Spring break in Uganda: Memphis youth embark on mission to help refugees

Posted April 9, 2011 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Charity ~ 2,184 views


By Richard K. Thomas, Special to My Life | Uganda, in East Africa, is a long way from inner-city Memphis, but this is where two Memphis City School students spent their spring break. On March 12 a mission team co-sponsored by Arkwings Foundation and First Baptist Church of Memphis embarked on the 30-hour journey from Memphis to Restoration Gateway to provide medical care, dental care, and eye care, as well as recreational ministries for 60 children orphaned by the civil war and the AIDS epidemic.

Memphis City School students Charles Smith (left), 16, and Sam Dixon, 17

Charles Smith, 16, of Soulsville Charter School and Samuel Dixon, 17, of Frayser High, both participants in Arkwings youth programs, were chosen to accompany the team after completing an involved application process. After three plane rides to Uganda, Charles and Sam had little time to consider their exotic surroundings, being quickly absorbed in the team’s numerous missions. In the medical clinic they collected information from patients and learned to take blood pressure readings, use a digital thermometer and dispense drugs. In the dental clinic they sterilized equipment and assisted dentists in extracting teeth. They also helped construct a high ropes course for team building and instilling trust in Ugandans who have been subjected to the horrors of civil war.

Perhaps their most rewarding activities involved the 60 orphans housed at the compound. Charles and Sam organized recreational activities for the children, introducing jump rope, teeter ball and Frisbees. After the morning school sessions they helped the orphans practice their English. They also were able to relate to older youth who were either orphans or employees of Restoration Gateway, sharing via iPhones, iPods and other electronic aspects of their American culture.

Working in primitive conditions with no electricity and no hot water, Charles and Sam experienced incredible personal growth while helping to change the lives of many Ugandans. Both came back to Memphis committed to community service.

Arkwings Foundation offers programs for reconnecting mind, body and spirit.

For more information on Arkwings work with youth and international missions visit Tax-deductible donations to defray the costs of their trips can be sent to: Arkwings Foundation, 3209 Cloar Cove, Memphis, TN 38111.

Richard K. Thomas, Ph.D. is associate director of Arkwings Foundation

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


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