February 13, 2023
Hello! Habari! Chi!
Each evening, I think that this evening will be the evening when I will have time to write an update – and each evening seems to end 2-3 hours later than expected and the plans for tomorrow require my priority. So, I am taking advantage of the three-hour drive to Nanyuki to compose and send this update! We are passing Mount Kenya as I type this.
In brief summary, our ABF African adventure has been a mixture of learning, inspiration, sadness, and overwhelming Love.
When I was asked by one of our Ugandan ABF students, how did I find Uganda? My answer was “Complex.”
Words and descriptions cannot do justice to the actual experience. It would be similar to trying to describe the Rocky Mountains or Great Barrier Reef to someone who has not been there. Actually, it is much more complex than that. That said, I will do my best to share some experiences and what I am learning.
The first lesson I have learned that in States, the scholarships ABF provides makes a difference in supporting our students. In Uganda, thescholarships that ABF provides makes a difference to not only the individual student, but also to the student’s family, friends, and community. The “Grandma” of the Jinja Christian Science society told me today that she (Anne Awori Osinde) was the greatest beneficiary of The Albert Baker Fund because of the blessings she has observed and received indirectly. Although Anne has not received any funding directly, ABF financially supported her daughter (Jackie) with her bachelors and masters degrees. Jackie’s education and abilities has resulted in progressively important career positions that subsequently has allowed Jackie to share her blessings with those around her. Beyond this, Jackie serves as the ABF In-Country Representative (ICR) for Uganda. Anne and Jackie came into Christian Science when Anne was healed of HIV/AIDS through Christian Science. Like I said above – this does not come close to speaking in-person with Jackie and Anne. And these are their stories to tell, not mine.
Let me try to share another example of another one of our graduates who was supported by ABF for both her bachelors and masters degrees. After being hired into a well-paying job, this graduate supported her four younger siblings’ education as well as supporting the education of her friend’s seven children. She has formed a savings group of fifteen women who collectively have saved 3,000,000 UGX (Uganda Schillings; $300,000 USD). After the successful execution of this group, she organized and joined a second group of eleven women who are saving following the same model. Aiding this ABF graduate has directly blessed another 35 people that I am aware of. There are very likely more who have been blessed because ABF funded this women’s education.
By the numbers, as of February 13 we have: Visited two countries (Uganda and Kenya) Visited three Christian Science Churches and Societies (Kampala, Jinja, Nairobi) Interviewed 17 ABF graduates and current students from Uganda (12) and Kenya (5) Met with and interviewed four ABF ICR’s (Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya-Nairobi, Kenya-Migori) Visited three primary schools and two secondary schools
We leave Kenya on Wednesday with our next stop in Accra, Ghana!