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A long-distance lesson

“It could have been a lot worse,” we told ourselves. “At least nobody got hurt.” Well, except for the car, of course, but even that wasn’t nearly as bad as it might have been. I thought I should say that right up front, because if I started out with, “We got hit by a semi on our way to Chicago last week,” you might have gotten unduly alarmed. We had just crossed over into Indiana when an 18-wheeler next to us in the far left [...]

By |September 28th, 2018|Columns, Family, Travel|0 Comments

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 [...]

Old Friends, New Saying

“Well, butter my biscuits, that was fun!” In order to fully appreciate that statement, you need to hear it spoken with a slow, Southern drawl – which, obviously, I can’t do in print. But I repeated it often after reading the saying – the “butter my biscuits” part and several variations of it – on coffee mugs, tea towels, and wall hangings in some of the shops and boutiques I strolled through last weekend. I was with some friends I haven’t seen in a long [...]

By |August 3rd, 2018|Columns, Quotes and Sayings, Travel, Values|0 Comments

Quiet reflections of a memorable trip

“Why are you silent?” Tony asked. “You aren’t talking.” “I guess I just don’t have anything intelligent to say right now,” I told him. Actually, the reason I was silent – and I admit this is not like me – is that I was lost in thought. Thoughts and memories on the morning of my last day in Uganda. Tony was driving, as he had been doing for most of the time I was in Uganda. I was sitting in the passenger seat, as I [...]

By |June 23rd, 2018|Columns, Travel, Uganda|0 Comments

A Rock Star Reception

Sometimes I felt like a rock star. Other times, like a zoo exhibit. It all depended on the looks on their faces. Surprise was always first. Then curiosity. And often, delight. The children usually smiled and waved. Some of the adults did, too. Or they glanced up and nodded, before looking away. Some stared. A few winked. “Muzungu!” I heard often when I was in Uganda. Mostly from the children, especially if we were driving very slowly due to traffic or potholes. Which is to [...]

By |June 8th, 2018|Columns, Travel, Uganda, Values|0 Comments

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

Where to begin?

  I’ve returned from Uganda, and I don’t know where to begin in telling you about the trip. I could start with our accomplishments, like the poultry farm and houses that are just about ready for occupancy – by hundreds of baby chicks, and by the young women who will be tending them. Or the two sewing centers we set up – one in a vocational school where the students are learning trades that will help them earn a decent living, and another in a [...]

By |May 25th, 2018|Columns, 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 [...]