Friday, August 26, 2011


Just in case anyone is checking, Mark is working on all the videos of our trip that we will post here.  Keep an eye out.

Thank you everyone for your support!

Mamma Koi Koi

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Our Last Day...

So, it's hard to believe, but it's actually our last day here in Jinja.  These two weeks just flew by. 

Most of the team went back to Wairaka to say goodbye for now to the villagers.  This was very emotional for all especially our ugandan families. 

I can't express enough how incredible these Ugandan people are, ESPECIALLY the children.  They just love you unconditionally and we love them back.

We aren't really saying goodbye though, we are just going back to the US for a while and will be back when they start their first term in the fall.  This is how we reconciled leaving and for the children, this worked as well.

We will post more pictures when we get home.  We finished all of our projects and want you all to see them in action in the form of pictures.

Ta Ta for now ... talk again when we are back in the US.

Mamma Koi Koi, Mark and Az

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A forgotten village - a forgotten people

The pictures above show a village that sits behind a very large Indian-owned sugar cane plantation.  No one knows this village is here.  They have no sanitation, no medical supplies or support, they have nothing. Some of these people in the pictures fled from the Congo, Rowanda and from the conflicts in Northern Uganda. 

Through a partnership with Grace Church in Kansas City, US, we will be able to finance the the first sanitation project for these people.  They have a very dirty well for which the government is concerned about it getting polluted from where the villagers go to the bathroom on the land.

The government is working on giving us land to build a small three-room school for the children in this village.  If we are able to accomplish this, the government will provide the teachers.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sponsored Koi Koi Children

Yesterday, Monday, August 15, the whole team went to the Koi Koi House to visit the 9 children still living at the Koi Koi House with Julius and Irene. We were accompanied by the Head Probation Officers (Uganda Child Welfare Office) in order for them to ensure our safety along with checking the condition of the home and children.

This was a VERY emotional visit.  All 9 children were in fact there and looked well.  We were able to give them their gifts by their sponsors and spend a little time with them. We also handed out shoes and t-shirts to them to have (and some lollipops!).  The Probation Officers wouldn't allow us to take video or pictures at the house at this time so as not to add more stress to the children.

We are gaining very important support from the Asst Chairman (Paul) of the Jinja district (highest in Jinja) and he also lives in Wairaka and has a major interest in that village and the work we have done and plan to do.  In addition, we have the support of Jimmy, Chairman of Child Welfare and Charities.  We have a meeting Tuesday with this group, the Chairmon of the Jinja District and another very high government official linked to the President of Uganda.

Along with following this route, we are also working closely with our attorney, Rhachel...taking both avenues against Julius and Irene.

Things are progressing well and we are taking every precaution to protect our children!

The remainder of the day was spent in Wairlaka taking video and pictures of the remaining sponsored children, giving them their gifts from their sponsors along with shoes and clothes.  We will soon post those videos on the sponsorship site so that the sponsors can see their children.

The last stop was back to the women's prison to give them blankets (Denise and Mamma Koi Koi purchased 60 of these warm blankets for the chilly nights in Africa!), the rest of the shoes and wash cloths for the women and their children with them.

It was surely a GREAT day!

Mamma Koi Koi

On The Way To The AirporT

Saturday August 6th, 2011

            I am on my way to the airport. Since my father went to Guinea last Friday, I wasn’t able to get anyone to get anyone to drive me to JFK airport so I was all on my own. I took the train then now I am on the Q3 bus heading towards the airport. On the bus as I was talking to the bus operator and he was asking me where I was going, I was thinking about all of the difference that I would experience in Uganda, more especially the two cities of Kampala and Jinja. I hadn’t been in Africa since 2002, when I left Guinea in April to go to the United States. It’s been so long for me that now all I know is America. Along the way, I stared at everything that I could so that I would have something to compare the life in Uganda to. I stared at the corner groceries, buildings, highways, buses, cars, people, plants, and even the animals (pets) that were outside. I kept on thinking about what I was going to see in Jinja. I still remember Conakry, Guinea, well a little bit. Ok I barely remember anything except for little places and people. I live in the capital Conakry and my family and I made a good living and we survived as best as I could. If Conakry were like Jinja I thought, well this would be an overwhelming trip to this country.
            An hour later on the Q3 bus, I finally arrive at JFK airport. Again I tried to picture what the airport in Uganda would be like. A moment later I snapped and looked at the time, and it was already 5:00pm. I started to rush and ended up going the wrong way to the A Train. At last I figured out my way and ended up at terminal 7 where I stood for an hour not realizing that The Giving Circle, the people whom I was to make the trip with were simply behind me. In my mind, I yelled where is the big sign that says:

            “The Giving Circle”

A few hours later we were on our way to the line.  It was time to make the trip to Uganda, but 1st we would have to stop at London’s Heathrow Airport for 12 hours .  I didn’t even get a Visa for London, and I knew that they would want to get in the city to see places.  

Umaru Barrie <3

Day 10 in Uganda!

Monday August 15, 2011

For a person who has never been out of the United States before this has been a zero to sixty experience that has changed my life.

I’ve been on a plane probably twice, and both were to Florida. So the two days of traveling to get to Uganda was pretty intense…but after landing and driving through the villages every materialistic concern, every selfish thought vanished. I remember writing down in my journal one sentence: “the world is so big, and most of us are so ignorant.”

My eyes were wide open for the first time and as the trip continued they just kept getting wider and wider.

I have met some of the happiest kids on the planet, and most of them live in poverty and some are very sick. It baffles me that in America a country where opportunity is around ever corner, most kids (including myself) have lived lives where nothing is ever enough and the appetite for materialistic things are never satiated, and yet here in Uganda where the opportunity…like drinking water and food…is not always there and yet you have these kids just happy with what they have.

At the Bursoga primary school we visited I met a girl named Brenda. She was 15 and preparing for secondary school. She told me of her dream to become a doctor one day. She told me that she works so hard in school to ensure that her dream becomes a reality. She was wonderful.

Her teacher told me that Brenda had lost her mother two years prior, and that she not only suffered from sickle cell anemia but she, like her mother before her, suffered from extreme scoliosis. After a few days of trying to be strong, I couldn’t hold back tears. Here was this girl with the cards stacked against her, so full of life.

I came here with the goal of trying to make a difference, and that is a goal I will most definitely continue to work on for the rest of my life. I am so grateful to be apart of such a wonderful team with dreams of making the world a better place.

One of my fellow teammates said to me on the first day that “you come here expecting to help the children, and in turn these children change your life” and they have done just that. All of these amazing people that I have met here in Uganda, and all of the things I have learned from them have touched my soul and have forever changed me.

-Jillian Langdon

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Greetings all, this is Mark.

I am so sorry post have not been coming fast when we combine a fully packed day, our GREAT wanting to spend every waking second the children and all of our Ugandan-And power and internet slow and/or down, please bear with us.

BUT know in time we will get you all the many photos-videos - updates and countless stories with the best ones coming from your loved ones when they return.

That being said it will be a job for our leadership team to drag your friends and family on to that plane to leaving Uganda to come home.

Uganda is called the pearl of Africa, your friends and family on this team, here for the first time now know why.

I will do my best to load some pictures, please enjoy.

Please be well ad happy from all of us here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hello everyone, this is Deirdre and Toni. Yesterday was a really fun day and felt relaxing compared to previous days here. We went to the secondary school to talk the students about nutrition, have a yoga class, do our pad project with the girls, and watch a movie. By the end of the day we spent a lot of quality time with the students.

The first thing we started with was our nutrition lesson. We went over the food pyramid and did an activity with a color wheel. The kids got very involved and seemed to have a great time. We hope it's something that stays with them and really does help their nutrition.

The second thing we did was the pad project. We sent all the boys out of the room for this! Denise did a wonderful job of talking to the girls about getting their periods and made everyone feel comfortable. Denise gave the teacher a book called the Elephant Heart and the teacher read it to the class and we could all tell she was so touched by it. We separated into groups and taught the girls how to make the reusable pads. We really bonded with the girls through this time and just had a lot of fun.

Andrea lead a yoga class which I think the students found really funny but enjoyed it. We then tried to put a movie on but our speakers were missing. As everyone was trying to get the movie to work, we all agreed that we've never seen such patient students. They sat quietly and hopefully waiting for the movie. We were going to show Invictus but I think we're going to try again later today.

Today we're going to the primary school for the Olympic day! I think this will be so much fun for the kids. Then we're going back to the high school for a dance!! We really cannot dance at all and have been dying to have someone teach us their dances so hopefully tonight will be the night!

This has been such an indescribable experience for us. We knew what it would be like here from hearing from other team members, but I don't think we ever could've been prepared for everything. We love the kids so much and I don't think we can even imagine leaving. It's really an amazing place and the people are just unlike any other.