Let me make a few notes about the Bududa Learning Center and Bududa Vocational Academy. These are synthesized from the oral histories of several people. I cannot vouch for every veracity. My memory may not be perfect.
Bududa District is one of the poorest in Uganda. Years ago the African Great Lakes Initiative started a vocational school in Bududa to teach carpentry, masonry, tailoring, and child care to locals seeking more than farm work yet unable to finish secondary school. The project stalled because of the usual and customary graft and corruption.
Our hostess, Barbara Wybar, having learned of the project through her Quaker Meeting in Philadelphia, traveled to Bududa and single handedly removed the corrupt local administrators of the project. Over the next few years she raised the money to reorganize the project and rebuild the facilities at a new location. She has added a women’s micro finance section and an organization to support local orphans.
Our trip was planned around a ceremony to celebrate the opening of the newly constructed school buildings. Major donors, local leaders and the occasional dignitary were invited. Debbie and I tagged along.
Barbara has created a ray of hope in a stagnant backwater of a very poor country. She maintains the original, small, cramped and primitive guest house. In an effort to return all development dollars to the educational and service program, she has resisted expansion and modernization. There is no power or plumbing. It is tempting to romanticize the accommodations as an exotic camping experience. However, the relentless dust, the stifling heat and the ever present livestock create a challenge. Imagine pitching your tent in a barnyard. This is where we stayed, in convivial harmony with up to ten other guests.
Barbara’s work is dedicated and inspirational. In a township where the most advanced farming tool is a hoe and where life threatening mudslides are the result of deforestation and outmoded farming techniques Barbara has revivified a pathway to a better future.
Please look at the BVI site at Bududa.org. It is worth your consideration.