Chapter #1 - The Early Days
It all started in 2005 when an independent filmmaker traveled to Uganda to find a story. With little money or plan, but discontent with their comfortable existence, Shana Gilbert and her crew set out to make a difference in Africa during their 3 month trip. When 'helping' people seemed to backfire and nothing went as planned, they flew back to Colorado feeling discouraged and hopeless.
During their time in Uganda, they discovered a house of 65 street kids and orphans who who stole their hearts. They were living on top of each other in a rented three bedroom house, malnourished and diseased but full of joy - often saying “Jangu Tuzine!” – meaning, “Come, Let’s Dance!” It’s this phrase that persuaded Shana and a friend to go back to Uganda two months later, leaving the film footage in a cabinet to see what happens if you keep on loving despite the pain and disappointment.
After getting established as a 501(c)3 non-profit in 2006, our focus for the first year and a half became keeping these kids stay alive by living and working alongside of their Ugandan caretakers who shifted everything we thought we knew about ‘foreign-aid’.
Today, we look back and marvel at those early days when there were only two or three of us Americans living in Uganda almost year round with no budget and no thought out plan. The only priority was going to the hospital everyday with 5-10 kids at a time, spending countless hours in waiting rooms and lobbies, dreaming of the day when no one would be hungry, and staying healthy would be normal life.