Art in the Slum


One of the two main reasons my mom, Susan, came with me to Uganda was to teach art classes to our Literacy class girls. (And the staff is begging for their turn, so they’ll get a class on Thursday!)

Susan has been an artist pretty much all of her life, and currently paints in both oils and watercolors. (Find her on Instagram at @susanfloridaartist) She teaches classes in our hometown in Florida, and loves to share her love of art.

When kids are in school here, there are occupations that are acceptable — the ones the parents want their kids to choose — and then there are those that are actively discourages. If you want to be (or say you want to be) a doctor, teacher, or lawyer, that’s great. An artist or musician? Absolutely not.

Since our girls haven’t been to school, they were thrilled to get art lessons. We’ve done one class for each Literacy class, and today they’ll do a combined class (all 20 girls!). As with anything, some girls took to it faster than others, but they all loved it and can’t wait to do more. We’ll be leaving all our supplies here, and Ronald has already started looking for more paint sets, paper, and brushes, for when these wear out.

It’s very important to us that we bring creativity, art, books, music, and fun to our programs. These are things that are rarely seen in the slum, and that are vital to critical and creative thinking.

And the girls love it!

This is our last week in Uganda, and will culminate with graduation on Saturday and Easter dinner with the residential girls on Sunday before we head to the airport.

On Thursday, I’ll update you on our trip west to Hopeland and Wells of Hope Primary Schools! It was long (3 car breakdowns!) but good (except the car breakdowns…!).

Thanks for all your well wishes and comments on Instagram! If you haven’t checked out our videos there, click the icon below.


Jennings (and Susan)

PS We could really use your help for our graduation. It’s the biggest (and therefore most costly) one yet, with 33 girls graduating! Click below to help – 100% goes to the project!


When Cars Bread Down in Uganda


It’s a fair drive from Kampala to Mbarara, about 4 hours. It’s interesting, as you’re mostly on a good road going through village after village.

Each village has a unique character: in some, the vendors display their produce tossed willy nilly onto a tarp. In others, any produce remotely round is stacked into neat pyramids on the upturned bottoms of buckets or bins.

Some villages seem to be able to keep garbage in check and others are overrun with plastic bottles and other refuse.

All of them are bustling, full of people going about their daily lives, children walking to and from school in their uniforms, and goats nibbling anything and everything they can find.

I’ve found that most people have a vision of “Africa” that is one dimensional. Uganda, Africa, and your own country is full of color, contrast, hope, need, joy, wealth, poverty, chaos, and order. I work in areas and with people of great need, and that can make for a compelling photo op… But even in those areas, that’s not the whole story.

In the photo above, I was presented with an amazing gift: a drawing from a favorite photo of Kamida greeting me for the first time last year. Kamida is a special needs girl living at Hopeland School who has epilepsy. Epilepsy in Uganda, especially in villages, is still thought of as demon possession or mental illness and not a physical condition. It was left untreated in Kamida leading to brain injury, and her relatives tried to kill her once her parents had died so she is physically disabled.

For the last 2+ years we have provided Kamida with her epilepsy medication and sanitary pads each month. When she sees me (and now my mom), she runs and gives huge, tight hugs. It’s one of my favorite parts of each trip!

The car broke down when we were less than a mile from the hotel, and Ronald and William spent all afternoon and evening at the garage getting it fixed. They didn’t get in until 10:30! We’re headed out to the bush and Wells of Hope School today, so say a quick prayer for the car!

You all are the reason we can do what we do here, and I can’t thank you enough…

Mwebele mnonga,


PS We have a project up for Christine’s exit package and it’s 75% funded — we just need $110 to complete it and get Christine ready for her independent life. Click below to help – as always 100% goes to the project!

Click Here!