We’re in Africa Now! Follow our Live Blog

Devaki with Mwebaza penpalsDevaki Douillard, our Development Assistant, is currently visiting our partner schools in Uganda and Kenya. She is posting daily blogs with the latest updates of our progress with lots of great pics too! If you’re a student, leave a comment with your penpal’s name and she might be able to post a photo of them and a greeting! If you’re not a student, she’d still love to hear your comments and thoughts. She is working on documentary interviews, scholarship programs, solar panel purchases, 2 new school building constructions, and sustainable lunch programs. Whew!

Follow her on this exciting journey from June 30th-July 26th. Go to the Africa Trip blog!

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

Dr. Fred Ssewamala from Columbia University Visiting Mwebaza School

This photo is a recent one from Mwebaza School. It shows Dr. Fred Ssewamala from Columbia University visiting Mwebaza School on a recent trip to Uganda. Dr. Ssewamala is a close friend of the Arnold family of Niwot, and presented to classes at Niwot Elementary three years ago about his life and work with Ugandan youth. Dr. Ssewamala spent an evening with Headmistress Namatovu Catherine and her family, touring the school.

Welcome, Ms. Namatovu Catherine!

After a long couple of years and two previous, frustrating attempts, Ms. Namatovu Catherine, the headmistress of Mwebaza School, will set foot in the U.S. for the very first time!  On Monday, December 5th, she will arrive in Denver for a lengthy 3 ½ week stay in Colorado.   After years of anticipation, so many teachers, staff members, students, and parents are eagerly waiting her arrival.

Several key components allowed us to finally secure a travel visa for Ms. Namatovu.  These include Mwebaza Foundation President Dale Peterson’s recent award from People to People International, Congressman Jared Polis’ staff working to convince the U.S. embassy in Uganda of Ms. Namatovu’s integrity, and the help of a generous immigration lawyer from Boulder (Megan Hall, Green & Gardner Law Firm).  Ms. Hall assisted Ms. Namatovu in assembling a portfolio showing her strong ties to her home country.  Of course, much credit can be attributed to Ms. Namatovu’s hard work, persistence, and faith.

During her stay in Colorado, Ms. Namatovu has a busy and exciting agenda planned.  After a short time to recuperate from traveling, she will be visiting and observing classrooms at Niwot Elementary, as well as giving classroom presentations to Niwot students about Mwebaza School and Ugandan culture.  Then, on December 15th, there will be a culminating, all-school, “All-American” celebration in honor of the cross-cultural friendship between Niwot and Mwebaza schools.  In addition to spending time at Niwot Elementary, Ms. Namatovu will be visiting Coyote Ridge, Lyons, and Eagle Crest Elementary Schools, where she will deliver more classroom presentations.

Sprinkled amongst her work at schools, Ms. Namatovu will be enjoying a myriad of social events, including holiday gatherings, sight-seeing, dinners out, and even spending the holiday in Durango and Colorado Springs with the Peterson family.  New experiences such as sledding, a Narrow Gauge Train ride, and a visit to Garden of the Gods and Seven Falls will culminate her travels.

It is with gratitude and warmth that we welcome Ms. Namatovu to Colorado!

MF Given Matching Funds Grant from Heaven’s Hope for School Construction!

The Mwebaza Foundation recently was granted $25,000 from the Heaven’s Hope Foundation of Boulder.  The Heaven’s Hope Foundation has worked closely with the Mwebaza Foundation in the past on several projects including the egg-laying chickens and keyhole gardens projects at Mwebaza and St. Paul Schools in Uganda, and the rainwater collection project at Mwebaza School.

The grant was given for the purpose of building a school for 10-14-year-old students on land purchased by the Mwebaza Foundation for Mwebaza School, and for building a new school building to replace the crumbling school buildings at St. Paul School.  This grant represents about half the amount that will be needed to complete these two projects.

Heaven’s Hope’s president, Mark Crossen, announced the grant at a dinner party given in honor of Ms. Namatovu Catherine, headmistress of Mwebaza School.  Ms. Namatovu is in Colorado during the month of December, visiting the partner schools of the Mwebaza Foundation, and sharing her culture with classrooms of students.

The grant will be awarded once the Mwebaza Foundation has raised $25,000 to match the grant sum.  We would appreciate your help in garnering the funds needed to meet this match, and make these two schools a reality for our African friends!

Clean Water for Mwebaza School

The Mwebaza Foundation recently received a generous grant from the Heaven’s Hope Foundation to assist Mwebaza School in collecting and storing rainwater to use as a water source for the school.  Currently, students and staff must hike long distances to get water – untreated water – and carry that water back to school in large containers.  Now, Mwebaza School will be able to purchase large storage tanks and use the roof of the school building

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