My first day in the Dominican Republic was overwhelming. The poverty was staggering. The discrepancy between what they have and what I have was sobering. The sheer number of kids and families who need support was paralyzing. The quantity of visible needs was disheartening.
Uganda is a beautiful country, full of historical and natural landmarks, including the source of the Nile River and Lake Victoria, the largest lake on the continent of Africa.
But most of our students have never traveled much further than walking distance from their village and our school. That's why it's become a tradition for COTN's seventh-grade class to take a study tour. Come see the sights of Uganda with them as you enjoy these pictures!
The school year goes from February to December in Uganda, and classes run through the summer. Children will attend "summer" camp in December, when their break begins.
But meanwhile, the summer months are packed with visiting Venture teams, and plenty of excuses for fun. One of our traditions in Uganda is to hold "Center Day," a day of performances, games, and learning that the whole community is invited to enjoy.
Sitting in the American camp office and laughing about campers and cultural differences, you couldn’t feel farther away from the harsh world Ireen paints with her stories. But they are her life—though it’s hard to believe this soft-spoken, confident, beautiful young Malawian woman was once fighting on the street for food to bring back to her abusive father and dying mother.
A group of American children huddled around a young Malawian man in the dark cabin, enthralled with his stories. “You mean you have cars and houses in Africa?” one asked in disbelief. Their Malawian camp counselor wasn’t offended or hurt by their stereotypes. His huge grin turned into a long laugh. “Yes! We have them! We don’t all live in the bush!”
Two years ago a young woman who had never even left her country set off on a journey across Africa. Her goal was to earn a college degree—an accomplishment both rare and difficult where she comes from. The path she took to get there certainly wasn’t typical. But then again, no former orphan girl from a remote village in Sierra Leone who earns a college degree could be called typical.