Friday, August 7, 2009

Im so excited to say that Mackenzie Brown has arrived in Uganda and is settling in at BULA Children's Home.

Just over a year ago, I spent much of my time talking to Walker Williams, the 2007-2008 Elrod fellowship recipient, about the future of the fellowship. At that time, Mackenzie Brown was at Washington and Lee University, the summer before her senior year, running Campus Kitchens, a program in which unused food on campus was prepared and delivered to underprivileged families in the area. I did not know her, nor did Walker, and she certainly didn't know about BULA.

Walker and I spent hours on the phone that summer discussing how to rework the fellowship so that the fellow could have an even greater experience and more importantly so that more can be done to assist communities in Uganda. Loads of ideas were thrown around about what the fellow would do, where the fellow would live, and how BULA could be involved. These ideas, in our heated excitement over them, felt much like mere dreams and aspirations. It felt as though we were discussing what could be one day in a time far far away, much like a fairy tale land where all things go the way you envision. With enthusiasm, no expectations and a lot of heart, we constructed a program.

A year later, I am sitting here thinking about how it all happened, how Mackenzie ended up in Uganda, how those conversations made something very real and amazing unfold before our very eyes. As the months rolled by, there was so much to embrace. I remember so well the excitement when our ideas were so well received by Fran Elrod, the woman who runs the Fellowship programs at Washington and Lee, and how she then confirmed that not only would our ideas be realized through this program, but that the program would essentially be run by BULA. As if that wasn't enough to knock me off my feet, Andie and I, along with Walker, were then asked to go to the University and interview the applicants.

Deep breaths, sighs, and a surreal sense of what was happening took over during that time. Then and now, I can't quite grasp the magnitude of what was happening. Not only was I interviewing someone rather than being interviewed myself, but we were interviewing applicants to work for our own organization. When did my phone call home over 2 years ago talking about what we could do for a small village in Uganda turn into this? Incredible.

When the fellow was selected,and this fellow had a name, the excitement snowballed even further. This amazing young woman, Mackenzie, was coming on board to be a part of it all. How lucky are we? She just took her first step on a year long journey, making a tremendous difference in the lives of many, getting the experience of a lifetime and an education impossible to receive in a classroom. She is doing this with us, like us and for us. I am so looking forward to seeing the progress along the way and all that she will contribute to the work BULA does in Uganda.

Thank you Mackenzie, her family, Washington and Lee, Fran Elrod, Walker Williams, and everyone involved in making this a reality. I'm blown away each day.

1 comment:

Donna said...

Melissa, you are getting a gem in Mackenzie. Blessings on all you are doing and all of you who are doing...