Archives for December 2013

Oversight, Assistance, Relationships: Summer Trip, 2013

DSC_0416This summer, the Mwebaza Foundation had an incredible group of volunteers travel to our partner schools in Africa. The President and Founder of the Mwebaza Foundation, Dale Peterson, organized and led the group through the variety of projects on which our team was working. Devaki Douillard, the Foundation’s first full-time employee, accompanied the team to document every aspect of the trip on film. John Mees, a retired Longmont optometrist, tested the vision of the students and teachers of Mwebaza Primary School and the community members as well. Mary Jane Mees, a local Kindergarten teacher and coach of the Love and Logic curriculum, directed a training program for the teachers of Mwebaza Primary School and St. Paul Primary School on effective classroom management. Jenna Olschlager, the music teacher at Niwot Elementary, taught the students at Mwebaza Primary School American songs and dances, while learning traditional African songs and dances to share with the students at Niwot Elementary. Kaitlin Litchfield and Leigh Gilmore, two practicum students from the Engineering in Developing Communities graduate program at CU, Boulder, oversaw the construction of the two new school buildings that the Mwebaza Foundation is currently building, and developed a maintenance manual for the water sterilization system and waterless toilets at both schools. It was a very productive and inspiring trip that has strengthened our relationship with our African partner schools.

Vote of Appreciation and Gratitude

DSC_0023.1My name is Namatovu Catherine, and l am the Headmistress of Mwebaza Infant Primary School in Kyengera, Uganda, and Mwebaza-Nkungulutale Junior School that is currently under construction! l am so thrilled to have this honor and say a word of thanks to you all. lt takes a lot of time develop the kind of friendship and love that we are enjoying as per now! We are so honored for this kind of intercultural friendship. We have learned and gained so much from you! Who would ever know that the jiggers [burrowing fleas] would be wiped out at St Paul by Devaki’s efforts, Mwebaza’s Development Assistant! Thank you.

This is a concept of love and dedication to a life of happiness regardless of environment!  In addition to the experiences that l, my students, and community members have with you, the pen pal letter cards with simple gifts in them, they are a life time of memories that one will never forget! And our students out here boast of that as few schools have pen pal friendships of this kind!

We are so honored and blessed that we now have one of the first two schools that are under constructions of that kind, with the first EnvroLoo toilet design ever in Uganda!!!!! So it is never easy to recall from the time this friendship was incepted and we used to send each other pen pal letters with such questions: How do you live? What do you eat? How do you go to school? etc.! But now each one knows the other much better! And very soon, we shall be sharing a balanced diet with you! Because, we have eggs, fruits, vegetables, vans, clean and very soon finished classrooms that are like yours!!  Haha aha! Such this is a learning, rewarding, and educative pen pal friendship!

Oh l must  thank the wonderful families, the students, teachers, and friends who have done much for us:
1) The Heaven’s Hope Foundation for its continued support, enthusiasm, and guidance;
2) The families and staffs of Niwot and Coyote Ridge Elementaries;
3) The Davis family for selling homemade skirts for scholarships for students in need;
4) Marcus Chaknova and family for raising the funds for vision testing and glasses for those who need them;
5) John and Ginger Douillard for their years of work for the Mwebaza Foundation;
6) The Board of the Mwebaza Foundation for its guidance;
7) Dr. John Mees and Mary Jane Mees, Kaitlin Litchfield, Leigh Gilmore, Jenna Olschlager, and Devaki Douillard from the American team that visited this summer;
8) Private family foundations that have helped us with construction costs;
9) KayLyn Giles for her grant writing efforts.
And so many more to thank than I can thank here.

l only wish it is not costly and it didn’t take 30 hours of travel time to visit, l would be back there in Colorado on a plane and visit you! l do miss you all!! Well, l can not describe all what this pen pal friendship means to us as for now, but just know you have friends across the seas in Uganda who love you, think about you. You are in our daily prayers.

Dear friends, l wish you the best of your days, and that may you smile all days long.

With much love and maximum respect,

Namatovu Catherine

Eagle Crest Elementary’s New Partner School

DSC_0030Eagle Crest has definitely made a difference, and now we’re looking forward to a new adventure, new friends, and helping in new ways.

Over the past couple of years, we have raised over $5,000 to help Mapampi School children in Zambia. We assisted in getting them tables, chairs, locks, school supplies, sports jerseys, toys, sports equipment, and even helped with building a house to successfully attract a qualified teacher! But, because of Mapampi’s remote location, communication has been difficult.

A NEW FRIENDSHIP…
Empakasi Primary School is located in the Nairobi National Park in Kenya.  We are looking forward to meeting our new friends through pen pal letters!  There are 350 children and 9 teachers there. They all speak Swahili. Most students are a part of the Masai Tribe, and some may not have a permanent home. They move from place to place, raise cattle and goats, and make lots of jewelry.

Students and staff at Empakasi Primary School face many challenges. They do not have a lunch program. There is poor security. They have no running water or electricity. Transportation is difficult there. Every day, some students have to walk over 3 miles to get to school. On their way they might even see a wild animal and have to turn back!

Eagle Crest students have spoken up about how they’d like to help!  We would like to assist with getting a self-sustaining lunch program started. Students believe gardens or an egg-layer program would be very helpful to the community there. It will take a lot of planning, however, because we don’t want to attract wild animals to the school!

We are very much looking forward to building our new relationship with Empakasi Primary School students and teachers. Our hope is to someday Skype with students there, or even invite a teacher there to visit our school here in Colorado!

New School Construction Underway

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The design for the new schools at Nkungulutale and St. Paul includes four classrooms that surround a covered gathering space, a kitchen, office, utility room and a detached toilet facility. The classrooms will have lots of natural light and will also include electricity for lighting and technology provided by a solar power system planned for the roof of each school. Rainwater will be collected from the roofs of the school buildings and toilet facilities in order to provide drinking and washing water. The layout of the school is intended to enhance access to future school projects, including gardens, orchards, and chicken yards.

Mwebaza Day Celebration

DSC_0119On December 5th,  Niwot Elementary celebrated Mwebaza Day with their sister school, Mwebaza Primary School. The morning started with a school assembly where the students were able to Skype with their pen pals from Kyengera, Uganda. The Niwot students, dressed in the colors of the Ugandan flag, performed popular American songs and a traditional Ugandan beat and dance that they had rehearsed. The students at Mwebaza School presented songs and dances they had created along with a popular American Christmas carol that they had learned. The Boulder Bike Underpass Choir volunteered their time to come and sing traditional African songs during the assembly. Throughout the day, the students at Niwot toasted to their Ugandan pen pals with passion fruit juice- a popular Ugandan drink. They spent time that day to reflect on their special relationship with their sister school in writing. At the end of the day, all of Niwot Elementary joined in a drum beat broadcasted through the school intercom to reflect the unity among themselves and their friends abroad. Mwebaza Day was featured on the front page of the Longmont Times-Call newspaper. You can find the article at: http://www.timescall.com/news/longmont-schools/ci_24665706/niwot-elementary-students-perform-their-ugandan-pen-pals.