Breckenridge group helps out in Uganda
BRECKENRIDGE – A group of Breckenridge residents visited Uganda recently to walk 30 miles toward ending child sacrifice and supporting impoverished Africans.”It was very, very sweet to be there,” said Kristen Petitt, one of five locals who flew to the Third-World country for the July 11 walk .The walk retraced the steps of Rose Nanyonga: a woman raised in Uganda as a witch doctor before departing in 1989 as a teenager, later moving to the United States and pursuing nursing – and further education – to bring aid to her people. Petitt said the walk’s fundraising efforts garnered about $20,000 toward a $25,000 goal to provide Ugandans with nursing scholarships, and an additional bed for the International Hospital Kampala’s Hope Ward.Donations continue to be accepted.”The fact that we’ve been able to do that really through just word-of-mouth in this economic climate is really nothing short of a miracle,” Petitt said. Between 40 and 60 people – from such far-off places as Breckenridge and Dallas – walked the road from Nanyonga’s home village of Bamunanika to Kiwoko Hospital, which is run by the Irish missionary couple that took her in and helped change her life. The walk took about eight-and-a-half hours, and participants wore shirts labeled “End child sacrifice.” Mutilations and dismemberment affect many Ugandan children subjected to local witchcraft and traditions, and the Hope Ward is intended to help these children.Nanyonga wrote about this month’s walk in her blog, http://www.rosenanyongac.blogspot.com:”I saw myself in a new light, in the lives of many who wore the T-shirt … in the lives of the children on the roadside who sang, ‘We are dancing for you.'”
Petitt said the Breckenridge group had been training for the walk through Africa’s heat, and the first 20 miles went well. The last 10 were “almost unbearably hot.””I think for anybody who does things that distance, that’s kind of where the rubber meets the road,” she said, adding that there was no ice available while in Africa. As Nanyonga came to the walk’s end, she received a call from Kate Glerup, a Breckenridge group member who couldn’t make it because of airplane mechanical problems.Glerup said she wore her “End child sacrifice” shirt on a walk along the Peaks Trail from Breckenridge to Frisco and back. “So it was a good walk, but definitely disappointing to not be there,” she said. “I called Rose and she was just coming over the finish line as I was starting. So we thought the timing was pretty amazing.”Petitt said that during her 12-day stay in Uganda, she also visited an orphanage in Rakki, where a birthday party was thrown for the kids. She also visited a 15-year-old boy she’s been sponsoring for a few years. “I have so much hope that this kid will make it and have an opportunity to make a difference in Uganda,” she said in an e-mail.The local group also included Dr. Christina Black, Mike Glerup, Jennifer Morgan and D.J. Shappart.Nanyonga serves on the board of Narrow Road, a Breckenridge-based international aid organization. For information on donating, visit http://www.narrowroadintl.org.Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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