MAWU – Whitney, Uganda and Passion

Ashraff and I infront of our favorite tree

Today I’ve decided to fill you in on one of my biggest passions; helping, playing with and teaching children. To me they represent more then just innocence and how beautiful humanity can be but they really are the future. It’s our job to provide a warm, safe and enlightening environment for them to grow.

In 2007 I lived in Uganda for a semester, studying abroad as an intern for USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development.) This experience changed who I was forever, I came home and changed my major to Public Relations. I was originally majoring in Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Management. (I took a minor in that instead.) While I was there I met a little boy, Ashraff. His father was my bosses driver and tragically died of organ failure just weeks before I moved there. Ashraff and I became fast friends, his mother was the cook at our office. I didn’t speak a word of Lugandan and he didn’t speak a word of English. I taught him how to say “chicken” “goat” “tree”, things that were typically in our office parking lot. We would have lunch under the trees when he got home for school, for which he had to beg for money, numerous times, to attend.

I think my favorite moment with Ashraff was when he was at my desk coloring and I was finishing up work. He drew me a giraff and gave it to me and I pointed at it and said “Way to go Idaho!” he looked at me and said “way to go Idaho?” and pointed at it and I nodded yes. From then on, drawing was called “Way to go Idaho!”

Really, why I’m telling you this is because there is a horrible tragedy occurring in Uganda everyday. Children are being captured by militia groups and trained to be soldiers at appallingly young ages. They are casualties of Africa’s longest running war against the LRA (Lords Resistance Army.) Invisible Children has had a wonderful effect on saving children in Uganda but they still need your help. I urge you to scroll down on my blog and take a quick three minute survey to help Invisible Children provide education and aide to the beautiful children, like Ashraff, in Uganda.

A beautiful little girl from Jinja Uganda.

As of today I don’t know where Ashraff is, shortly after I moved back to the states his mother picked up and moved out of the little town where our office was. I think about him often and hope that he is in school and that his mother, who is a couple years younger than I, is able to provide for her family of four without help of a spouse.
Please take three minutes out of your day to help me raise awareness and money for Invisible Children.

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One thought on “MAWU – Whitney, Uganda and Passion

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  1. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding us to take action on behalf of innocent children in Uganda who are being exploited and scarred for life on account of the violence they are being forced to perpetuate. I’m curious: What was it about your experience in Uganda that prompted you to switch majors? Would you like to discuss your experience, how it affected you both personally and professionally and your call to action on Blog Talk Radio?

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