Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday's Tips on Fundraising #5


They do stop working and when they do, you could lose everything!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another Worthwhile Quote

This quote summarizes Enlightenment Philosopher, Marie-Jean-Antoine Condorcet's recognition of the importance of education as written in Jeffrey Sach's 2005 book, The End of Poverty.

"Education enabled individuals to stand on their own feet, to avoid charlatans, to abandon useless or harmful superstitions, and to improve their ethics, human symphathies, and "moral goodness." The wider the education, including in social and political principles, the more peaceful, sound, and progressive the entire society would be. 'Thus the constant expansion of elementary instruction in these [political] sciences... offers us an improvement in the destinies of the human species that can be regarded as indefinite.'"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cookbook Fundraiser

Dear BULA Supporters, I am very pleased to announce that A Recipe for a Future: Second Edition is completed. We are very excited about this compilation of recipes donated from friends, family, community members, and restaurants from Camp Hill, Long Island, across the United States and around the world.

The cookbooks are $20.00 and all proceeds are used to support BULA's school construction projects and afterschool programs in developing countries in Africa. The first cookbook was a tremendous success and allowed for the completion of BULA's first project, St. Kizito Primary School. The Second Edition contains all new recipes and will support upcoming projects in 2009.

Please join us on December 7th from 2:00-4:00 at 301 N. 26th Street in Camp Hill, PA for a Cookbook Party. Enjoy delicious food and drinks from the book, learn more about our organization, and have a wonderful time for a wonderful cause. Cookbooks will be available for purchase at this event.

If you cannot make on December 7th, there be another Cookbook party in Blue Point, NY on December 11th from 6:30-8:30 at 102 Park Street.

If you cannot attend either of these events, but are still interested in purchasing a cookbook, please contact us at 631-419-3090 or at bulainc@gmail.com.

Other options are to send $20.00 +$5.00 shipping/handling to PO Box 147 Bayport, NY 11705.
Remember, these books make excellent holiday gifts, house warming presents, bridal shower gifts, and birthday presents.

I hope to see you this December, please feel free to bring friends and family members to the events!!

Thank you in advance for your support!!

PS: If you are interested in selling cookbooks for BULA among family, friends, and coworkers, please contact us and this can be arranged.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gganda is on the Map!!!

Last June, after the completion of St. Kizito Primary School, a prominent man in the village of Gganda proudly exclaimed, “Thank you for your work, you have put Gganda on the map!!”

The village of Gganda, lies about 7 miles north east of Kampala, the capital of Uganda. It is a small area, and not well known, as it is just another village on the outskirts of town. Even in the bustling new taxi park, where a regular stream of matatus runs from Kampala to the neighboring villages of Jenina and Kibando (and almost anywhere else you would want to go), people looked confused when I asked where the minibus to Gganda was. Many times the men whom I asked would look around at the chaos of hundreds of unmarked matatus that comprise the taxi park and declare, “Gganda? Sister, you are in Uganda!!”

No kidding, I would I think as I walked away in search of more informed assistance.

These stories came to mind yesterday, when out of curiosity I decided to search Gganda on Google Earth. I began the search in Kampala and followed the satellite images of roads that made the all-too-familiar route from the city to Gganda. We could clearly see the streams of traffic through old Kampala, and the wide circle where Hoima Road intersects with the Northern Bypass. We laughed as we recounted the story of the “Walker Special” - a way to get into the city via bodaboda and bicycle. Continuing further, we would turn into the village and we could see the swamps that frequently flooded the road, but were also home to the frogs whose chirping at night is a pure symphony. We would continue, using the satellite images all the way to the orphanage, and further to images of the old school. We could even see the amazing mango tree that once stood outside of St. Kizito, who was unfortunately uprooted despite our desperate attempts to preserve it.

Earlier in the year a friend said this area could not be found using Google Earth; anything outside of the city was black. Today, the images are amazingly clear and detailed, right down to the bodaboda stage on the corner and that magnificent tree. Gganda is, quite literally, on the map. I look forward to checking back in several months and seeing updated images of the area and looking down, proudly, at the completed St. Kizito Primary School.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday's Tips on Fundraising #4

If you are going to send out a mass communication to invite people to an event or to participate in a fundraiser, make sure you put down the correct phone number.

PS: Sending invites with the correct dates are also imperative. WOOPS!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I recently read a quote in The End of Poverty (2005) by Jeffrey Sachs that blew my mind.

He states, that in the year 2000, the 400 richest U.S. taxpayers had a combined income that exceeded the income of Uganda, Botswana, Nigeria, and Senegal - COMBINED.

400 people earned 12 billion dollars more than 161 million people.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

There Are No Practicals, Yet

"Sister Endie, what is the meaning of transplantation?" a student at St. Kizito asked in his attempt to quiz me on his science lesson. "Well," I responded confidently, "Transplantation is when you move plant from one place to another." "No Sister Endie, transplantation is the movement of a baby plant from the nursery to the main garden," he quickly corrected me. Hmm, I thought. "OK, when we moved the full grown banana plant from the front of our home, to the back, isn't that transplantation as well?" "No Sister Endie," the young boy chuckled at my foolishness. "Transplantation is the movement of the baby plant from the nursery to the main garden.

I use this example time and time again to demonstrate the flawed practice of rote learning. The children in Uganda wait silently as the teacher writes on the black board, they recite the information then copy it into notebooks. The children are never given an opportunity for practical application of the subject matter learned.

One of our workers presented this problem to us one day when a pulley system was made to dig the latrines. "Ah," he says, "so this is how you make a pulley. I have drawn one many times and I know how one works, but have never made one. This is the problem with Ugandan education... There are no practicals."

Realizing this obvious problem in the education system, we have decided to create after school programs for the children in the schools we build giving them the opportunity to reinforce the information learned in school with hands-on, creative, independent, and fun projects. The children will not only learn a practical use of that information, but will strengthen their communication and English language skills. We are very excited about these programs and are working closely with several retired teachers in the Blue Point/Bayport area to develop lesson plans and project ideas for when it is time to implement the programs.

I can only hope to teach the children to independently think through problems and generalize their education to all aspects of their lives. These programs will help them realize that, yes transplantation is the movement of the baby plant from the nursery to the main garden, but it is also the movement of a plant from one place to another.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday's Tips on Fundraising #3

Never go to a fundraiser without a Sharpie, some rope, and tape.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

$1 Donation Drive

We are planning a fundraiser asking local teachers to encourage their students to donate $1 to BULA. Along with that $1 we would like those students to submit artwork as well - paintings, drawings, anything. We will then bring the artwork with us to Uganda and display it on the walls in the classrooms at St. Kizito Primary School. During our after school program children will be encouraged to create artwork for the students in America - all for $1.

What an amazing activity to get students of all ages involved and increase cultural awareness in both countries.

The collective $1 donations will be used to fund the after school programs and to continue the construction projects that we have planned for 2009.

We are looking foward to speaking at the New York State United Teachers Leadership Conference for Nassau County this Friday. We are excited to be presenting this fundraiser to representatives of every school district in that county.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday's Tips on Fundraising #2

If you need socks, go buy socks. No matter how passionate you are about your cause, you always have time for and can always afford socks.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thank You

I am constantly being told that no one cares about my cause as much as I do. I can't tell you how disappointing and upset I feel each time this negative generalization is recited.

The reality is: people do care, and they care ALOT.

Countless friends, family members, community members, and complete strangers have expressed their desire to learn more and to help in some way whether it is material donations, financial contributions, or offering their time. The response has been amazing and I cannot thank you enough for your seemingly endless support. We still have a long way to go, but we are proud of our accomplishments. We couldn't have completed the school, nor can we continue to support that school and begin our next project without the assistance of so many caring, compassionate, generous people.

I thank you, on behalf of BULA and the Gganda community, for all you have done to make our dreams a reality.

I'm not European, I'm an American

A few people have asked. The photo in my profile includes myself and the two youngest boys at the orphanage. The one in the background is holding up his favorite board game, Snakes and Ladders, while the other pulls my hair across my face declaring that I am "Yellowpean."