Africa – A Very Special Place

January 16, 2013

Our first blog article of 2013 features a guest post from Jacqui Kempton, Senior Account Representative at Still Creek Press. Last November, Jacqui set out on a three week life changing journey to Kampala, Uganda to visit and volunteer with the Abetavu Children’s Home. Read on for first-hand highlights of her experience.

Carli and Jacqui

Carli Travers (left), founder of Abetavu Children's Home, and Jacqui Kempton (right), Account Representative at Still Creek Press.

“Do you sometimes wonder just how you can make a difference in our world? When I thought about it, it seemed overwhelming. I have been involved with many charities in the past and knew that my interests were with children, but my particular journey had not yet surfaced.

An Experience for the Heart & Soul

Two years ago my journey became clear after reading an inspiring article in my local newspaper about a young couple named Carli Travers and Robert Burungi. Carli and Robert (both 26 years old), live in Kampala, Uganda and raise 14 children– most of which have been rescued from the streets. My first reaction was WOW, how selfless for such a young couple. I wanted to learn more and at that point realized something special had caught my attention. I do believe that we all get to a time in our lives where we need to experience more, those experiences that fill your heart & soul, you know the ones that are supposed to make you a better person. Hence 2 years later, November 2012, my journey to Africa begins!

I booked my flights (thanks to my supportive husband & daughter who allowed me to take this journey alone) and was extremely excited to experience life with the Abetavu Children’s Home. My only hope was that I would have a better understanding of what life was really like living in Kampala, with now 17 children.

Abetavu Children’s Home

Carli and Robert

Abetavu Children's Home founders, Robert Burungi & Carli Travers

Carli, Robert & kids welcomed me with open arms and I instantly became Auntie Jacqui to all the kids, which was pretty cool. I slept on one of the top bunks in the girls room and much to my surprise the day starts at 6am, there goes my beauty sleep (lol). With 17 children in one household, I learn early that each child once they turn 8 yrs old they have very specific chores that help the family run as smoothly as possible. All the children spend their days at school and are very happy to have this opportunity to learn and grow. These children are the lucky ones thanks to Carli & Robert, some are not so lucky, school is expensive and many can’t afford to send their children or they just end up working around the house and never get the opportunity to go to school, to read or write. That in itself made me sad, as every child should have the opportunity to go to school and learn. Life for the majority of children in Africa is about survival, strength and optimism. They appreciate the core needs in life, family, shelter, food and love. If a child has all these things, they are living a very rich life for their standards. Some children may have the family and the meager shelter but may only eat every 2 days. By educating the children of Africa they will be empowered to be strong citizens of their communities to make life better for all.

Every single day a challenge of some kind faced this family, a taste of just how difficult life is to live in a very poor country with a very corrupt government. They always seemed to persevere and continue on with their focus of raising these beautiful children who one day will make a big difference in the lives of many. I participated in family soccer games, and yes got pretty competitive, the kids put on concerts, sang me songs (my favorite was rap night) and the drawing talents of the children were amazing (using Still Creek Press Note pads, of course).

I understand now why Carli & Robert came to raising so many children with the intention of taking in many more, because after you experience the little that these children need in order to live healthy happy lives, you too would do the same – I know I would.

My favorite visual of all the Ugandan children is their beautiful smiles that literally would light a room. These smiles are so genuine and surprised me to see such happiness where there is such despair.

Team Uganda

Carli, Robert & kids at their home in Kampala, Uganda.

We as individuals need to reach out to those in need and start giving. There is no room in our lives for self centered energy, it gets us nowhere. I encourage all of you to find a passion, a focus, a possibility and fill your lives up with beautiful smiles like I have been so blessed to experience.

I believe so much in Carli & Robert’s vision that I invite you to take a moment to put life into perspective and read more about this amazing family and what a difference they are making in the lives of so many children. They are funded 100% by donations and every little bit counts.

The Hidden Talent Project

I also got involved while I was there in funding the creation of a Soccer/Rugby field on their property. This will allow up to 1000 children in the community to learn about sport and be given the opportunity to find their hidden talent. I am collecting any gently used Soccer/Rugby related items for our Hidden Talent Project. Please contact me direct if you have any Soccer/Rugby balls, cleats, runners, shorts, jerseys etc.”

Jacqui Kempton, Senior Account Representative – Still Creek Press
jacqui(at)  6o4-3I9-4563

Find more like this: Featured, Still Creek Press Employees

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