Mwebaza Foundation founder and president Dale Peterson was in good spirits after the closing ceremony for ‘Cougars/CDC Creating Classrooms,’ held at Niwot High on Nov. 29.
“I’m feeling overjoyed that we could have so many kids involved,” he said about the months-long project to convert two shipping containers into a functioning classroom that will be used at the Mwebaza Infant Primary School in Kyengera, Uganda. “I am also feeling relief that I will get more time with my family, but mainly just a sense of real gratitude for the people who have been a part of this.”
The commemoration began with a performance by the Niwot High School Tri-M Band. This performance included kids from the Honor Music Society performing a song in Swahili, one of the official languages in Uganda. In a speech following the performance, Peterson noted that the students learned the song by simply listening to it, and that this is the way music is traditionally learned in Uganda.
Later in his speech, Peterson expressed his gratitude for the extraordinary effort that was taken to achieve this project, which involved contributions from an estimated over 1000 people.
Peterson then introduced Bart Wear, the founder of Homes of Living Hope, Mwebaza’s partner organization that furnished the containers. Wear presented an award to both Niwot High School and the Career Development Center (CDC) for their efforts in the project. After presenting the awards to Niwot’s James Bolon and CDC student Aaron Zrubek, Wear said, “All of this hard work, all of these donations and all of these efforts get sent over to Uganda or another part of the world, and you never get to see the people that they actually help, so we’d like to give you something to remember as you go by the awards case. When you see that container you can remember that the efforts you put forth here made a big difference.”
Both Bolon and Zrubek gave their own speeches about what they did to support the Mwebaza Foundation and what the completion of this project meant to them and their community. Annaijah Henry from Niwot Elementary and the Sunset Middle Mwebaza Club also gave speeches about the project. The night ended with performances from the Niwot Hip Hop Club and Niwot’s Choir, who performed the song Sisi Ni Moja.
The containers will be loaded with supplies and undergo final preparation for shipping on Saturday, Dec. 8. From Niwot, the containers will travel by truck to the east coast, then be shipped by sea to Africa. They will finally arrive in Uganda sometime next spring.
This project not only helped bring the Niwot/Longmont and Uganda communities together, but helped bring the local community together, and the closing ceremony seemed to invite some reflection. NHS Principal Eric Rauschkolb noted, “Anytime our students have an opportunity to be involved in projects the benefit other people, especially those that they might not know, it’s really an opportunity for our students to grow as people and as citizens of the world.”