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A great day

I had the pleasure and privilege yesterday of working with a young woman to help her prepare for an upcoming speech contest. Her story is an inspiring one of some of the issues and obstacles she had to deal with while growing up, and of how she overcame them – as well as the insecurity and self-consciousness she felt because of them. She expressed gratitude for the people and organizations that helped her along the way, and described how they inspired and motivated her. She [...]

Is there power in knowledge? It’s debatable.

I wasn’t on my high school’s debate team, but I had enough friends who were that I knew how it worked. Every debate season, a complex issue would be presented, and the team members had to collect and document every bit of information they could about it. They had to learn as much as they could about both sides of the issue. When the actual debates took place, students needed to be able to argue whichever point of view they were assigned to present. It’s [...]

By |October 7th, 2018|Columns, Making a Difference, Respect|0 Comments

Bracing for another storm

For those of us living in the southeastern U.S., it’s hard to focus on anything but Hurricane Florence right now. Although I live far enough away that we aren’t in any danger, we’re close enough that we’ll feel some of the effects of the storm – including a fair amount of wind and rain this weekend. Nothing like the brute force pummeling the coast, however, and nothing like the pounding we took last year when Irma came through. But even that didn’t hit us nearly [...]

In a World of Our Own

Australia… Bahrain… Canada… China… Denmark… France… If you’re anything like me and you’ve ever seen the opening ceremony of the Olympics, you get a lump in your throat as you watch the Parade of Nations. I love seeing the athletes parade into the stadium, dressed in their team colors, and proudly displaying the flag of their country as they wave enthusiastically to those who are watching – from the stadium and from around the world. Germany… Guyana… Haiti… Hungary… India… Indonesia… As far as I’m [...]

Problems go beyond the pale

Their hair and eyebrows are pale yellow or platinum blond. Their skin is whiter than mine, although they are African and their parents and other relatives have black hair and skin. They are albinos, and several hundred of them live in the Nakivale Refugee Settlement in southern Uganda. We visited with many of them during my recent trip to Uganda, and most of what I learned about them is heartbreaking. As you might guess, they have problems protecting their skin from the hot African sun. [...]

By |June 1st, 2018|Columns, Family, Making a Difference, Travel, Uganda|0 Comments

A difficult question, a simple answer

This column was written after my last trip to Uganda, in 2014. It was originally published in the Chanhassen Villager on 9/18/14. I still have difficulty answering a question that many people have asked me about my trip to Uganda last month: What did I do while I was there? I can list many of my actions and activities. Spending time with the young women in Ki-Mombasa that we are helping to break free from a life of poverty and prostitution. Distributing books, handmade dresses and teddy [...]

Enjoying a day of music, mangoes, and memories

This post is about one of my favorite days, and favorite memories, out of all my trips to Uganda. I wrote it after my second trip, and the column was originally published in the Chanhassen Villager on 9/27/12. Although it was close to midnight when we got home the night before, we were on the road again at 6:30 in the morning, traveling from Kampala to Iganga for my 9:00 program. I would be speaking to teachers at Buckley High School, which is actually a highly acclaimed [...]

In need of a miracle, and of people who care

This column was first published in the Chanhassen Villager on 11/17/11, shortly after I returned from my first trip to Uganda. The young women I wrote about have become the focus of most of our work in Uganda; our goal is to help them build a better life for themselves and their children. You'll hear more about them after I return from this trip. They are beautiful young women. Girls, actually, with many of them between the ages of 18 and 25, and some even younger. They [...]

Signing off for a bit

This will be my last “live” blog post for a while. Next week at this time I’ll be on a plane, somewhere between Amsterdam and Entebbe, preparing for almost a month in Uganda. We work pretty much sunup to sundown when in Uganda, and email and internet service can be spotty at best, so I know better than to even try to post anything while I’m gone. Instead, if I have my act together and get everything done that I need to do before I [...]

By |April 20th, 2018|Columns, Making a Difference, Travel, Uganda, Values|0 Comments

It’s Not Always As It Seems

During my first trip to Uganda in 2011, I went to Mass on Sunday morning with the only other Catholic in our group. We arrived early for the English Mass, and waited outside the church, along with the overflow of people who were there for the earlier Mass in the native language. We were a little confused when a collection basket was passed after Communion. Usually this is done during the Offertory, earlier in the Mass. “Maybe they’re taking up an extra collection for the [...]

By |March 16th, 2018|Columns, Making a Difference, Uganda, Values|0 Comments