Friday, 30 May 2014

Abby's vote of appreciation for Rachel!

Thank you to all past and present USP Staff for your lovely gift, lovely sentiments expressed, and lovely events surrounding our farewell.

Here we are with our photo journal--photos and thoughtful letters written by past and present staff
This  year's matching outfit collaboration for the USP farewell
However before the waves of time and tasks and transitions totally roll over us, I wanted to take time to specifically thank Rachel Robinson as she has put a lot of thought and energy into our leaving.  I’m also considering this as a bit of a drum-roll and vote of confidence for her as she takes on the very daunting role of being the interim director in this coming year.

While Rachel has self-identified as an enneagram 8, I have a feeling that she has a strong wing of a 7—the enthusiast!  So in the following top ten, I wanted to thank and appreciate Rachel for the enthusiasm/energies/loves that she has brought to us at USP—in no particular order; the whole is more than the sum of its parts!

Thank you Rachel:

1. For your love of travel and safari in the truest sense of the word—journey outward and inward!  Staff and students have benefitted from the priority and energy you have used to make travel happen.

Rachel, Lisa, Eddie, Mark, Daniel and his friend David in Kidepo over the Christmas break
    2. For your appreciation of culture manifested in and out of our comfort zones

        3.  For embracing nature—in our enjoyment of it and also in our stewardship of God’s good green earth 

Ugandan landscape taken by Allie Shufflin
Mt. Elgon hike with Mark and Ruth Berta
Climbing Mt. Elgon with the Community and Discipline class
    4.   For love of aesthetics—in music, in fine arts, dance, and all energy humans put into expressing themselves for their own self-discovery and for the broader connection to beauty, spirituality and community
Community Art field trip to Break Dance Project Uganda (check out their documentary--Bouncing Cats)
    5. For a love of justice that seeks, values and honors people who seek to bring justice and integrity to their work and their communities
In Rwanda with CARSA
Christoph talking to students in Rwanda
Recreation Project field trip with Cross-Cultural Practicum
6. For the creative, thoughtful work on the blog and social media for USP-- and for the delegation to our lovely program associates who assist with this! 

       7.  For the hours of work collecting and compiling photos for our 10 year video, our personal photo/letter journals, and other gifts for USP staff over the years

      8. For all the thoughtful ways that you exhibit hospitality to USP staff, students, USP connections in Mukono and beyond 

Student meal at Rachel's house
Staff Karoake party at Rachel's house

9.  For the encouragement to process our experiences through verbal and nonverbal means

   10. For the high priority on creating community in all areas of your life

Thank you Rachel for all that you've added to our last four years here and for all that you will bring in leading USP through this upcoming transition!  

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Thats a wrap-- Spring 2014

The Spring 2014 semester has come to a close! The students have all returned to their homes and are busy integrating back into North American life. Below is a snapshot of the students last two weeks abroad. 

After saying 'see you later' to host families, friends and Mukono we hit the road for Rwanda! We spent a week learning about the history and culture of Rwanda. This April Rwandans commemorated the 20th anniversary of the 1994 genocide. We visited memorials and listened to stories from individuals and groups affected by this tragedy. 

One day we worked with CARSA an organization involved in reconciliation ministry in Rwanda. We listened to stories from both victims and perpetrators of the genocide--now living alongside one another.  

Another afternoon we visited Inema Art Center.  We enjoyed the art displayed, looked-on as women sewed together and watched some neighborhood children perform traditional Rwandan dances. They even gave a few lessons!

Other highlights from our trip include: 

- Visiting Amahoro Ava Hejeru --a cooperative of women committed to working together and spreading the message of reconciliation hope found in Christ while supporting themselves and their families through the creation of beautiful hand-sewn crafts. 

- Learning about micro-finance in Rwanda from UCU graduate Emmanuel Kareygesa who now works with the Anglican Church of Rwanda and PEACE Plan International. 

- Making and buying crafts with Azizi Life -- an NGO that works with artisans in Rwanda, helping them develop and sell their crafts in an international market. Tom MacGregor, one of the co-founders gave his story and then the students had the opportunity to try their hands at weaving.

- Celebrating Easter!!

After the week was up we said goodbye to Kigali and headed to Bushara Island for a weekend away to debrief our time in Rwanda, be outside and enjoy each other. 

Entebbe! was our next stop...the final destination before the students flew home. We spent a couple days reflecting on the past semester and a couple days preparing to go home.  It was a great time of fellowship, prayer, food, picture-taking, and LOTS of laughs. 

Well done, Spring 2014! We're proud of you and how far you've come this semester. 
Stay in touch, and let us know how reintegration is going 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

10 year slideshow

USP: Celebrating 10 years

For the farewell this year, we put together a slideshow highlighting photos from the past 10 years.

And thanks again for all your submissions!

Monday, 5 May 2014

And the winners are.....

USP Photo Contest— USP: Celebrating 10 years!
There may have been some slight confusion in the communication of which categories we would be voting on, not to worry, our solution is to have winners in each the following categories:
  • Mukono Homestays
Megan Hall. Spring 2010
"Laundry Day"

  • UCU/Campus life
Mary Schuberg, Spring 2009

  • Practicums
Beau Wilson, Spring 2009

  • Rural Homestays
Adam Lewis, Fall 2012

  • Group shots 
Mary Schuberg, Spring 2009
"Mark's weird face?"

  • Best Mark Bartels Photo
Elizabeth Monachello Gin, Spring 2007
"Mark's BathDay"

Each winner will receive a Ugandan care package from USP this summer! 

Thanks to all who submitted and for the many many great photos. More photos and slideshows to follow in the coming days/weeks.