Introducing ’60 at 60′

60 at 60

A year after her last journey to Africa, Lynne has joined several other friends and formed a new effort to build a maternity clinic in Gulu for the Acholi people.

Lynne turned 60 years young in 2011, and she started asking herself what she could do that would affect others’ lives in this time of economic and political volatility and uncertainty.  Her mind and heart roamed, as they often do, to Africa and the Acholi people there.  She did a little researching and discovered that for just $60,000, the Sisters of St. Joseph in Gulu could build a brand new maternity clinic to provide rest, care and education for expecting and current mothers as well as their children.  Lynne discussed it with her friends Susan Kohl and Frank Haase, who were also turning 60 in 2011.  Together they agreed that there was a nice ring to $60,000 at 60 years of age, and they decided to use the coming year to raise the money for the clinic.  Thus, 60 at 60 was born.

Click on over to 60 at 60 to follow their journey and join their efforts!

#35 – Bring it on home

The travel section of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (a local newspaper here in St. Louis) collects and prints photos of St. Louisans wearing St. Louis items of clothing around the world.  This blog’s photo of Lynne and Jim with the Archbishop Odama has been published with them.

Click here to view the photo and click the box next to “vote as best” to get Lynne and Doorways a little recognition!

#34 – Safari photos

Before Lynne left, she visited a local game park and went on a little safari where she saw all kinds of animals.

water buffalo on safari

A water buffalo

giraffes at safari

Giraffes!

Elephant on safari

Look at its tusks!

The game parks are protective grounds for these animals who are constantly hunted for their tusks, hides and bodies in the wild.  It is very rare to see these animals outside a safe place like this.

#33 – Palm trees everywhere

From Lynne:

Palm trees were everywhere there.

palm treesThe deal is that the elephants love the leaves, fruit, seeds and all. They eat they eat the whole tree and distribute freely over the countryside naturally, kind of like Johnny Appleseed.  The elephants do the planting, treating and fertilizing all at once.

#32 – More photos from Uganda

Lynne is back from Uganda, but we’re finding various photos and stories to post.

350 of these children are in boarding school near the Sisters of St. Joseph (CSJ) and went to mass with us each morning.  Most people walk or bike the roads, and they are a  little difficult to navigate.

local roads with bricks in the middlePeople leave bricks and debris all over the roads.  When it rains, huge ruts form and erode, making the paths perilous for many vehicles.  You can walk or bike, or you can take a bota-bota, which is a motorcycle taxi.

driver and JoAnn on bota-bota

JoAnn on a bota-bota!

A bota-bota fits two people behind the driver, and it can be a little scary.

We’ll probably have more content coming over the next couple weeks, so keep your eyes peeled!

#31 – A message from Jim McCoy

Jim McCoy is Lynne’s brother-in-law, and he went with her to Uganda for part of her trip.   He sent the following message, and we wanted to share it with you all here.

From Jim:

I want to thank Lynne, Sister JoAnn and Sister Marion for inviting me and allowing me an experience of a lifetime. I also want to thank my wife Iris for supporting me to take this adventure. I thank and admire all the Sisters in Uganda who work so very hard to bring a better life to the Acholi People. I appreciate the hospitality of the Camboni Sisters where I stayed.

It was an inspiration to meet the Acholi school children along the road as they would (most of the time) be coming from or going to school. They all seemed so happy and many got some laughs at our attempts to say simple greetings in Acholi. On two occasions Lynne and I were treated to recitations of the poem Uganda, My Homeland. To one group, Lynne responded with a nonsense poem that ended with “and if you don’t believe me, just ask the blind man, he saw it all.” That sent them off in a fit of giggles.

Brother Mike the builder has a great crew working on the house that the Sisters of St. Joseph (CSJ) will be living in. I was very pleased with how well they accepted us. They are steady, hard workers who don’t complain about the heat and the lack of modern tools. I was pleased to find out that the wastewater from the kitchens and showers will be used to water the garden – they are going green! The house will be a great improvement to where the sisters (JoAnn, Pat and Marion) live now.

I had the opportunity to go to daily Mass during the build. Even though I couldn’t understand the language, it was moving to see the schoolchildren participate and hear them playing the drums. I also got to meet Archbishop John Baptist Odama. He was very approachable and friendly. He really liked the handmade pottery from Georgia that Lynne and I presented him as a gift. Overall I feel I grew spiritually because I have a better perception of who my neighbor is, what freedom really means, and how blessed I am in so many ways.

Before I left I tried to imagine what a ‘third world country’ would be like. But you just can’t appreciate it until you experience it. And I was there in ‘good times’. The Lord’s Resistance Army is not currently active in the area I was in. It is a time of relative peace, but people are displaced and there is some despair and poverty. People are afraid they will never get back to their villages. On the other hand, there is a resiliency in most of the people – like the ones I saw walking & bicycling 25 miles to bring their child to boarding school for the semester.

Before I left, I did not count on going on the Safari, but I am very glad it happened.

A lion creeping alongEven though both Lynne and JoAnn were a little under the weather at the end of my stay we all made the trip. It was very exciting and the whole Safari, including the trip to Murchison Falls on the Nile, will be something I will never forget.

Sister Pat, they are looking forward to you returning, and with a little luck you will be coming back to a new house. I look forward to meeting you some day.

Sincerely , Jim

Jim closeup

#30 – Meet Kakanyero Stephine

From Lynne:

Kakanyero Stephine with house in bgThis is Kakanyero Stephine, an almost-six-year-old who has wanted for most of his young life to go to school.  His home is in the background.  Daily he would report to the nursery school only to be turned away because he has no school fees.  for the rest of the day he would hang around the edges of the clinic where JoAnn works, silently watching the activity, and the next day he would try again.Kakanyero Stephine closeup

When Sister Hellen, joking with us, asked the boy in Acholi which of us he wanted to pay for his school fees so he could go to nursery school, he pointed to me.  The cost is 240,000 shillings (or $120.00 US), the cost of a splurge for dinner or a pair of nice shoes.

So today, March 11, Kakanyero started school.  He was required to bring a small straw broom and a large roll of toilet paper for his first day, which he did.