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Learn, Contribute, Grow

 

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Oct 17, 2017

Filtered sunlight streams in sideways through an iron-barred window, filling the small room.  Its concrete floor is neatly lined with magenta and teal woven mats awaiting their guests.  Down the red-earth path, women trickle into the space, removing their shoes and tucking them neatly to the side.  The walls begin to reverberate with laughter—the deep belly-laughs of those who have gathered here.  Class is in session.


Jan 24, 2017

*An SP Staff shares about their local literacy classes*

Since September we have been running literacy classes twice a week for two different groups. The non-literate group is now having simple English conversations, has familiarity with over 500 words, and has increasing phonic awareness to the point they are able to spell three letter words and read short, simple stories. This group of ladies is so full of life and joy over their new literacy and English, they often use their new "phrases" and/or read the stories to each other while laughing hysterically because they just can't believe it!


Mar 23, 2016

From Holly, Servant Partners staff in Kampala:
I have been volunteering with a local youth-run NGO in Uganda which works throughout the country with young people doing debate and creative writing programs with the intention of giving students the hard skills of communication--developing their words into stories or logical arguments--while also building confidence, creative thinking, empathy and civic-mindedness.  The team running the NGO is passionate about debate and creative writing because of their own personal interests in them, but their ultimate goal is to use these latter soft skills toward developing the next generation of citizens into active, engaged, thoughtful citizens.  I am a writer and wanted to connect with and contribute to a literary organization, of which there are several, while here in Uganda. The reason I chose to invest in this particular one is because of their value for leadership development, civic good, systems that work, and of course, lifelong learning.
 
So, I began working with them as a way to connect with local writers and offer some of my skills, facilitating 1-2 day creative writing workshops every month or two.   As someone passionate about the transforming power of writing and literature, it has been a joy to facilitate creative writing workshops. We now mostly do 1-day workshops wherein we explore a particular theme/subject in literature and practice writing about that. For example we’ve explored hope and despair, how to write about the body, terrorism and empathy, writing about food, and culture & belonging. We explore sensory details, we explore how to write about emotions, how to show emotions and help readers feel them without actually stating them. We tell our own stories and we build stories off of each other’s experiences. And we write and read a lot.  It has been beautiful to see the kind of connection we all make with each other as we read and talk about and write about the deepest, truest stuff of life.

Mar 23, 2016

From Holly, Servant Partners staff in Kampala:
 
The morning of the first Economic Empowerment training, with the seventeen women in a paper-bead-making project of the Acholi Quarter, things were not going as planned. We knew something wouldn’t go as planned, we just didn’t know what. For whatever reason, that morning community politics were a mess and someone made a power-play for the classroom space we’d reserved. After thirty minutes someone located an alternative.
 
The one-room dirt-floor church was flanked by wood planks and covered with tin. It sat along the main dirt road leading to the top of the community, the front serving as a stage for the motorcycle taxis (boda bodas), the back perched on the edge of one of the quarries, the tink-tink sounds of women breaking rocks by hand audible throughout our session. Women from the church arrived and put giant red sheets on every wall, we presume for respectability of the space. Plastic chairs were brought from the house of the leader of the bead group. A flip chart was threaded through a laundry line and attached to the corner posts. Classroom, check.

Mar 23, 2016

From Nathan and Holly, Servant Partners staff in Kampala:
 
We’ve now been in Kampala more than two years.  All at once, it feels like it has been much longer than that and it feels like it can’t have possibly been that long. Each six months has seemed to be a different season of settling in here and each day has been a confrontation with the difficulties of such a life-altering move and learning to find joy in it, as it is.  We are still here, finding our way hour by hour, day by day, month by month, and year by year.


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