Namugongo - Kira Town, Kampala Uganda
Don Bosco Child And Life Mission - CALM
In 2011 I joined Kamuli Vocational Training Centre, a school which empower the youth, old and disabled with skills, social values and how to relate with one another. This school has a lot of courses like plumbing, agriculture, electrical installation among others.
Preparing for the beginning of school study terms for our boys is usually hectic but unlike in the first term, the beginning of second term of school is not so hectic in terms of preparing boys, purchasing the scholastic materials, etc. In the first term, performance was generally poor for the primary boys although we encouraged them to improve. Secondary schools performance was very good as some of our boys (Sadiq Bashir, Mutebi Silver and Musinguzi Edison) were offered half bursaries for this year from Majorine College because of good performance.VTC boys apart from a few also put up a good performance and the most interesting thing was the very good performance of our craft boys from Kamuli VTC who sat for their first Uganda Business and Technical Examinations .
An experience that changes your life cannot be expressed in words. But with the help of pictures, and sharing of stories, I hope to portray the truly remarkable experience that I will cherish forever, and has left an everlasting imprint on my soul. It all started with flying halfway around the world to understand a life that my grandfather once lived, and continue to carry with him. Bronek Szolopiak, whom we call “Papa”, has seven grandchildren. Five of us - Joseph, James, Danielle, Ryan and me, Sarah - were blessed with the opportunity to accompany him to the Polish Refugee Reunion in Uganda in November 2012. The experience was enlightening, exciting, and emotional, and far surpassed all of our expectations. With this book, I hope to express how powerful, and life changing, this trip was to all of us. The Don Bosco Children and Life Mission (CALM) in the town of Kiira hosted us for almost three weeks. The moment we arrived, Father Richard made us feel welcome and relaxed with his witty sense of humor and big heart. Our first surprise was how beautiful the grounds were of this orphanage, which is the home to over two hundred boys. The next great surprise was to meet the history students and Professors from the University of Krakow, who had come to interview our Papa and his contemporaries. These students have been studying and archiving the story of the Eastern Poles who were invaded during the second world war by Stalin’s Soviet Union. Thousands of Polish families were taken captive into Siberia in February of 1939, where they were treated inhumanely, and it wasn’t until two years later when Stalin and Churchill formed an alliance against Hitler, that the Poles were released from the bitter cold of Siberian torture. The Poles were sent to Eastern Africa in 1942, where they were welcomed with open arms and the love of the Africans.
On the 19th April 2013, the Salesian candidates in Uganda had their second meeting which was organized by the Vocation Director, Fr. Jean Paul and took place at DON BOSCO CALM Namugongo; it went on for three (3) days. These were six (6) candidates from various parts of the country and residing in various Salesian communities. The theme of the meeting was on “VOCATION” as Sunday being the Vocation Sunday or Sunday of the Good Shepherd and it involved various activities including entertainment, sports, prayer inspiration and others.On the point of prayers and inspirations, we had inspiration talks, first from Br Robert Dias based on the Holy Thursday’s gospel ( washing of the feet). He said that this was a sign of humility, love and described it as a good source of reconciliation with our neighbors in times of misunderstandings. Pope Francis has given the best example that encourages priests to be out of the sacristy and join the Christians for prayers as assign of active participation. In summary, BRO Robert Dias encouraged us to pray to God to make us priests like Christ active in services, sacrifice and humility also encouraging us to put the word of God first above everything else. Pope washed the feet of juvenile. After that talk from BRO. Robert Dias, we had sports and we participated actively in volley ball match i.e. the Salesian community Vs the Boys volley ball team at CALM where we lost 3-1. Though we lost it was enjoyable and we exercised together with Fr Jean Paul Ndayikeguruste , Jean Marie Mushibwe and Br Robert was there too as an active spectator. Then, we had another talk from Fr Jean Marie which was like a good night talk from him. He talked about life not being a straight path. It needs endurance.