What the Africans say
My name is Abraham Kiyingi, the country director of Music For Life (African Children's Choir) Uganda.
I often reminisce about the times we spent together, the memories shared, and the bonds created between Aussies and Ugandans.
Most importantly, I got a mom (Marsha Gusti), a family (Kwaya) and a community at large.
We have hosted as many as 50 Aussies, and as few as 20, yet love was still shared and joy transferred through music, dance, and many other projects.
I would rate the Kwaya experience 6 out of 5.
I am Barnett Twesigomwe, from Uganda, working with Music For Life (African Children's Choir), Uganda.
Since 2011, several teams have visited Uganda, humbling themselves enough to reach out to some of the poorest communities of Uganda.
My first encounter with KwaYa was at the airport when we picked them up. Seeing them all smartly dressed in brightly coloured orange T-Shirts was exciting, making me realise they had finally come to Uganda.
The Aussies humility has always left me speechless, having to leave the comfort of their homes to visit Uganda, sleep on small beds and go out into the poorest of our communities to serve the people and school children.
My most outstanding moments were seeing the
Jajjas (older folk) energetic, participating in the community outreaches, and being open to learning about our culture. All these encounters have been humbling, imparting a heart of service within me.
Aussies are full of life. One thing we have in common is
Australia is like my second home.
I rate my experience with Aussies 5/5.
I am Choir Manager and Music Director for the African Children’s Choir. Although I had worked and interacted with so many people from all over the world for a good number of years, I had neither worked nor interacted with any Aussies until about 12 years ago) when a group of professional and none professional Musicians came to Uganda to collaborate with Music for Life in doing Community Outreach Programs and Music Performances.
The group which was led by Marsha Gusti (President KwaYa Australia) and Music Director Jonathan Welch AM and was made up of people of all ages and ethnicites. I had never worked with such energetic, open minded and outgoing people. Our rehearsals were more of a cultural exchange program.
Through music we were able to learn about each other’s rather rich cultures and in so doing, formed a long lasting relationship between Music for Life and Kwaya Australia.
Due to the success and strong bond that was formed on that first visit, there has been continued cultural export between Australians and Ubuntu (a musical group made of ACC High School graduates). Music has become the vehicles through which we share and care for each other. I rate the MFL-Kwaya relationship a 5.
Having a group of spirited Australians visit Uganda and dedicate themselves to uplifting community schools has been nothing short of transformative. With their passion for teaching music, dance, crafts, and invaluable life skills, they have infused these schools with an infectious joy and enthusiasm that is simply contagious.
Through their generous financial contributions, these kind-hearted individuals also make visits to needy families, providing them with hampers of food that ensure their children receive nourishing and comforting meals.
Yet, what truly sets this experience apart for me is witnessing the open-mindedness of the Aussies, as they set aside their biases, challenge their comfort zones and embrace the opportunity to learn from people who are often denied the chance to teach.
It has been deeply empowering for me to be a part of sharing Ugandan knowledge and wisdom about navigating life to make it count. The readiness of the Australians to learn and receive has been truly inspiring.
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to KwaYa Australia. Because of your dedication, the future of these community schools shines brighter than ever before, illuminating countless lives with hope, opportunity.
This is a 5 out of 5 experience that will continue to make a lasting impact on the Ugandan community.
I am a child of the African Children’s Choir and I toured with choir 30. As a young child back in 2011 at African Children’s Choir Primary School, I had the opportunity to meet the people of KwaYa Australia as they made their inaugural tour to Uganda.
They indeed lived up to their purpose of compassion, respect, inclusion, unity, perseverance and supportiveness. All these were evident in all the activities they engaged the whole school in such as music, dance, crafts, and other special life skills.
Generous financial contributions to help with projects and provision of food hampers made sure our menu at school was not the usual one.
The amazing people of KwaYa Australia left their comfort zones and possessions behind to come share our life together. It may have been a one time visit and experience for me but it created a life-time impact.
As a member of the 19th African Children’s choir. I have enjoyed the privilege of working with and alongside KwaYa Australia.
Aside from the great vibes that they bring, KwaYa has had an immeasurable impact in the lives of 100's if not 1000's of children.
Through their constant generosity which involved projects in needy areas and food hampers many communities are living better lives and families have been fed. Christmas has become bright and smiles have been made.
I have had some of my best days hanging out and singing with KwaYa Australia, this is something I wish for more people here in Uganda to experience and enjoy.
The cultural exchange is massive, boomerang, Ukulele, Kookaburra are some of the things and words I’ve learned about Australia.
Am not a fun of the Vegemite though 😏
All I can say is we need the Australians and Kwaya back to Uganda.
I was a member of the 31st African children’s choir and am currently a student at Makerere University.
My first encounter with KwaYa was in 2011 when I was in primary five at African Children’s Choir Primary School. Seems like long ago but I remember like it was yesterday because it was the most exciting time in school that term. We did a lot of fun activities with Kwaya and had great meals too.
I remember when they were saying their goodbyes, all that was on my mind was “When are they coming back?” My question was answered two years later in 2013 when I was in primary seven.
KwaYa came back to the school and of course that simply meant more fun, games and music. My biggest highlight was the soccer match we had with the Kwaya team. Through my encounters with these great group of generous people, I learnt a lot from them and I thank God for the opportunity to have met them.
Hello, I am a student at Makerere University Business School.
I am in my second year, pursuing a degree in Business Administration.
I first met KwaYa when I was in primary school.
The group visited the African Children’s Choir primary school.
I recall how excited we all were to meet the team.
The Aussies were fun and full of life, and we had a wonderful time playing together and learning different songs from each other.
The Aussies were also kind enough to paint our school.
My highlight was when they donated food parcels and mosquito nets to the neighbourhood. At that time, there was an increase in malaria and people were dying from it.
The Aussies tirelessly moved with us from house to house sharing with people they hardly knew. This hugely impacted my life, as I’ve learned to give to those in need.
I was in the 19th African Children's Choir, and now I have the privilege of serving with Music For Life as the Communications Coordinator.
My first encounter with KwaYa, was when I was volunteering with the Music For Life centres, a community outreach program run by university students.
My first impression of KwaYa stepping out into our impoverished communities and sharing laughter, love and kindness with the people was how humane!! To this day, my heart beams with light just thinking of them putting smiles on the faces of the children by reading to them, playing with them and giving them a whole new cultural interaction.
Countless memories still stick in my mind, from the Aussies setting up swings to constructing a pit latrine and doing dance classes with the children. All of those were experiences I enjoyed and appreciated about the team.
Their willingness to learn about our culture without judgment was it for me.
From my interactions, I made many friends with members of the various groups that visited, and I still cherish them. They are my friends for life.
In addition, I can proudly say that it was a privilege to capture some of those beautiful memories of KwaYa and the African Children's Choir family through photographs. I believe all those are memories that will last forever.
The Aussies have tremendously impacted many of our communities and youths through their generosity, and commend them for that.
KwaYa Australia is indeed family.