Thoughts from Our Sponsors, by Milo Burdette
by Board Member and Sponsor Milo Burdette
During our first visit to Uganda in the summer of 2012, we had just returned to our lodge following what can only be described as a long, difficult but thrilling hike to see the mountain gorillas. My wife Carol and I were tired and wanted only a hot shower, a little dinner and our beds! However, we learned when we returned that a small group of young children from a local school, joined by a few of their teachers, had been waiting for hours to sing and dance for us. We of course joined others who were staying at the lodge to watch the children. It was a cool, damp night. Many of the children didn’t have shoes or sweaters, most of them looked hungry and we were later told that they had many miles to go to return home in the dark. To say our life changed that night is an understatement. I soon found myself dancing to their native beats. We loved their songs and their dancing but most of all their huge smiles and their longing to connect to these strangers from some other land.
Carol and I knew that we wanted to do something for this fledging school that was struggling to support the poorest of the poor children in Bwindi. After visiting with the manager of the camp about our interest in the school – Victory School – we offered to sponsor two children. Preparing ourselves for what we assumed could be a large financial commitment, we were humbled to learn that it would only cost $125 per year per child. Fortunately, our involvement with Victory School soon became so much greater and we were able to participate in the founding of the Kamukama Foundation.
Thanks to the KKF and its successful sponsorship program, what was once 32 children attending Victory School has grown to 300. All of the children are now sponsored, receive 2 meals a day with protein, have uniforms, socks, shoes & sweaters and attend a school with new school books, quality teachers and experienced leadership. In addition, over 60 children have graduated from Victory School and now attend one of the secondary schools in the region, their attendance still possible due to the support of KKF sponsorship. That is the case with Gideon Muhwezi, the young man that we have now sponsored for 5 years.
We have watched Gideon go from striving to thriving. We have met Gideon’s only real family, his grandfather, and have seen how important it is to him that Gideon continue his education. This past February, we were able to meet with Gideon at his secondary school and were taken by how much he has matured. There is a light on inside of him that we did not see when we first met him. We look forward to the future unfolding in remarkable ways for this bright young man. Ways that were previously not available to Gideon and the other children but that are now because you all have asked how we can make a difference in the lives of these children and their families. Thank you all for your support of Kamukama Foundation and all of its efforts.