Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Above, Laundry Day at Kisa Primary School

I just got back from a satisfying and productive 3 week trip to Uganda. Among the highlights of the trip were:

Josephine Namuwawu:
Josephine graduated from the Kampala YMCA Catering and Management training program
 Feb. 27, and got her first full time restaurant job just two weeks later. Kisa Foundation has been supporting Josephine through secondary School and the 'Y' training program since 2009. She's a dedicated, hard working woman who achieved top grades in the 'Y' program. Congratulations, Josephine.

Celebrating at Nando's on graduation day.

I distributed a huge pile of soccer gear including outgrown cleats, jerseys, shinguards socks etc which were donated by families from Footfire Soccer Camp, part of Playing Life Academy of Berkeley CA. The recipients of the donated gear were the Nansana Youth Football Club which I once served as Manager, and the Kisa Primary School football team. The kids and their coaches were ecstatic about the new gear, even though some kids on both teams still play in barefeet and street clothes.
Nansana Youth Football Club members show off their newly acquired shoes and jerseys.

Kisa Primary School Football Team.

Kisa Primary School:
I was a volunteer teacher here in 2007-8, and have maintained a strong connection to the school and its founders, Jimmy and Irene Kibuuka, ever since. On this trip, armed with a generous donation from Harriet Koch, we bought 25 new desks for the classrooms and 12 new bunk beds for the dorms. The new desks and beds have welded steel frames and appear to be nearly indestructible.
Painting the new desk frames before they are fitted with wooden seats and tops.

Kisa Pre-School:
Kisa pre-school now has over 50 pupils ages 3-5. Director Irene Kibuuka is constructing two new classrooms and an office allowing the school to double its capacity. With the help of a donation from Harriet Koch, we bought 70 galvanized steel roofing sheets and several bags of cement to continue the construction of the new facilities.

Loading roofing sheets.

A masonry worker prepares to add a new course of bricks to the new classroom building now being built.

Uganda Art Consortium-Mulago Project:
We laid plans to re-start the art therapy sessions for HIV-AIDS patients at Mulago Hospital in April. Kaspa Kasambeko and Yusuf Ssali will be coordinators for Uganda Art Consortium. We had two meetings with Mulago officials Elizabeth Tindyebwa and Brenda Mitchell and decided to focus on developing art items with the best marketing potential.
Preparing fabric for tie-dyeing.

Namungona Children's Art Center:
Fulfilling a dream of many years, we've built a permanent home for the Childrens Art Center in a converted shipping container smack on the main road in the heart of Namungona across from the Mvule boda-boda stage. The new gallery/studio/office/workshop will serve hundreds of local kids with classes in painting, drawing, jewelry making and other craft skills. Funds to buy and equip the new headquarters came from our 2013 Indiegogo campaign and a generous donation from Harriet Koch.

Container arriving on-site.
Supervising the installation: Kaspa Kasambeko, Mathias Tusiime, Uganda Art Consortium, and Prof. Philip Kwesiga, chair of the art department at Makere University.
 Moving the container onto its new foundation

Constructing the roof.

The container replaces our old studio (below) which served the project for several years, but was too small for any but the most basic activities:
 Our old Namungona studio.


I gave a guitar demonstration to Ssekaja Ibrahim's 5th level class at Kisa PS.
I met my old friend Paulo Kasumba, and traded some songs with him. Paulo made his living as a street musician when I first met him, playing his own songs on his hand-made Adungu, the traditional Ugandan 11 string harp. Now he's working as a cook in a primary school.

I visited a workshop for children from market vendors' families held by Mathias Tusiime at Kalerwe Market.

Overall, a very satisfying and productive trip.