Macie and Mary Join The Teen Board

We are so delighted to welcome our two newest teen The Giving Circle board members.  They are Macie and Mary joining the team.  In the picture above, Mary’s on the left and Macie is on the right.  It’s clear just from the joy and intelligence in their eyes that they will be brilliant additions.

Iyan’s Pulled Tooth Is Healed And The Rest of Him Is Just Great Too

We found Iyan with a terrible infection. He had a bad tooth that needed to be pulled and left his little face infected and painful. As you can see in the picture in which I’m holding him, he was a very sick little boy. This was taken on his second day of treatment. He was far worse when we found him.

We had good news when we arrived in Uganda on this year’s team trip.  As you can see in the picture above, he was very much improved.  His swelling is way down.  What remains of the injury may require surgery on the jaw. But he is alive, is feeling much better, and has that “I’m gonna drive you crazy next trip” look in his eye. ( note: that would be Iyan, not Moses)


Mandela’s Centennial


Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela who would have been 100 years old today!.

“Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” Nelson Mandela

Two Videos of Kagoma Gate, Before and After The Giving Circle

 We have two videos of Kagoma Gate.  Together they offer a terrific contrast to conditions before and after our efforts there.  Please watch them both so you can see what a difference your contributions and work have made.

The first video was taken in Kagoma Gate before The Giving Circle came on the scene. The conditions found there at that time are described by Hope Stevens Neikirk:

“Less than 10 years ago this village was referred to as the village of forgotten people. The people in this village had come to Uganda from places like the Congo, Somalia, Northern Uganda in hopes of earning money cutting sugar cane. They were treated as virtual slaves, making pennies a day, then cast aside to this plot of land when they could no longer cut cane. They were offered no clean water, no health care, no education, no sanitation. Mother and infant mortality was high. Death from malaria and other diseases was common. None of the buildings seen at the end of this clip were there. NOW–2 school buildings, a medical clinic, a kitchen, latrines, a functioning well providing clean water, living quarters for teachers, livestock, gardens, fruit-bearing trees…all provided by The Giving Circle Africa, a 100% volunteer organization. Over 99% of all donations go directly to the projects.”

The second is a GREAT video by team members Carl and Cara Bloom Korn. We are so happy these two first timers are part of the TGC/TGCA family. In addition, Carl is a VERY important part of the US team for our Koi Koi Teachers College.

Thanks to you both for coming, for helping so much on the trip, for being so kind, and for becoming part of the The Giving Circle family.

As an introduction to their video, Carl said: “The Giving Circle’s 2018 delegation to Uganda made us laugh, made us cry and changed us forever. In this short slide show, come along with us for our journey to Kagoma Gate, the Busoga School and the Koi Koi House orphanage, and see the faces that are now forever burned into our hearts”

Progress In Afghanistan

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the three new classrooms are coming along well.


Mark’s New Face

Yes, my sister, the world has never seen the likes of the The KoiKoi Teacher University and this Collaborative Hybrid Curriculum. And we, the US and Ugandan teams, KNOW this is the answer to improving education in poor schools first in Uganda’s Busoga region then it will send ripples throughout Uganda as a whole, and these ripples will spread wider and wider. We are developing a system any country can use, one based in respect first, team work and understanding.

As to our friend and carver Peter from the Congo, here is my mask for this year. Kelly and I have others from many places, and this includes many from Peter.

Sadly the Congo is on fire with genocide again.


Anne’s Newest Face

No, this is not my passport photo, driver’s license, nor post trip portrait. I have a better look than that today, but I do love this face. I purchased it from a stall in JINJA where I always go to buy a mask. Peter is the dealer in faces as I like to call him and always a pleasure to share with in conversation. This fine piece, of undetermined age, is from the DRC or Congo. Once ruled by the Belgians, it has a modern history of violence- but that’s another episode. This mask will join my studio wall with 9 other masks of various facial expressions and size. Often while I work in the room, I look up and see this assortment of faces looking back down. I am reminded that my experiences have been mostly wonderful (despite broken leg) and always filled with wonder. The Giving Circle Africa is moving into an exciting arena for education and I am most proud to be working with an outstanding Ugandan team of education professionals. We learn from each other and will collaborate to bring the best to our Ugandan teachers and students. Thanks, Mark Bertrand for your genius of innovation born out of compassion. We will have many amazed faces and looks when we are done!!

Coming Home With A New Concept

 Yesterday the team was at our land in Wairaka for the Annual Sponsorship Day lead by Kelly Mommakoikoi. Moses, Liam Rice, Victoria Los, and I went to Kagoma Gate for a meeting about a plan we will soon be ready to talk about in detail.

But for now I can tell you that we will start with four co-ops. In the village of Kagoma Gate we expect to work with the woman while the men are in the fields cutting Sugarcane. Also, near Uganda’s northern boarder, there are refugee camps housing millions who have escaped the genocides in South Sudan and the Congo. The camp we have picked is the one at which my brother from another mother, Jim Wilhite, spent the winter. The UN built a school here with USAID but bought NO books or supplies, leading to the school’s failure. However, we can use the space for our co-ops, in which we can lay the ground work for worker-owned businesses.

Without having much detail yet, you can still see the exciting prospect of these “start ups” developing into self sustaining business. The products we expect to manufacture will make you woman and even many of you fellows VERY happy. They will be made of 100% natural Ugandan botanicals and other natural teas, herbs, flowers, spices, essential oils.

ALL items will be produced in Uganda, some for use in Uganda. One item will be a candle for use in a hut or home with no mosquito nets. The candle will provide light, thus eliminating dependence on dangerous kerosene lamps which cause fires and fumes. Additionally, the candle will contain the best natural, non-toxic mosquito repellent in the world. Other items will be shipped to the States for use here. The picture at the top should give you a sense what we hope to sell.

Ron’s Pictures of the Team Dinner

Many thanks to Mark Bertrand and Kelly Mommakoikoi Bertrand for taking the team to dinner.


Meeting to Develop our KoiKoi Teachers University

I have just three last meetings, one being the longest and possibly the most important. We’ll be discussing our project that will build a revolutionary system of education for the Third World. It’s hard for me to be proud of anything I do, but this KoiKoi Teachers University and it’s Collaborative Hybrid Curriculum are exceptions.

This will be our last planning meeting until November. We hope that by then we will have found the right teachers university to be our US partner. As this time, seven Ugandans will join us in the States for a two week intensive workshop intended to build this Collaborative Hybrid Curriculum. It will be based on the Ugandan Curriculum and thus designed to be the opposite of the traditional Western approach that seeks to impose an educational model with the philosophy of “we are right do as we say.” That tradition has stood for generations with catastrophic results in Africa and the rest of the Third World.

Absent from the picture above are Ron Deutsch and Carl Korn who were involved elsewhere.

Please take a few minutes to watch this short video, produced for the Teen Human Rights Symposium. We hope to develop a Powerpoint presentation to be shared with American teachers universities. With this tool we should find our partner in this endeavor, to make ripples of change, to be the change we want to see in the world.