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Teaching with more than words

Local teen's humanitarian trip to Uganda filled with difficulty, success

As of late, with budget reviews and layoffs dominating the headlines, it can be easy to lose perspective on what one has.

A mother-daughter team from Bethlehem recently saw in stark terms the differences in life here and elsewhere during an expedition to the African country of Uganda. Along with other members of the local group Engeye, Theresa and Sara Weinman spent 15 days in the Village of Ddegeya, working in a medical clinic, teaching schoolchildren and planning how they can help provide a better future for the next generation a half-world away.

For Sara, 16, it was her school vacation. For her mother, it was her second trip as a member of Engeye Scholars, which sponsors the education of the poorest Ugandan children. Getting to the village cost thousands of dollars out of their own pockets, 24 hours of travel and the hardships of primitive living, but they're already planning the next trip.

I fell in love with the kids in the village, I don't think it's possible not to go back, said Sara Weinman.

Sara has been fundraising locally for about a year-and-a-half now, ever since becoming a co-founder of Engeye Teen Connection, a small but dedicated group of Capital District youth. She's the first of that group to visit Uganda, though co-founder Brian Hickey is planning to make a journey as well.

One of her goals for the visit to Ddegeya was to find a worthy cause for the funds ETC is raising. Though there are certainly no shortages of hardships in the country, the lack of educational opportunities really struck her. She taught math and English classes at the Engeye afternoon tutoring program and also visited St. Gertrude's, where Union College students have also been doing work.

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