So what can you learn from some of the poorest people in the world? From MaseseWhat has the struggle with poverty taught them, and is it of any value to helping answer your life questions?
As you seek to really understand those currently in poverty, what surprising and interesting things might you learn that could benefit your own life?

In the previous blog entry, I invited people to submit a short audio or video about a dream they have and what their next question/need is to accomplish it.

I loved the questions people submitted:
* How should I know what to do with my life (e.g. after graduation)?
* How can I get the money and resources I need to start my project/organization?
* How can I help people who are from different groups, even considered enemies, to better trust and understand each other?
* I don’t know what I have to share, so how can I help people in a way that matters?
* How can I inspire others to find their potential and live their dreams?
* How can I help those who are rejected and do not have a voice? Watu People
* Is what I want to do with my life ultimately worth doing?

Below are the first responses to their questions from the Karamojong refugees located in a settlement near Jinja, Uganda (pushed out of their native land in the north because of war and famine, now trying to start a new life).

[Soon I will post some of their videos about their dreams and what they think they need next, which I hope you will want to respond to.]

Monika’s Dream:
To open a great coffee shop, to travel, to somehow help others, and really to figure out what she ultimately should be doing with her life.


Thoughts from Rose and Lucy on Monika’s first two questions
Q1: I don’t know what I have to share, so how can I help people in a way that matters?
Q2: How can I inspire others to find their potential and live their dreams?

Summary of Advice:

* Help people to help themselves, so they are strong whether you are there or not.
* One of the most valuable things you can give someone is knowledge on how to help themselves.
* Sometimes people don’t believe in themselves at all, they need “sensitization” to the idea that there is more inside of them than they see in themselves.
* Give someone a job or responsibility, to help them see how much they can do for themselves, and to find what strengths each person has.


Thoughts from Lucy, Rose, and the Chairman on Monika’s third question
Q3: I am nervous as I get close to graduation, how should I know what to do with my life after that?

Summary of Advice:

* There is always something important to do with your life, because there is someone who needs your help.
* The trials and life experiences you have gone through can teach you ways in which you might be able to best help others.
* Ask advice from God, He can help you know what to do with your life.
* Also ask advice from others in your life who are close to you.
* Thinking about how you can best help those you love in your family, as well as those far away, can help give your life direction and purpose.
* After university, people should spend their time focused on helping others who were not lucky enough to have education yet.

* It is not in this video, but the leader of the community (the “chairman”) also recommended to Monika that after she graduates, she can marry his son. That was until I told him that she was already married. 🙂


Anitra’s Dream:
To help teachers integrate and give a voice to those with severe disabilities.


Thoughts from Rose, Lucy, and Christine on both Anitra’s questions (with special bonus: an African chief from a tribe in Ghana, who was staying in my hotel, adds a thought at the end)
Q1: How can I help those who are rejected and do not have a voice?
Q2: Is what I want to do with my life ultimately worth doing?

Summary of Advice:

* Many of those children with disabilities are not even in school in this area of the world.
* Actually, it is tough for any kids from this community to be in school, so how can teachers help them if they are not even in school?
* Before children here can even have time for school, they need to have some security that they will have food, or else they will have to spend their time picking from the garbage pits, begging on the streets, or working different jobs.
* Teachers do need further training, to be specialized in how to help those with disabilities. Once they know better how to help, then they will help.
* Do it in a way that is legal, and with the proper support from local authorities
* There are many people without a voice, and they definitely do need support from you, Anitra.
* Keep those good desires and that hope alive and burning in you, always, and you will know what to do.


Joey’s Dream
To start a business/organization that highlights the common humanity in us all, and helps even those who are now considered enemies to better trust and understand each other.


Thoughts from John, Rose, & Lucy on Joey’s first question
Q1: How can I get the money and resources I need to start my project/organization?

Summary of Advice:

* It struck some people as funny that you (driving a nice car like that) thought you needed money, Joey. 🙂
* You could get a job, get a loan, or get a friend who can loan money to you.
* Find an unmet need you could help solve to generate some initial income.
* Save, save, save money whenever you get some, then use it to invest in things that can bring more money (e.g. retail businesses, rental properties, passive/residual income sources, etc).
* Be smart and use credit money and your own hard-earned money for different things.
* Maintain a good credit history and great relationship with lenders. When you get a loan, pay it back so you can get a larger loan – and keep building from there, investing in residual income sources.


Thoughts from John, Rose, Lucy, Christine, and Joseph on Joey’s second question
Q2: How can I get people who are from different groups, even considered enemies, to better trust and understand each other?

Summary of Advice:

* To help people from different tribes, get people into groups where they can talk with each other.
* Help people from different tribes or religions overcome labels by getting them to be in one group.
* Don’t label people by calling them “bad” or calling them “wrong” — look at the thing they do and call it bad or wrong — not the person but the action.
* Someone will not be trusted if they are hurting others.
* Find ways to get them to help each other, and to work together to help the helpless.
* Do not segregate people – get them to interact with each other.
* Unite them with “the machines”.
* Involve them in joint projects or some work together.
* Address when there are things people do to hurt each other, but do not exclude them from the group.
* When people ask for help from others, and give help, they will naturally be closer to each other.
* Integrate God into what you are doing.
* Figure out ways for people to be friends, and make friendship with each other.

My Question for Monika, Anitra, and Joey —
How helpful was this advice, honestly? And why was it helpful or not helpful?

If it wasn’t helpful, that is OK. If it was, great.
When we bring back other people’s video responses to the dreams and questions they have (which I will post soon), we can also bring them your feedback on their responses to your questions, if you like.
Potential Challenges: (to continuing this project, if people think it is worthwhile)

At the end of each day, I asked the translators and others what they thought went well and what they thought could be improved. Here were a couple suggestions and questions regarding a few challenges:

1. Ensuring there is a good translator for those who can not speak English.
2. Figuring out a way to have local people take over, or find a way to overcome the way that even the presence of a mzungu (white person) in this community “looks money” and thus naturally evokes different responses to certain questions.
3. On the second day, all the power in the entire area had been shut down after a flood destroyed the cables, so when our batteries died in the camera and computer, our interviews were over.
4. How to have the equipment (computer, camera, battery supply) and person on the ground in each country (with an Internet connection who can capture responses, download and upload videos) to help keep the channel of communication open for the conversation to continue, if people would like.

Two Favorite moments:
Aside from when the chairman recommended to Monika that she marry his son, when Lucy laughed to think that Joey driving his car needed money, and when I recommend to the chairman that he invest in Joey’s business, there were a couple moments that stood out.

1. “What do we have to share?”
When we first showed up to this refugee camp and asked for the leader, he asked us what we were there for (expecting us to be an Aid organization).
My translator explained that we came because we needed their help.

He looked confused, and asked more questions. She told him we thought he and his people had perspective which could benefit others in the world. He said, “What do we have to share? How could we help anyone else, we have so little, and these people have so little in their heads!” The Chairman

I told him, “Maybe you can’t help, but then again maybe you can. Just let us play the videos where people are asking their questions, and you may end up being surprised how much of value there is in your knowledge and experience.”

That is exactly what happened.
For him, perhaps particularly this happened when he realized that he had something of incredibly value to share in how he helped people from tribes that usually fight up North to live in peace and harmony in this community.

2. “My view of the Karamojong has totally changed”
At the end of the first day, I asked my translator if she was impressed by anything that day.
She told me that she herself had been changed and moved a great deal.

She said that as a born again Christian, she had previously spent a lot of time preaching to the Karamojong, but had never before taken time to listen to them or learn from them. She said she used to think like the leader, that they had nothing of value in their heads and that they were only looking for handouts all the time.

After the interviews that day, however, she said she now knew how much wisdom they had, and how much they had to share.


I suppose when it comes down to it “development” can mean many things, and it can happen in so many ways for each of us as we are trying to better understand, love, and help each other.

To see what happened next, please visit: