BLESSED WATOTO COMMUNITY SCHOOL BUILDS PERMANENT CLASSROOMS
Hannah and Lila thrive in their new Oakland Community
Local Women Global Mission continues to nurture partnerships in Uganda and the United States
What do trendy techy San Francisco and rural post-conflict Northern Uganda have in common?
Well, it turns out, quite a bit…
I moved to the Bay Area last fall (along with Lila, we like to be in the same place!) and have been discovering an atmosphere of progress and change, not unlike the one I was a part of in Uganda. Hope is around every corner, hiding in a locally grown bundles of kale or in a high school drama class, in an “earthen” brick or in a fried chicken sandwich from Bake Sale Betty’s . Hope, yup, its around.
As I engage more in my new community here, tutoring/mentoring “high risk” high school students with Youth Uprising (http://www.youthuprising.org/) and helping refugee families transition to American life with Refugee Transitions (http://www.reftrans.org/), I am often reminded of the Ugandan community I left behind but continue to hold in my heart and mind.
As I watch Oakland high school students writing scripts about violence in their community, I think back to our girl’s group and the girls role playing situations of violence and mistreatment and how to respond to them. As I head out to get lunch at Bake Sale Betty’s, opened by a graduate of the women initiative’s education and small business loan program (http://www.womensinitiative.org/index.htm – Heidi Sistare works here), I think of the women in Atiak opening their first small business. When Komakech sent the photos above of the construction at Blessed Watoto Community School our dear friend Kate Hubbell, a natural builder and permiculturist, declared, “they are using natural building techniques, that is mud mortar, that is just like what we are doing here.”
It’s inspiring. Wherever there are hardships and inequalities, there are people doing something about it. It might not be happening as fast as we would like, but it’s happening… everywhere, at the same time, and it’s all connected. Hope, I feel like I’m practically tripping over it, yet if one’s not careful a sandwich can start to look just like a plain old sandwich and a moody teenager can start to look like just another headache.
Blessed Watoto is constructing a school building so kids will be able to learn even in the rainy season, Vineyard children are eating local healthy food for school lunch, Tura is excelling in nursing school, Women of Atiak are starting businesses and so are women of Oakland, Refugees are settling into safety and babies are being born safely. Hope, it’s delicious, have some!
Ok, my turn, this is Lila:
Community: Such a potent flavor of life on a small island. I remember talking with a staff member at the Vineyard Healthcare Access program about how much she liked her job on the Vineyard because she felt like it was possible to make sure that EVERYONE on the island had access to health insurance. Islands create a finite sense of community. Living in harmony with your community makes your heart sing. Alternatively, striking an off note in a small community or being out of tune creates an uncomfortable discord that can cause you to want to bury your head in the sand. It is even more of a challenge to be in concert when we tune into larger communities and venture to think globally. Walking around in Oakland California I hear hopeful melodies, like those I feel in my work with Local Women Global Mission, on the Vineyard and how I felt at Earth Birth in Attiak. We each play out on our unique instruments improvising in this millennial global jam session. Here are some links to just a few of the bright notes of Oakland!
*Being in a state where midwifery is legal is a beautiful thing! There are more midwives, busy thriving practices and because midwives can now accept Medi-cal coverage, low-income women can choose the option of a home birth.
*Phat Beats Farmer’s Market is a wonderful place to spend my Saturday morning volunteering. My best friend Kate Hubbell who has been living out here on the West coast for the past few years introduced me to this lively group of activists. They are working to provide excess to healthy food in so called “food deserts” in the city of Oakland.
*This multi-media exhibit at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts exposed the workings of individuals forging a peaceful life in the complicated political landscape of South Africa.