….wild is the wind…creative freedom is the seed….
About 8 years ago, I was introduced to Betty who ran the Raise Uganda Now project in Kampala. She was one amongst many projects that the then Hope Children Foundation worked with in Kampala when we had clowns and performers from the Arabella Spencer-Churchill charitable Foundation coming over to the HIV infested region to perform for all the children at the schools in the area. At the time of my Founding of Hope Children Foundation with local project leaders with the excellent collaboration with Cathy Olivier, we understood the enormity of the work because children that were born in the slums had an HIV+ infection rate of 52% at birth. I got involved because I was absolutely appalled by the Bush Administration policy which stipulated via USAId that Abstinence Education was part of the condition for granting of USAid for AIDS medicine to the people in the slums of Uganda. At the time I remember asking via someone quoting me in some major social media forum to Mrs. Barbara Bush as to why she didn’t take Abstinence lessons when she conceived of a numbskull idiot who didn’t seem to understand the following information: THAT CHILDREN BORN INSIDE THE SLUMS OF KAMPALA TO HIV+ PARENTS DID NOT HAVE ANY CHOICE IN THE MATTER AND ABSTINENCE LESSONS WERE ADDING INSULT TO INJURY TO A CHILD WHO WILL PROBABLY NOT LIVE TO SEXUALLY ACTIVE REPRODUCTIVE AGE!
I knew many GOPs were intellectually challenged, I did not know they added Biological Ignorance to part of their repertoire of Emotional Unintelligence and Stunted Empathy Genes. I do think, in retrospect, preaching Abstinence to many GOP would actually improve the state of USA today!🤣🤣🤣🤡🤡🤡😂😂😂 Indeed there is a good case for China’s dictatorial policy of Involuntary Sterilisation in many of the hardcore Trump supporting demographics, just in case they keep inbreeding their vile, uninformed racists policies, working against the efforts of decent people who try to do their best for the blameless children, just trying to survive beyond poverty.
Anyway, the point is that I met Betty the General Managing Director of RUN Uganda and I was impressed with her. I observed her work over the last 8 years. I remembered when her project suffered setbacks and was nearly closed down until a group of ex-Harvard Korean Students stepped up and like many immigrant Americans, got the job done!
I am paraphrasing their fundraising project at the time, just to give every some context as to how dire the situation for the 34 orphans was. May I just say the reason why the children were at RUN was that their parents died of AIDS but by some miracle of Mother Nature, they were somehow born HIV- and AIDS-free. Probably because around the age of 2yrs old, the natural immunity of 48% of the children exposed to the HIV virus kicked in and destroyed the virus. But unfortunately this left time in the world alone, without parents and often with carers that, though willing, may be struggling with different challenges in life; up to and including battling the HIV virus themselves in some cases. So some of the guardians of some of the children tried to leave the children in the care of Betty at RUN so that they may have a fighting chance of living an HIV-free life.
Perhaps this story is best told via the personal case of Ronald Wabirya, who was orphaned because of HIV infected parents and lost many of those he loved around him before another member of his family brought him to RUN.
Actually, it was because of Ronald’s drawing about his love of music, that Kel1st and I noticed his shining qualities in the arts. Quite simply I decided to send Betty’s projects some basic art supplies and she asked that I sent some clothes for the children as they grew quickly. I had no idea how to buy children’s clothing so I just went down to my local Marie Curie Cancer charity shop and the lovely lady volunteering there just picked out some clothes I needed from the amount of Gift Aide she got. So effectively two charities are helped from shops donating their stocks as Gift Aide. I thought that made a lot of sense to me. To test for sizes, we sent an initial 25 cute little designer tops. We will sort it out with Marie Curie Cancer Charity and send the remaining 20 fashionable new tops with more art supplies.
I’m not sure why we did that. It just seemed like a good idea, it was like a voice called out to us, I sometimes called this ”The Art Force”, calling out to us to recognize kindred spirits in fellow potential creatives. We think Ronald has a lot of creative potentials and we want to see him thrive and transcend the difficulties of his early life. He is 13 yrs old now.
Randy Rodriguez (Kel1st) and I took a sabbatical for a year, as he had personal family issues and I had to finish my Film & TV technical course. Somehow from 10000km away, we both heard about Ronald. I will be honest, it is my impression that Ronald’s case is more personal for Kel1st because he lost his last Graffiti Art Partner ”Donde” (Donald) to HIV when they were young. So I guess he understood a little bit more what it feels like to be in Ronald’s situation. I do not but I understand the responsibility we have as leaders in our arts field to nurture a fellow creative.
Kel1st comment was,” I believe faith is in the writing.”
This was about the only thing we ever really agreed on. He calls it “writing” as in Graffiti style writing. I call it Art because in the Chinese tradition Pictographic Art WAS and IS our WRITING for 6000 years. I’m not sure why that is so difficult to understand for the world that likes to compartmentalize creativity to make it easier to sell, pimp and market? Anyway, it is a fallacy to compartmentalize.
So we are in agreement about nurturing Ronald’s creative ability. Serendipitously, in the music area, my dear friend and past collaborator, Maurizio Grandolini (who graduated from one of Italy’s top musical Conservatoire) offered to help should I ever visit Ronald and his 44 friends under the care of Betty. I hope it works out. I would like to very much!
Anyway, the art classes are continuing and I am glad to hear that Joon Yang, and his ex-Harvard friends, in Seoul (South Korea) are also doing their utmost to help the 45 orphans at RUN, in the most sustainable and egoless way possible. I really like to see that and was so happy to hear that he got involved at a time when the project was in dire trouble. Well done.
Betty’s 45 kids will always be close to my heart and I know that no matter how much I disagree on different lifestyle choice levels with Kel1st, his friends and all those who love his art will also support Ronald’s endeavor to be trans-disciplinary in his creativity, by fusing the art of drawing and his love of music. It goes without saying that all those who support my work and my creative journey worldwide are behind this project. We want to see Ronald fulfill his greatest creative potential.
Know that we will always be watching and supporting the progress of all 45 kids and their creative journey as they grow into adulthood under the care of Betty and her team of carers.
On behalf of Kel1st and Yu, 2018
For information on Raise Uganda Now, please visit their website in English here:
In Korean RUN 코리아: https://blog.naver.com/raiseugandanow_kr