Education in Uganda

by Becky Carney

Rahbina brought us pineapples today as a thank you gift for our work supporting education in Uganda. When we first met her 14 years ago, she was unmarried and working in the Nakasongola where Jay and I were volunteering. Now she is married, a mother of six, and works as a secretary at the parish school. Today, my oldest son and her oldest son – both 12 years old – stood side by side. Oh how time marches on!

Sponsoring the education of children in Uganda has been an important initiative of many of our friends and family over the years. Our education mission began when I traveled with Jay to Uganda for a 2004 summer internship through Jay’s studies at Duke University. Through that trip Jay and I became acutely aware of the many challenges facing Uganda’s people. When we returned to the States after the Duke internship, Jay began volunteering as a member of Share the Blessings, a North Carolina based nonprofit dedicated to building wells and supporting education in Uganda and beyond.

The fundraising for school fees hasn’t always been easy. If fact, sometimes the burden of the need has felt really stressful. If sponsorship numbers were down, Jay would resort to running trail races or competing in triathlons to generate extra funding before school fees became due.

It was beautiful to see the letters of thanks and gifts of gratitude that 25 students shared at today’s gathering. It was hard for me to hold back the tears when my own parents’ names were read aloud as sponsors of a young woman named Sandra. While Americans often praise the notion of self-reliance, the reading of my parents’ names reminded me that I too was once a child and teenager who was dependent on others for support. Sandra, a youngest daughter of ten children, aspires to one day to be a lawyer and a sponsor for students in need.

The great blessing and challenge of spending time in settings like Uganda is that when you leave, the imprint of those you have met never leaves you. I have never forgotten Rahbina, and Sandra’s story and others are now etched in my memory as well.