UWP Team #22 Now Open!

UWP Team #22 Now Open!

NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR UWP TEAM #22! TENTATIVE DATES: February 5-18, 2017 COST: $3,500 – includes airfare, visa, housing, meals, in-country transportation, travel insurance, and project programs. APPLICATION DEADLINE:October 3, 2016 WHY GO?   Life-change happens in the context of genuine relationship.  That’s why we don’t just send resources to implement new water projects; we also send people…  people like YOU!  If you have a desire to go to Uganda, you also have the opportunity to represent and share your experience with those who Our team members are an active part of our organization while in Uganda.  You help build bridges between the US and Uganda, bringing sponsor stories to Ugandan communities and taking experience and a passion for advocacy back home.  You may find yourself doing any of the following: demonstrating Sawyer PointONE water filters, capturing the stories in photographs or through writing; participating in celebration services; public speaking; playing and teaching children; assisting staff in conducting community surveys; sharing music; teaching a variety of basic hygiene skills; basic repairs on project installations; listening, loving and laughing! People of all ages, differing personalities and skills, and with varying degrees of humanitarian work experience have been on our teams!  Each one of you offers something unique, and each experience offers a story that’s all your own. WHERE DO I START? 1) Visit the Go section of our website.  You’ll find additional trip information that will answer questions about the basics.  We would be happy to connect with you if you have additional questions.  Be sure to check out the rest of the website to get a feel for what UWP is all about! 2) Consider what is compelling you to go.  Maybe your personal faith or a commitment...
Eternal Memory

Eternal Memory

Eternal Memory (That we might never forget) My pretentiously sheltered experience is unable to escape the wrenching reality transposed before me through the medium of their iron-clad hearts, the bitter human precipitation that has engraved its memory upon their flesh, their countenances of leathery strength and turmoil, and their eyes which send a shrill scream to my impoverished soul, pleading with me to recognize the dreams which have become entrapped within the hoosegow of their desperation. – Christin Oliphant (Harrington) May 19, 1992...
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,...

Bunk Beds or Business – How to help street kids in Kivulu

It happens every time we take teams to Uganda. Two days are spent in an unusual neighborhood of heaven called Kivulu (pronounced chee-voo-loo).  Here in this ramshackle community a group of young men- Uncles, who once lived on these streets now sacrifice all they have to rescue boys that now live the life the Uncles managed to overcome .   When our Ugandan Water Project teams come to this place they are overwhelmed by the experience.  The joy and reckless abandon they see on the boys faces when they are being loved on and mentored is authentic…and the anger and pain that flashes and lashes out at unexpected provocation is also authentic.  The Uncles themselves are an inspiration – they have no regular income and often no consistent home and nearly no earthly possessions – they work each day to mentor these boys. Our teams are trained to look for “sparklers” – key people that shine with their ability to bring freedom and transformation where they are.  Our teams hunt sparklers and then look for the opportunities to strengthen, stabilize and amplify those key people.  Bringing our teams to Kivulu is like bringing them to the Sparkler Convention.  The real challenge is often figuring out how best to help. I just got off the phone with one of our team leaders who is walking his team through this exercise right now.  There is a house in the city that the Uncles have managed to secure and raise some funds to pay the rent for one year.  They have a number of boys living in that home and many are enrolled...

Successful Failure – Matugga, UG

The steady putter of the old diesel motor purred in the background as Ugandan Water Project Team #11 rode in silence through the fresh morning air of Uganda. We had been in country about a week so the sights blurring past our windows were not shockingly new like they were a few days ago.  The now familiar smell of wood smoke carried on its usual conversation with the wind and I breathed it in with casual recognition and the familiarity of an old friend. We were on our way to Matugga, about 15 km from our guest house in Kampala. The team was excited and ambitious for the days adventure – we were planning on installing a rainwater collection system alongside the residents of the community it would serve. This project was especially meaningful to me and those on the team from Elim Gospel Church because it was our church that had come together to fund this project.  This was a great opportunity to meet some of the people we had chosen to help and build some real relationship. Our tired van crawled up the broken red dirt road that led up to the church and as we wrestled ourselves out of the cramped vehicle we were greeted enthusiastically by Pastor Joseph Aralitunga and a flash mob of beautiful young faces.  My daughter Emma and another team member were quickly swept away by the kids once they saw we had brought a new soccer ball . . . this was the experience we jokingly referred to as “death by children” being carried away with ones heart and soul quickly...

Team #8 Jokolera Visit

  Since our first trip to Uganda in August 2008, every team for the Ugandan Water Project visits the small village of Jokolera.  This mall community about 30 minutes outside of Kampala is little more that a handful of mud and brick homes scattered along the 2 or 3 red dirt roads that loosely connect the village. The first rainwater tank we installed here was installed on what our teams refer to as “Stick Church”  as simple pole structure with a tin roof that serves as both a church and the only school in Jokolera. Team #8 – 18 people from the Rochester, NY area came to Jokolera early in the morning and received a colorful greeting of smiles and songs from the young students.  In return we shared greetings and music as well.  Students from the Charles Finney School sang and played guitar much to the delight of the children. A second rainwater tank was recently installed thanks to the sponsorship of Bower Hill Community Church and The Rotary Club of Upper St Clair in Pittsburgh, PA.  This tank is fed by the rain running off the new school building that is nearly finished. Two of the schools teachers currently live more than 4 miles away and walk for over an hour every morning and every evening to get to and from work.  The new school block has two rooms on the end of the building designated for teachers quarters but were unfinished when our team visited.  Members of our team were impacted at the dedication of these teachers and struck by the distance they currently walk.  Several...