Why We Go: Relationships Matter

Why We Go: Relationships Matter

Why go? Sixteen pairs of feet connected with Ugandan dirt on July 30th, 2013, anticipating experiences as part of Ugandan Water Project’s Team #16, unaware of just how deep that dirt would sink.  No hammers, no shovels; just 5 senses and eager hearts. One of the misconceptions of humanitarian organizations is that people who have should go and do for people who lack.  Those going on short term trips are often asked, “What will you be doing?”  Tasks and accomplishment are seen as goals in helping others rather than understanding and partnership.  In reality, it’s much less about doing to cause a physical change and more about being to foster relationship between one human and another. If this is the perspective we should take when attempting to “be the change” and leave legacies of social justice, why does UWP take teams of volunteers to Uganda three times a year?  How do we respond to those who question the time, money, and effort of travel; why aren’t we wielding hammers and shouldering shovels? Because lasting change happens in the context of relationship. Relationships require face-to-face interaction where real conversation happens, where a genuine desire exists to know the answers to “How are you?” and “What do you dream of?” and “How can I help?”  They require that we patiently learn about another’s culture and stop looking at the world through our own lenses of how, when, why. They require time spent alongside, trekking down pitted paths to stagnant watering holes, witnessing human beings filling jerry cans of heavy water to carry the burden of death back to homes of mud,...

Chicken President of Wandegeya

It was the end of a long day spent with miracles-in-the-making, street kids in the slum neighborhood of Kivulu, Uganda.  Our team had been playing football, trading songs, hacking out broken conversations with young boys (with old eyes) and at the end of it all we said our reluctant goodbyes and clambered up into our rickety coaster (short buses used when we can’t fit in a normal van). We had opted to skip lunch that day – choosing instead to serve our young friends and talk to the “uncles” that run the grass roots program that is reaching out to these kids. We were hungry. We were I-haven’t-eaten-in-10 hours HUNGRY. Ugandan Water Project Team #8 was now sitting in our van looking expectantly at me and the question was voiced that they all were asking – “what’s the plan for dinner tonight?” My reply was simple and undetectably cryptic – “I was thinking, Chicken President, for dinner.”  It sounded simple enough to them.  Our van creeped through traffic as we approached the clock-like intricacy of the Wandegeya Roundabout – after escaping the concentric circles of cars, bicycles, trucks, and motorcycles we squeezed along the narrow side-streets of Wandegeya and came to a stop.  Some of our team looked out the window hoping to see the establishment with a sign for “Chicken President”.  The door to the van opened and in climbed an unexpected guest.  A young man in his twenties with long corn-row braids, and sunglasses climbed in and removing the glasses he greeted our team with a smirk and a smile, “Greetings, I am the Chicken President of...

The Moment: crossing the 80 line

Dateline: Bloomfield NY May 25th 2012 James Harrington is approached by a video camera just as the sponsorship for two new tanks arrives in the mail boosting the Ugandan Water Project’s tank total to...

UWP 5K Run/Walk Saturday April 23rd. 2011

Join us at Powder Mills Park, Rand Lodge in Pitsford, NY on Saturday, April 23rd for our 2nd Ugandan Water Project 5K Run/Walk.  Last year was a great event featuring live music, great food, Ugandan crafts and lots of great people enjoying the crisp spring morning and showing support for UWP. Download the Race Brochure (click here) Win Fundraising Prizes (click here) This year we are expecting more than 200 participants of all ages to run and walk the 5 kilometer route through scenic Powder Mills Park.  The event will again enjoy the precision and efficiency of our partnership with Fleet Feet Sports The morning will get started with registration at 7:30am at Rand Lodge with the 5K starting at 8:30am.  Kids can participate in the 1K Fun Run at 9:30am and enjoy medals for the top boy and girl finishers.  Participants have two options for registration.  The race fee is $18 in advance, $20 day of race, However – all participants are welcome to raise personal sponsorship and anyone with at least $50 in sponsorship will have their registration fee waived.  The top 3 fundraisers will win great prizes (ipod, portable DVD player and gift cards). Businesses who would like to share their support for the Ugandan Water Project with the Rochester Community are welcome to participate as Corporate Sponsors and also bring a team of runners. Click here to view our Coporate Sponsorship Options. Last year this event raised nearly $3,000 to help bring clean water to people in Uganda and this year our goal is to double that amount!  Get your friends, family and colleagues out...