I am new to this game (Me being Walker Moriarty). I never had an implemental role in Action in Africa and to be honest never saw myself coming here. I understood what it was because of close friends around me (Mike Schwartz, Maggie Brown, Nick Ufkes, Leandra Sivess, Beau Seguin) who came here and gave their time to make a difference. I respected it and was proud of their ambition and desire to make a change that was visible, but it just never caught my eye the way it did for them.
This past winter I told Maggie Brown that I was traveling throughout Southeast Asia for two months. Somehow, from that conversation, she convinced me to come and see what she was up to in Uganda. Geographically it made no sense but I decided to add to the adventure and commit to traveling to Southeastern Africa as well.
In the beginning, Action in Africa did an exceptional job bettering this community from an arm lengths reach. Regardless of having no one on the ground on a day-to-day basis, it was still incredibly successful. Much should be attributed to those first seven years.
In June 2014 our CEO and President Sarah Ninininger moved to Uganda. She had the vision and foresight to understand that to evolve this organization from a small nonprofit human-services program into a comprehensive community-development organization and someone needed to be here on a daily basis. She took the risk of leaving her life with friends and family in Los Angeles and Colorado and made the commitment to transform this community. And it is paying off.
Action in Africa recently moved into a new facility, which they are calling The Center. It is a staple in the community and exhibits the hope that exists in the children and their continuing education. After school tutoring, art classes, PE classes, playtime, English class, a Women’s group, snacks, scholarships, haircuts… anything you can think of exists here. It is a place where students and community members are engaged in a critical way, made responsible, and challenged in a way that promotes growth. Or as they like to put it, "Be, Belong, Become!"
As my mother always says, “It takes a village” and here that is truer than ever. To effectively impact a life, a relationship must be forged, trust must be established, and there has to be a sense of accountability. This does not happen in an arms length relationship. This happens with the peaks and valleys of everyday life. It is a process, often a long one, but it is happening here. Sarah, Maggie, and the rest of the Action in Africa staff are committed to forging that relationship and developing this community one meal, one conversation, one class, one day at a time.