knew about Nyaka?
I wish other people knew just how much Nyaka was doing for the children. The holistic approach this organization takes is amazing.

 What do you do with your time? Work? Hobbies?
I am the Vice President of the Hagerty Group Office. I love to spend time with my husband Ryan and our two sons, Shamus and Padraig. We are die hard Michigan State fans, GO GREEN! When I'm not working I love to run, read books, golf, and listen to music. I'm a member of the Zonta Club of Traverse City and I serve on the board of The Children's House, an Independent Montessori school.

Young Hero Profile
Ashi Arora, 16 
Jackson Kaguri & Ashi Arora 2013
Ashi is a young lady who is very passionate about community service, giving back,and helping the Students of Nyaka! She draws her inspiration from her Professor, Anna Maheshwari at Schoolcraft College who introduced her to The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project and Jackson Kaguri.  Two people whom she says "are actively working to strengthen the importance of community service in youth."

Ashi has coordinated events and fundraisers at Schoolcraft Community College and Novi High School in Novi, Michigan as well as fundraising on her own raising over $2,000.00!  She initiated a fruit basket and a scarf fundraiser, and has also collected old books through a book drive for the students of Nyaka.  Ashi has also volunteered at one of Jackson Kaguri's presentations and at a Concert for Africa.
When Ashi takes a break from fundraising for Nyaka she says her hobbies are "getting involved in Novi Youth Council through various leadership opportunities with my fellow friends at Novi High School, exercising, and reading."

 Ashi is such an inspiration, and definitely deserves the recognition of being a Young Hero for Nyaka!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Ronald and Gloria are Grateful for YOU!

Imagine that you are a child—almost too young to keep memories—and one day your father, who has been sick your entire life, is gone. You never knew your mother but you know the same illness also took her away.
At the funeral, as you hold your younger sister’s hand, you hear the whispers. Slim. You don’t know what the word means but even your young ears can feel the weight and sadness behind it.

What you know for certain is that now you and your sister are completely alone.

This is the memory that Ronald has of his early life after his parents passed away from HIV/ADS. His story begins very similar to the story of many children in Uganda. Luckily for Ronald and his little sister, Gloria, two amazing things happened to them.

The first was that their grandmother learned about her son’s death. They lived far away from but, as soon as she heard that her grandchildren needed her, she made the long journey to rescue them and bring them back to her home.

The second occurred shortly after. Although their grandmother loved them deeply and cared for them as well as she could, she could not afford to send them to school. Then The Nyaka Primary School opened in their village of Nyakagyezi. Ronald and Gloria were among the first students to attend.

They were given free education, uniforms (with shoes!), healthcare, and nutritious meals!

Ronald and Gloria are now both in secondary school. In just a couple years, they will both be attending university and they will be able to repay their grandmother for the hard work and sacrifices she made while raising them. Ronald wants to be a teacher and his sister, Gloria, wants to be a lawyer.

There are so many children whose stories that people like you are changing every day. Precious, little lives that would otherwise be trapped in a lifetime of poverty, unable to share their gifts and talents with the world.

They have this opportunity because of the compassion of people like YOU!

Today is The Beginning of the August Global Giving Challenge!

YOU have the opportunity to make your gift go further this August through our partner, Global Giving! If you make a new, recurring gift to Nyaka at some time during the entire month of August, YOU could help YOUR children win $1,000 from Global Giving!

If we raise $2,000 in recurring donation funds for August, Global Giving will award us $1,000!  

There are just a couple rules to remember:
  • It must be a NEW recurring gift. (That means that you haven’t made a recurring gift to this project before.)  
  • You must keep your recurring donation for at least three months so your donation will count.
  • It must be between $20 and $200
  • It start on August 1st at 9:00am (EDT) and lasts until August 31st at 11:59pm (EDT).
If we don’t make our goal of $2,000 in recurring gifts, we will miss out on the $1,000 prize!

Please give starting TODAY at 9:00am (EST)!

Click here to make your donation!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July Michigan Volunteers of the Month

July Volunteer of the Month
Rose Cooper

Rose has been a Volunteer for Nyaka for over 2 years!  She has done a variety of Volunteer Activities including singing the national anthem at our 5k earlier in the year and helping out with mailings; she definitely has a favorite volunteer activity though! We asked rose to share a bit about her volunteer exerience with Nyaka in her own words:

"While I like doing 'normal' volunteer stuff for Nyaka when I have an opportunity, I really enjoy the supplemental charity organization that I was inspired to create because of Nyaka. There's a long story behind this. A couple years ago, I posted on my Facebook page that my motorcycle tire died and that I couldn't afford to get another one, thus essentially ending my motorcycle riding season before it started (I found the flat tire in March). I wasn't asking anyone to do anything for me, I was just lamenting the loss. Then something incredible happened, a bunch of #lovelansing friends of mine decided to come together and raise money to get me a replacement tire. I was (and still am) floored by this wonderful show of generosity. And I decided that that was a sign that I needed to do something about it. Since I'm kind of known around town for singing while riding my motorcycle, I decided to create 'Ride and Sing with SonicBOOM!', which I use as a way to raise funds for charitable organizations and events. I offer rides in exchange for a donation to that charity. And Nyaka was my first charity."
We appreciate everything Rose does for Nyaka and the Lansing community including lending her unique gifts, such as her voice, and her passions, such as riding her motorcycle.

Young Hero of The Month
Bailey Scott, 13

"It's fun to volunteer with friends and
while we are working, we are changing someone
else's life. By completing small tasks, you can help
change someone's life. It feels good to be
 a part of something so positive.
Since that day Bailey has regularly attended Nyaka's Volunteer Night's on Wednesdays and has donated 13 ½ hours of her time.  Bailey says, "I volunteer for Nyaka because of the fact that I am helping children get an education. The things we take for granted and have accessible are not always available for other people."  Not only does Bailey volunteer but she encourages her friends and sister to join in as well.  

Bailey is an 8th grader at Windemere Park Charter Academy where she learned about Nyaka when Jackson visited the school and gave a presentation.  Bailey said, 

"I learned that a small gesture on my part can make a big difference in someone else's life."

When Bailey isn't volunteering she likes to draw, read, camp, and spend time outdoors. She also like listening to music and hanging out with family and friends.

The Students and Grannies of Nyaka and Kutamba are fortunate to have such a dedicated, giving, and compassionate Young Hero volunteering and advocating on their behalf.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

June Michigan Volunteers of the Month

June Volunteer Spotlight

Arthur Wohlwil

Grandmother Basket Sale  Dec, 2013
Arthur has been a loyal Volunteer of Nyaka's for over 2 years!  He is a jack of all trades, and a Volunteer Extraordinaire so to speak. Arthur has helped with everything from mailings and office work, to basket sales, and events such as the Breaking Barriers 5K, and our annual fundraiser One by One.  If there is something that he can't do, we have yet to find it.  The Students and Grannies of Nyaka as well as our local office staff members are so blessed to have all of Arthur's help and support!

Arthur likes Volunteering for Nyaka because he believes in the cause and feels very appreciated by Nyaka staff members.

When Arthur isn't volunteering on behalf of Nyaka you can find him teaching biology at the Lansing Community College or out in the community volunteering.  He also enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, board games, and watching movies.

June Young Hero Profile

Danny Kuzma, 13

Danny Kuzma is a 7th grader at Windemere Park Charter Academy. In February Jackson Kaguri gave a presentation on Africa, Uganda, clean water systems, and The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project at his school.  After the students were dismissed from the presentation Danny found a quarter on the ground and was inspired to do something.  He immediately went back to his teacher and gave her the quarter and asked if she could make sure it went to Nyaka.
A Young Hero was inspired and a fundraiser, Pennies for Pencils, was born.  When Danny was asked why not just keep the quarter for himself he replied, "Because down inside of me thought they would need it more than I did."  That thoughtfulness was spread throughout, the 7th grade and together they were able to raise $48.16, enough money to buy 2,408 pencils in Uganda.

The students of Nyaka and Kutamba are blessed to have Danny as their champion, and we are grateful to have young men like Danny in our World.  When Danny isn't out changing the World he enjoys attending school, drawing pictures, and doing math.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

YOU are Keeping Girls in School!

One of the girls who graduated from
Nyaka Primary School in Decemnber 2013
It's been over a month since nearly 300 girls were taken from their school in Nigeria by the militant group, Boko Haram. This group represents one very real enemy of the success and safety of girls in Nigeria and across Africa. When the girls were taken from their school, the world's reaction was strong and visceral. We were repulsed by the idea that children could be robbed of their freedom and their right to build a better life for themselves. Millions of people--and I hope you're one of them--have shown their support for rescuing these girls. Groups like Boko Haram are only powerful when good people are complacent and silent.

And I hope you don't stop there. I hope you choose to take a stand through your actions.

There is another enemy that threatens the lives and freedom of millions of children every day.

There are 130 million children in the world today who are out of school because of poverty. A shocking 70% of these children are girls. According to research done in Uganda through Unicef, "adolescent girls are more likely to drop out of school, marry young, and deal with sexual health issues," making them more at risk to continue in a cycle of poverty. Without parents to support and protect them, girls who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS are even more vulnerable to sexual exploitation and assault. 

The benefits of investing in girls toward a community and its economy are dramatic. The Coalition for Adolescent girls reports that:
  • Just by graduating from primary school, she is already ensuring that she will have more control over her major life decisions. When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has two fewer children. That's good for her, for her community's economy, and for global population control. 
  • Not surprisingly, girls who go to school earn more money. They are more likely than boys to reinvest their money into their family (up to 90%!), which ensures that their parents and children will be taken care of. 
  • Girls who go to school send their children to school, ensuring that future generations will have happy, successful lives. 
Nyaka students at school 
There are organizations all around the world who are taking a stand against poverty and injustice to give children and families the opportunity to overcome their circumstances and build better lives for themselves. The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project is proud to count itself among them.

Thanks to YOUR partnership, we can face all of these problems together. YOU provide education, meals, sanitary napkins, and healthcare for girls every day so they can grow up and show the world what amazing things girls can do. YOU empower girls to believe in themselves, give them the knowledge they need to make good choices, and demonstrate every day that they are right where they belong: in school with a book in their hands.

If you aren't already a supporter, please join us. Together we can make sure that all of your children have all the tools they need to thrive.

Click Here to Donate!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

May Volunteer News

Nyaka has many wonderful supporters and volunteers. Every month we want to highlight some of the great work YOU do that helps your Students and grandmothers!

May Volunteer Spotlight Interview 
Dana Steiner

Dana was an intern for Nyaka during the Spring 2014 semester. She worked on grant research and development, which will help Nyaka raise money from many fantastic foundations we would never have discovered without her hard work. Our volunteer coordinator, Desiree, sat down with Dana for a quick interview. 

What do you do when you aren't volunteering?
I'm studying Professional Writing at MSU and plan on using my degree to do development work in the future. When I'm not volunteering, I'm either hanging out with my friends or I'm working...I work two part-time jobs: at the Broad Art Museum and as a student editor for the Museum Studies Program.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?
How much I'm into music. I collect vinyl records, mostly funk and soul music from the 70's.

Tell me how you first got involved with Nyaka.
I found out about Nyaka and was really impressed with everything the organization has accomplished so far. I knew I wanted to get experience in a nonprofit setting before graduating, so I approached them about doing an internship that would help out with anything related to grant writing.

What do you wish other people knew about Nyaka?
The story of how and why Jackson started Nyaka. It's very inspirational.

Why do you volunteer for Nyaka?
I'm happy to be involved with an organization that's working to help those affected by AIDS in Africa, especially children. I lived in South Africa this past summer, where prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS are among the highest, and visited areas where I saw its devastating effects. As an American, this really put things into perspective for me. I appreciate that Nyaka is providing AIDS orphans in Uganda with education and healthcare to help alleviate these major issues that the epidemic has resulted in.

What is it like to be a Nyaka Volunteer?
Everyone is really friendly, and it feels good knowing that I'm volunteering for a great cause!

May Young Hero Profile 
Gwenyvaer Kofoed, 8

Gwenyvaer has been raising awareness and funds for The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project for the past 3 1/2 years! She believes that every child should have food to eat, a home to live in, and people that love and care for them. Gwenyvaer knows that the students in the Nyaka and Kutamba communities are blessed to have her and Nyaka's help!

Gwenyvaer has been very creative in raising money for the children of Nyaka!  She has done everything from selling pencils to neighbor kids for
50 cents, to raising hundreds of dollars through selling Girl Scout Cookies, to donating a quarter when she comes into the Nyaka office.

Gwenyvaer does her best to tell everyone she knows about Nyaka, including her friends and classmates at school. This year she gave Nyaka post cards out as her Valentines. She also invited Nyaka staff members to read Nyaka's new children's book Sitwe Joseph Goes to School to all of the 3rd graders in her school.

Gwenyvaer also enjoys volunteering on behalf of Nyaka. She has helped sell Grandmother baskets and necklaces in the community,and volunteers in the office and encourages her friends to do the same.

We are so grateful for all of the amazing people who make a difference every day. Want to get involved? Contact our volunteer coordinator, Desiree Kofoed, at (517) 575-6623 or  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Rolling In The Class Of '21

It’s that time of year when all YOUR primary 7 students take a test to determine if they can go on to secondary school and vocational school.  

Your students have done extremely well! 

27 of your 28 Kutamaba students passed their final exams with a B+ or higher!

27 of your 33 Nyaka students passed with a B+ or higher. 4 passed with a C average.  

The students have overcome tremendous obstacles to prove their brilliance and talent. No one would see their wonderful potential if YOU had not believed in them first. Great job!

YOUR brand new Nursery class that just started on February 3rd! Can you imagine they will be graduating in 2021!
That’s a lot sooner than it may seem! Want to help them along the way!?  Want to make your donation go 30% further?
Join us for the Global Giving Bonus Day!

Global Giving is offering $75,000 that could go to YOUR children. With these funds, you could provide medicine, clean water, and healthy meals to more of your children.
You can get reminders about this event and stay informed by attending our event page on our Facebook event page!

Date: February 12th
Time: 9:00 AM EST (Be sure to donate early. Matching funds go fast!)
Some Details:
    • Matching is applied at 30% up to $1,000 per donor per project 
    • Only donations made by unique donors per project will be matched
    • Only online donations (credit card or PayPal) are eligible for matching
Here's the link:
We hope you can join us!