Five years ago I spent a month in Uganda, where I volunteered at an orphanage & school. One day I was helping Isaac, a bright, friendly 9-year old, with his laundry. We were rubbing the clothes with soap on the dusty courtyard in between the dorms, and Isaac was watching my activity with a mix of wonder and worry. He asked: “Who does your laundry back home?”, with a facial expression that didn't hide that I was not very good at it. A little embarrassed I answered that I had a machine for that at home. He just nodded, and then went on with the chore.
Later that day we were doing dishes. Until my twenties, we never had a dishwasher, so I was sure I was going to pass this test. Isaac looked at me and asked: “Do you also have a machine for that?” I felt a bit guilty to admit it, but I didn’t want to lie, so I softly said: “Yes, but we also do it by hand!”.
When the sun went down it was time for me to go back to my host family for the night. As I walked out the gate, Isaac ran towards me, grabbed my hand, looked up and said: “I feel so sorry for you”. I was surprised. How can a child, who already went through a lot in his life, feel sorry for me?
“You only have machines at home. You don’t have any PEOPLE helping you!”
I was blown away. Here we are, in a country where its people have been struggling with wars and diseases, and this great kid reminds me of what's the most valuable in life: the human connection.
His observation was spot-on and I often remind myself of that moment. That human connection is also what drives me at MikiMedia. Social Media is not just about technology and pushing more messages out to people. It is about making connections, enabling dialogues, being part of a community and providing value to its members.
It’s MikiMedia's goal to always keep that top of mind in everything we do. It is called SOCIAL media for a reason.
About Lilly Uganda
Since Lilly Uganda opened “Rafiki House”, the initiators have been working to support the children's relatives in caring for them during holidays. Right now, they are very pleased to say that every child, with a little help, is now able to live fulltime with their (extended) family. This means that the gates of Rafiki House closed. This change doesn't affect the rest of the project as they will continue to support all children with school fees, boarding costs, food and medical care.
Rafiki House certainly holds a lot of good memories for the children and their caregivers, however it is fantastic news that the children are now settled with their families. If you want to learn more about Lilly Uganda, check their Facebook page.