Page 1

come let's dance

love hard in uganda


en thousand amazing experiences and an incredible year.


welc me to CLD shane gilbert, executive director

We're glad you got your hands on this newsletter somehow. Please enjoy catching up

on the last year of chaos (I mean, hard-work) in Uganda. There seem to be trends in foreign-aid work. A couple years ago the trend was sustainability and micro-finance; now it is asking the question: Is there any point in trying to drop a pebble in the ocean to create a wave? We ask ourselves that everyday in this mission. The truth is Come, Let's Dance continues to turn mourning into dancing - and that's enough reason to keep loving people. Meanwhile, for you trend followers, we use all the sustainable elements we can to invest our donations wisely, generating as much income in Africa as possible. Thank you for being part of the story! There's a verse in the Bible that says: The religion that God says is pure and right is to look after the orphans and widows in their distress... Whether you believe in God or not, you can't argue the Truth in those words. Imagine if the whole world followed that kind of religion! And if you can't tell already - we have re-branded ourselves for 2009/2010. New logo, new look, and brand new excitement. We have a seriously updated and improved website COMING SOON complete with an online store to purchase all the Thread of Life products the slum ladies make everyday. Love people.


ove hard! jeremy schmitz

In the beginning of this year, Come Let's Dance adopted a new phrase that

would not only become the words we put on T-shirts or the words to close our e-mails, it became the words that we live by. Love Hard is not just a statement, it's a challenge. Love Hard means loving people who are too hard to love in places where it is too hard to love and in situations where it seems impossible to love. Love Hard is outstretching our arms and touching the sick whether we are comfortable doing it or not. This is what continues to drive us to really know the people we are working alongside and genuinely love them, regardless. It is loving regardless of lifestyle, loving regardless of acceptance. It's choosing to walk the plank over and over for others. It's real, it's raw, it's genuine, it's passionate, it's grass roots. You can't find this on a candy heart. Love Hard, Live Courageously. Come Let's Dance.

ur first three years


julie deboer

If you weren't in Steamboat Springs, Colorado on March 28th, 2009 you

missed a memorable night in CLD history: our third year anniversary dance party! We had one purpose: to celebrate how far CLD has come, to tell the stories of restoration and redemption of the destitute in Uganda, and of course to say thank you to our family of friends because "it takes a village"! David Benjamin put everything in perspective - an AIDS orphan, he is the first Ugandan kid CLD helped rise out of destitution. He just finished his first year of university in Michigan. "When our stomachs were hungry we had no hope of dreaming," he said. "For the first time in our lives we've been given the possibility to dream." We talked about the new house we bought for all the children with solar power and a new well with clean water; we projected video of the 20 acres of farmland purchased; and we displayed photos of a successful taxi micro-business to support it all. But it didn't stop there - we couldn't let the night end without casting the vision for what's ahead: phase two for the farm and expanding the taxi business to reach a place of complete self-sustainability. With all that said, we were completely encouraged by the support raised that night to keep going, to invest, to empower, to dream and to Love Hard in Uganda. All we can say is: Thank You!


sign here fla

ia nakirija hayro r luque

Walking on the streets of the West Village in New York last winter, I came across the wild thought of going to Africa with CLD. I wanted to forget about trying to make life happen for myself and focus on making life happen for someone else. Five months later, I can humbly write the amazing story of a woman I met last March in the slums of Katanga: Flavia, a single mother struggling to survive with her two daughters, Florence and Mary. CLD helped her last summer with a micro-business loan to be paid back in nine months. Flavia made her final payment after just three months. She started a business selling samosas, a small African treat made with a deep-fried flour wrap and stuffed with beef, chicken or any vegetables desired. Flavia makes 400 samosas a day working for 10 hours. With the help of her daughters, she sells these samosas near Makerere University and the Mulago Hospital area, making a profit equivalent to $3.50. Flavia had one dream for her family: "To have my own house," she said. When I heard this, I realized I had found my first assignment for my journey here in Africa. After sharing the story with friends and discussing ideas with Jeremy, Morgan and James, CLD's Slum Outreach leaders, we decided to start looking for a plot to build Flavia's new house. We found a prime location in the Nansana area.

The necessary funds were donated by friends in Denver and New York. Soon enough, we were all witnessing Flavia sign her land title. A contractor and a team of volunteers worked alongside Flavia to finish the house in a week and a half. The whole CLD team was present as she and her daughters took possession of their new home; she danced as she passed through the doorway. She was so grateful to see her dream fully realized. CLD is in the business of sustainable outreach, so Flavia will pay back a percentage of the cost of her home. These funds will be used toward the empowerment of other women in the Katanga slums. Flavia no longer worries about paying rent and her daughters have a much brighter future. She is an inspiration to the rest of the women in Katanga, proving to them that God has a plan for everyone and it is possible to break the cycle of destitution. Flavia wishes the same dream will come true for other women in the slums. I am forever changed because of Flavia's story. If I have learned one thing from witnessing CLD's work in the slums, it is this: as I return home to my life's commodities, I want to be wiser in the way I use the resources that are given to me, and truly love, love always and love well. Nkwagala Nyo!


with much gratitud ben kibumba

I used to hear people say dreams come true, but I didn't know how this was possible. I now realize God uses people to make dreams come true. Three years ago, a university degree seemed hopeless: I was alone in the world, I had no money and no one to help. Miraculously, God brought Mama Shane into my life. I remember talking to her one night in Nansana. I told her I wanted to go to school and CLD connected me to generous people like you. I'm now a graduate from Makarere University with a Bachelor's in Finance and fully serving my community through CLD. Thank you for seeing my dream come to pass.



ild sponsorship susie typher

Last summer, I planned a three-week trip to Uganda, hoping to better understand global poverty. Little did I know that understanding would come through the eyes of a sevenyear-old girl. Most of my questions were answered by her shy, crooked grin. For a year now, I've been Joan's sponsor, and I was blessed with the opportunity to visit her again this summer. She proudly brings her completed homework for me to look over, smiling with those same dimples. I know that I am empowering her with an education -- the first step in breaking the cycle of poverty. Ultimately, that education provides hope that tomorrow can always be better than today.


sustain bility ryan severns Come, Let's Dance recently purchased another taxi, making a total of three in the fleet. The taxis operate as a sustainable business, supporting the work of the organization here in Uganda. Each taxi supports one budget area, earning around $600 per month in profits. The new taxi supports an operating budget for the farm. This provides salaries to have employees working the farm, as well as a budget for seeds and development. Our driver, Emma, now manages the fleet and takes so much pride in his job. These taxis are providing jobs for locals and providing sustainability for CLD. Thanks to everyone who is helping make sustainability a reality.


it's wo thtorrie it wysong Walking into Mulago Hospital, we don't know what to expect. Did anyone die in the night, will someone die while we are there? Will a patient say thank you, or yell at us for not bringing them food? Every heart-wrenching thing we experience in Mulago is worth it when a patient like Susan tells us she smiles everyday now and doesn't feel much pain, or when Gertrude's face lights up with excitement when she sees us walk through the door, or when a tear slowly rolls down Robert's cheek as he tells us we have brought hope back into his life. Hope encourages, hope brings joy in the worst of times, and hope can save a person's life.

making frien s morgan johnson

Relationships are the key to everything we do in the slums of Katanga. We intentionally build friendships with the community in the slums, and it is through those friendships that we are able to help people. Relationships aren't built through programs; they develop from trust, vulnerability, and time. But friendship isn't simply to know about someone, it is to know who someone is on a deeper level. It's to know a person's past, but it's also to know what their dreams and desires are. The relationships that are built are not only what make the slum project successful; they are what make it so important to us. By providing a woman and her children with a small start-up micro-loan, mentoring her through simple accounting skills, organization, and setting goals, we are providing Hope and a future. CLD works alongside the leaders of Katanga slum through medical outreaches, soccer program, and regular school and daycare support. We aren't just helping 'destitute people' who are having trouble scraping money together for meals and rent (not to mention school fees for their kids) -- we are helping our Friends. And that encourages us to work harder so they can reach a place of sustainability.

thread of life sarah guerrie + stephanie karger


Thread of Life, a vocational school for sewing and crafts, continues to serve the women of the Katanga slum. Every year, Thread of Life's goal is to graduate 2-3 classes of women, each consisting of around 10 ladies. After graduation, they continue producing high quality woven-crafts, bags, aprons and necklaces. Former graduates can become instuctors for the new sewing classes. These women have never touched a sewing machine before they come to Thread of Life; not only do they learn a new skill, but their family's lives are radically changed. In working toward sustainability, Thread of Life now sells their products in two local craft markets, youth conferences and continues to contract school uniform orders. Thread of Life is also implementing a sponsorship program for each woman that participates in the shop's vocational training. A sponsorship covers wages, lunch, instructors, operational expenses and family medical care for one woman throughout the eight-week course. Thread of Life is continually growing under the management of Solomon Mutegeki. Thread of Life is now launching an online store on the CLD website. You will be able to purchase necklaces and aprons made by the slum women.

p.o. box 770172 steamboat springs CO 80477

Come Let's Dance 09-10  

The Newsletter for Come Let's Dance, an NGO doing work in Uganda, East Africa.