John Wanda at American University
On Tuesday night (March 30), John Wanda, founder of Arlington Academy of Hope (AAH), visited American University to speak to students about the work that AAH does and how it helps to make the village of Bumwalukani in eastern Uganda become self-sustaining. John was joined by Nicole Hewitt of the Institute for Sustainable Communities, and AU student Andrea Bachmann, who organized an alternative break trip to Colombia this spring. John opened students’ eyes to the awfully difficult conditions the children in the region face and how AAH helps to improve many of those conditions, especially with regard to their schooling and health care. Without proper education, there is no solid foundation for a strong community to thrive. Educated citizens are what makes a positive future possible, and AAH provides a model school that helps children get a quality all-around education so they can reach their full potential, no matter how poor they may be.
During a discussion about deforestation in Uganda, which is the major culprit of the recent landslide, a student in the audience offered some information about solar ovens. These ovens could potentially help combat this problem in a sustainable manner. John, who has dedicated his life to assisting progress in his home community, lit up at the mention of this possibility. AAH will be looking into these solar ovens and figuring out if it is possible to make them a part of their development efforts in Bumwalukani. The future of Uganda is hopeful. And it is with conversations like this most recent one that hope is renewed and expanded. – Kelly Barrett, AU