Two years ago, my trip to Musana was as much about me as it was about the people of Uganda. Of course, I wanted to go so that I could use my skills to make a small ripple in the world’s ocean, but I was also coming out of a really hard period in my life. I had been simply putting my head down and surviving for too long. The trip was part of my anthem–my declaration to the world and myself–that I was ready to thrive. I was stepping out and doing the things that I had dreamed of for years. During the trip I was inspired by the women that I met who who working hard to provide a better life for my family. I decided if the women in Africa could do it, so could I, so I determined to go back to school to get my master’s degree.
This year, the trip is different. It’s more of an act of obedience than an anthem. When I left Musana last time, I vowed that I would be back after I had completed grad school. I felt that I was just beginning the work that I needed to do. I learned so much about the people, the culture, and the educational system. Now I feel much more prepared to work with the teachers and help them develop the skills that they need. However, I also know the hard work that it takes to get there–the fundraising (way out of my comfort zone), leaving my family for 11 days (missing spring break with my kiddos), and all of the personal and work prep to get there. This isn’t meant to be “woe is me”, because I am excited to go and I know the trip will be so worth it and a blessing in many ways. It’s just an acknowledgement that sometimes we do the good thing because we have all the big feels, and sometimes we just recognize that the world feels crazy and out of control and we need to not give up hope but keep on doing our part to make the world a better place.
When I give my limited money and time resources to an organization, I always want to make sure my resources are being used wisely, such as actually going to the people and not providing an extravagant lifestyle for an administrator. When I give my resources to Musana, I feel even better because their goal is to receive resources now so that they don’t need them later. Millions (maybe billions?) of dollars in aid have been given to Africa, yet it still has too many children orphaned and people in poverty. Musana isn’t just a school, or a children’s home, it is a community development organization that wants to break the cycle of dependency on foreign aid. They “promote an innovative social business mentality by creating enterprises focused on health, education, agriculture, and skill development” (musana.org). My role at Musana directly impacts the people of Uganda because I will be working with the teachers at the primary school. Musana primary school educates over 800 children and serves to go beyond traditional Ugandan curriculum by providing students with the critical thinking skills that they need to innovate change in a developing country. The teachers at Musana are fabulous teachers, but they only receive instruction in the traditional “chalk and talk” curriculum. I will be co-teaching with the primary 4 teachers, helping them implement ideas and solutions that work within their culture.
Thank you for listening (reading) as I shared my heart. If you would like to support me as I support the teachers in Africa, here are two ways you can give:
Send in a Check: put Tabitha Burgtorf Uganda 2017 on the memo line
Flatirons Community Church, 400 West South Boulder Rd. Suite 1700, Lafayette, CO 80026