A Home Away from Home, Quincy Ca - Kanungu Uganda

My name is Alicia Bagley and I am now a senior at Indian Valley Academy. I have always had a passion for travel and helping others but this all sparked from an experience I will never forget. Going to Uganda, Africa, when I was only 11 years old. My mother was a college professor and was a team leader for this entrepreneurial organization called ENACTUS. The concept was to empower others rather than just give. It was about helping others help themselves rather than charity. She had a team of devoted passionate college students who saw a need in Uganda. So, after years of fundraising, we finally had the money and AMAZING contact, partner, and now family, known as Gerald Mbazi. Gerald, a local to the village Kanungu had turned our dreams of coming to Uganda, into a reality and I will always be so thankful for that. 

Anyway, we finally went and being 11 years old I knew just enough, but not too much, to be fully ingrained in this experience without bias, and this enabled me to be fully impacted. I saw children my age fetching water, dying of malaria, and dropping out of school because their family could no longer afford it. Despite these devastations, they were kids. Just like me. I remember playing soccer or "football" with them, laughing and dancing, and just being kids. In the moment, I didn't even realize that they went through so many unfair struggles because they were happy, they were kids. Just like me. I didn't know at that time that a kid my age has to fetch his own water everyday (that isn't even sanitary), I didn't know that a kid my age doesn't attend school because he doesn't even have the choice and his family can't afford it. I didn't know why that kid I was playing soccer with had a seizure, soon to find out he was facing the final stages of Malaria. And this trip made me well aware that unfairness in the world was real and change needed to happen.

My love for Uganda and their wonderful culture grew and grew and I just couldn't stay away. I have been 3 times now and am planning a future there. 

Susan Weber