Uganda Projects

When we are in Uganda, our time will be spent with Cyrus and Pauline Muwanga who operate Grand Maria School and Orphanage.

In my role as a high school Social Studies teacher, we talk lots about other places in the world, and the conditions that others, especially children, find themselves in.  In Grade 10, we study globalization, and each semester I challenge the students to raise some funds – like from loose change after they have bought a Slurpee – so that as a class we can fund some micro-loans through Kiva.org.  This semester our three EBHS classes raised over $500 to create new $25 micro-loans, putting our school lifetime total of loans to Kiva.org at 51.

It was a very natural fit to start telling students about my trip to Uganda and the school and orphanage that we would be working with.  Many of my female students are especially concerned about rights for girls around the world and access to education.

hygiene kit

Each $5 ‘kit’ contains laundry soap, panties and washable sanitary pads – helping to keep a girl in school for a year. (The long ‘bar’ in the picture is soap.)

When I told them that some girls quit going to school because they lack female hygiene products, they could scarcely believe it. When I told them we were raising funds to buy feminine hygiene kits, they asked if they could help. By the end of the semester, my three Social Studies classes had raised just over $270 for this hygiene project, including some very significant donations by individual students.

The school and orphanage have been working hard to improve conditions with donor support through Fresh Start Uganda.  Here is the school before and after additional support through Fresh Start Uganda:

Another project we are hoping to fund sn a new latrine area for the orphanage. Here are photos of the previous school latrine, its collapse, and the new latrine facility:

The orphanage itself still requires some funds to be completed. (Click here to read about a Chicago school who helped with the initial building of the orphanage) We are hoping to raise funds for some of the work -such as electrical-  that needs to be done before it can become operational.

Up Next: An African Adventure!

We are excited to share with you that Brian and Cammie are planning a trip to Africa this summer with a team that will minister to communities in Uganda and Zambia.  

We will be traveling with a seven person team led by Harold Cooper, with whom Brian has made four previous trips to Africa as a part of Athletes in Action. Other team members will include Harold’s sister from Newfoundland, his cousin from the USA, and two members from his church in Lethbridge. On this trip, we will not be traveling with Athletes in Action, but will be connecting with several people that they’ve met on previous trips.

africa-political-mapCammie finally gets to travel to Zambia where Brian has been on each of his trips to Africa. In Zambia, our team will work with Chris and Anne Musunda in the areas of Sports Coaching and Ministry Training and Emergency Services Training.  Cammie was able to meet Chris when he stayed at our home for a few nights when he traveled to Canada some years ago, so she is excited to meet Anne and the rest of their family. At the end of our time in Zambia we will travel to see Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world.

victoria_618x216_big

Victoria Falls -Zambia -Zimbabwe border

In Uganda, we will be supporting the Grand Maria school and orphanage under the new direction of Cyrus and Pauline Muwange, founders and directors of Fresh Start Uganda. Brian and Harold first met Cyrus in an Athletes in Action training seminar that they hosted in Zambia in 2008.  Since then, Cyrus and Pauline have started a ministry call Fresh Start Uganda and have recently purchased the school, Grand Maria, at which they have worked for the past four years.  We will join them in providing training for teachers, staff and local pastors. In addition, we are hoping to raise funds to help refurbish their kitchen, rebuild a latrine, and provide teaching materials.

The Canadian Comparison

The Canadian Comparison
Ottawa, Canada

Ottawa, Canada


Transportation: 1 last Metro ride, 2 airplane flights, 2 charter buses
Weather: Rainy, misty and 12 degrees

We certainly had an early start to the day with a 4:40 departure time from the hotel. The Metro is supposed to open at 5 am, but we had a little bit of a panic when the Metro crew still hadn’t opened the gates until 5:15. We even contemplated walking to a different station, but the Metro guy finally came, and as it turns out, the first train to the airport wasn’t until 5:25 anyways so it all worked out. Check in and security went smoothly and most had time to grab some breakfast before we boarded the flight. The flight is only an hour, but there weren’t many EBHSers awake for much of it.
We were expecting to be able to check our bags through to Calgary but had an unexpected delay when we weren’t able to. Fortunately, we were able to take them to the bus and leave them on our bus for the day; something we certainly hadn’t expected to be able to do.

We arrived at Parliament a bit late for our tour, but everyone appreciated the beauty of our own Parliament as well, after having been through the American system. We were able to see the House of Commons, the Senate and the very beautiful Library of Parliament. A the end, individuals had to choose between the gift shop and going up to the top of the clock tower/peace tower as we didn’t have time to do both.

Next stop was the Royal Canadian Mint. We had about a 20 minute walk to get there past some of Ottawa’s striking architecture, including the very old Chateau Laurier Hotel, the very new and modern National Art Gallery of Canada, and Canada’s United Nations Memorial. The 45 minute tour was excellent as we learned how our collectible coins are made and had continual gallery views into all of the work rooms of the mint. It was pretty incredible to see stacks of silver bars, and flattened coils of gold worth millions of dollars. The gift shop was interesting too, as we were able to checkout the incredible diverse range of beautiful and detailed coins, ($5, $10, $20, $100, pure gold, etc). Click here to see some examples.

A two hour lunch/shopping time was spent between the historic Byward Market area and the large and modern Rideau Center Mall. We were soooooo lucky that our bus driver Darlene was available to pick us up and drive us to the Canadian War Museum, as that would have been a very long walk on this cool day. The Canadian War Museum easily rivals any museum type place that we were at in Washington DC, and is place that Canadians can certainly be proud of.

After a full but interesting day in Ottawa, no one was too sad to be boarding the plane for home. We’ve had a very full trip of many long days, but hopefully each trip participant will arrive home with a long list of favourite places and experiences and a life long ability to be able to say, “Been there, done that” as they continually see the places we’ve experienced on the news and in movies.  

Last day in Washington

Last day in Washington
Washington DC, DistrictofColumbia

Washington DC, DistrictofColumbia


Weather: misty and cool, around 10 degrees Transportation: 2 Metro trips Our morning started a bit later today, so by the time we got to our first stop at the Ford’s Theatre where Lincoln was assassinated, the line ups were very long to get into the on site museum. Instead of waiting out in the cold for an hour, we headed to the Center of “the Mall” which is in the middle of many of the Smithsonian Museums. From there, everyone headed out to the Museum they were most interested in seeing:  Air and Space Museum, Natural History Museum, American History Museum (with the flag from Baltimore’s Fort McHenry as its feature attraction), Art Museum, and Hirshorn Modern Art Museum.  The first 3 museums listed are wildly popular and absolutely packed with visitors, so it was a day of crowds.   Photo 2015-04-09, 12 25 03 PMWe reconvened at 5:45 to head to the Hard Rock Cafe for our supper reservations at 6:30.   They are used to feeding big tour groups so they had us in and out in time for the 7:30 show at Ford’s Theatre, which is just a few buildings down the street.  The musical was called Freedom Song and featured words from Lincoln’s speeches and incredibly powerful and beautiful music.  The story line was fairly simple, depicting how the Civil War affected soldiers and their families from the North, the South, and the blacks still in slavery. The musical was done by 9 pm so that got us home a bit earlier than expected in order to pack up for our 4:30 checkout time tomorrow morning.

Baltimore Day 2

Baltimore Day 2
Baltimore, MD

Baltimore, MD


Weather: rain in the morning changing to misty cool for the rest of the day Transportation: 1 return train ride, 1 Metro trip, and plenty of  foot power We woke up from varying degrees of sleep in our hammocks to a cold rainy morning.  Fortunately, there was hot coffee, hot instant oatmeal, bacon and buns to get us going.  After breakfast and cleanup, we did gun drill with 2 groups learning how to work together and fire the cannons.  Our final activity was up on the main deck, firing the parrot gun, wth a loud morning boom into the harbour. We had a 9:30 arrival booked for the Baltimore National Aquarium, which was a great place to be out of the rain.  This is truly a remarkable aquarium with features such as a 3 storey circular tank that you walk down the middle of enjoying all manner of marine life. After the aquarium, we could explore the other 3 historic ships, eat lunch, go shopping…lots to do before we took the 3:40 train back to DC. We had a very rushed turn around to get to the Jay Leno show in the Concert Hall of the Kennedy Center.  The hotel wasn’t as ready for us to re-check in as we  had hoped, so we had less than an hour to get everyone into their new rooms, retrieve their luggage from Mrs. Andjelic’s room, find something to eat (some had groceries left, some didn’t), and shower after our night on the ship.  The area around the Kennedy  Center was much more packed with traffic today, so it was nice to be able to walk through all of the traffic, even though the weather wasn’t nearly as balmy as it was the first time we went.  The adults probably understood more of Jay’s humour than most of the students, so this likely won’t be in many people’s top 3 events of the trip, but an experience nonetheless.


A delayed trip to Baltimore

A delayed trip to Baltimore
Baltimore, MD

Baltimore, MD


Weather: 24 degrees, cloudy.  Fortunately no rain until night time Transportation: 1 Metro, Amtrak/Marc train to Baltimore x2, 1 water taxi, 3 trips on the “Charm City Circulator” bus So we had a very EARLY morning as we had our rooms all packed up and all luggage stored in one room by 6:30 am.  We took the Metro to Union Station and then boarded the 7:40 train to Baltimore, BUT, about 15 minutes into the trip the train was delayed, and then delayed some more due to a suspicious package a few stations away.  After an hour, they turned all trains around back to Washongton, DC so this certainly made the day of re-arranging a hectic one for Mrs. Andjelic. Fortunately we were able to make a quick turn around and take a train at 10:30  back to Baltimore, but on a different line to a different station.  That made getting to our locations a bit more difficult as we had to catch an extra bus. When we got to Baltimore harbour we stowed our night time luggage aboard the USS Constellation and then took a water taxi with one transfer to Fort Mc Henry.  This defence of this fort in 1814 inspired the writing of the star spangled banner.  The flag that inspired the anthem is on duly n the Smithsonian Museum of History, so some of us will get to see it on Thursday. We got a chance to hold a unfold, hold and fold a big 1814 replica and quickly check out the fort. From there we took the free tourist commuter bus to the Museum of Industry where we split into 2 groups and each had a different amazing tour guide give us a tour of the canning, machining, garment, and printing industries.  We were glad that the museum was able to fit us in right before they closed after we missed our morning appointment.  We boarded the bus again after a bit of a wait and headed back to the Inner Harbour with some time for a “snack” before  we boarded the ship USS Constellation for the night. The ship was built in the 1850s so we really enjoyed the tour we had from our great hosts RJ and Harrison.  We lowered cargo using the capstan (pulley system), had a boat making contest that Darcy and Taylor won. Their boats made of a 12″x12″ piece of tinfoil held 12 oz of weights. After a supper of beef stew and hardtack we had the official tour, followed by a scavenger hunt. Then 30 of us shared 2 bathrooms to get ready for bed in hammocks on the 3rd deck.  It was amazingly quiet as soon as we put the lights out…probably because everyone knew they were scheduled for a 1 hour night watch between 10:30 and 6:30…..


Annapolis on the Chesapeake Bay

Annapolis on the Chesapeake Bay
Annapolis, MD

Annapolis, MD


Metro trips: 00, charter school bus on bumpy highway to Annapolis Weather: 24 degrees and sunny….beautiful We spent the whole day in Annapolis, Maryland. We really appreciated the Metro after how long it took us to drive thru DC to get to Annapolis. We arrived just in time for our tour of the Naval Academy. Our tour guide, Joan, was very informative and we had a nice tour of some of the buildings, include Bancroft Hall which is living quarters and dormitory for over 4000 students– the largest dorm in the USA. We then had a quick visit to the Maryland State building and ate lunch on the steps, enjoying the beautiful architecture in the surrounding neighborhood. Next was a 45 minute narrated boat tour on the Harbour Queen of the Annapolis harbour. That left almost 3 hours for shopping, checking out museums and enjoying the beautiful 24 degree weather. Our time in Annapolis wrapped up with a buffet dinner at Buddy’s Crab House, with nice seafood dishes for those who like that type of thing, and plenty of other options and dessert for those who shy away from crustAceans. At 9 pm we congregated for a speaking competition- a recitation of the Gettysburg Address. Kelsi won the $100 first prize on the strength of the memory work she did. Andrea and Olivia shared tied for 2nd and $40, Quinn took 3rd prize for $20. 8 others took home $10 each for entering the contest.