I have known Jeami Duncan (founder) for a long time, but there is a whole different person in her that I hadn’t met until I traveled with her to Uganda on a short term mission trip last year. Before we left, I took some time to listen to her story of how she ended up traveling to Uganda and what it was that kept her going back. I got to witness the truth in her words of her love and compassion for Uganda and its people from the second I stepped off the plane right behind her in Africa to this very day. The dreams of education and opportunity that the people of Uganda desire more than anything didn’t just hit her one day. These dreams are the dreams of the people of Uganda, and became hers because she took the time years ago to listen to their cry and listen carefully. Through partnering and building relationships with the people there, she has been able to be a mighty tool for providing opportunities that would otherwise be nothing more than a distant dream. I could go on and on about my experiences in Uganda, but I was most impressed with the attitude that Jeami implemented on our group through her leadership. We were able to accomplish much and it was never just a checklist. We took advantage of the time that we had there providing helping hands at orphanages, hospitals, local villages, and other organizations around the country. The majority of our time was spent being relational with the people around us and tending to their living and health needs, providing clothes, food, basic hygiene necessities, and even healthcare needs, sometimes making unplanned trips to the hospital when needed. It has only been a little over a year since we were there looking at land options to build the school, and now the second building is under construction! Leaving Uganda, I felt like I had received so much more than I ever thought I would have and I can't wait to go back with Mercy's Village International. It is the most genuine organization I've been a part of and I know this from first hand experiences that I will never forget. I started a student organization at my college and it has been such an exciting opportunity to be a part of and make a difference in the lives of less fortunate children in Uganda through the power of education!
Jeami Duncan visited Uganda a few years back and fell in love with the country. Since then, it has been her heart to build a school for the children of Uganda: Mercy's Village. She has remained steadfast in her vision to educate the poor and underrepresented. Last year, I visited Uganda for three weeks and was able to witness firsthand the efforts for Mercy's village. Mrs. Duncan has purchased the land and employed the local people to aid in her building project. She is providing construction jobs as well as teaching jobs for Ugandans. She plans to open her school by next year. The greatest quality of Mercy's Village is its vision to provide for the practical needs through compassion and action, and equip the country to take care of its people.
When I got on that plane to travel to Uganda with Mercy's Village, I honestly didn't know what to expect. I was amazed at MV's expertise in managing the logistics and safety of the volunteers. But I was blown away at the practical understanding of the local culture and common sense approach to compassion. Like the time the team leader stopped the bus and threw our whole "schedule" off track because she noticed a young girl on the street was sick. Derailing our day and taking her to the hospital likely saved her life. I LOVE that there is an order to the way things are done and yet flexibility remains to see and respond to immediate needs. We walked the fields that will become schools, marking off the boundaries for the buildings, discussing plans with the builders. We canvassed the village shops buying supplies for a community pit latrine. Partnering with other organizations and a village, we worked side by side with the locals to mud a hut and fix a well. These were all amazing instances of just some of the ways that MV brings help and hope to those it encounters. One of my favorite things is talking with the villagers and seeing their response as MV comes back again and again, each time bringing good things for the community. MV is earning trust, building community - and that is an incredible thing to witness. I'm honored to stand with Mercy's Village in their efforts to open doors of opportunity, through education, for the people of northern Uganda.
Mercy's Village is wonderful example of what happens when beautiful hearts and brilliant minds collide. My wife and I have been amazed by the incredible impact this organization has had not only on our own lives, but of those of our children. Our girls' understanding of how small this world really is and the importance of helping others is a concept that could not have been taught in text books or by watching Discovery channel. And now, by having a direct connection to a remote region of the world (Gulu, Uganda) via Mercy's Village, our family now has real dialogue and a relationship with a group of people 10,000 miles away from our home in Los Angeles, but that distance seems to be getting shorter and shorter with every loving letter and smiling photo exchanged between my two daughters and their Ugandan friend, Sharon. Michael M.
I've been actively volunteering with Mercy's Village for about a year now. I've wanted to go with Mercy's Village on a trip to Uganda since it started, and was able to make it out there in February of '10. The characteristic that I like most about Mercy's Village is how focused it is. It's not trying to create world peace or alleviate poverty throughout the entire developing world. The vision is very clear, to drastically impact the lives of the long-suffering victims of Uganda's Civil War by educating children in Northern Uganda and being a catalyst for village re-development. Having the opportunity to actually go to Uganda, to see the devastation caused by decades of war, and to also see the efforts of the Ugandan's to slowly begin the reconstruction of their country and society was very inspiring. I left with the strong conviction that this effort, this journey will be very challenging, but is very achievable. Ugandans and their country is ready to be rebuilt, ready to heal, and ready to put a very hard past behind them.
This organization has incredible vision and hope for the children of Uganda. They've gone into the war ravaged north to bring in education which will not just put a bandaid on the problems there but really impact the future to bring about not only Hope, but real lasting change. I've seen this organization in action and it has impacted me profoundly.
Mercy's Village is a grassroots organization that is aiming to support Ugandan children and their families. This organization is tending to the hearts of children by helping them gain and education and give them a hope for the future. They are also ministering to the families and villages nearby, offering hope to regain a livelihood that has been taking away due to war. This organization looks to serve the whole community starting with the lives of the children.
Mercy's Village has really helped my daughters (5 & 8) become more compassionate and giving. They get so excited to learn about the work that is happening in Gulu. For our family, Mercy's Village represents an opportunity to give and teach our girls the importance of helping others. My 8 year old now knows more about Africa than most adults and both my girls are very active in sharing with their schools how they too can get involved in changing lives in Gulu. We love Mercy's Village!
Mercy's Village is a great organization with a focus of helping redeem a community in the Gulu District of Uganda by providing education. This organic movement to move into an area in need and provide a solution to fix the problem long term. The solution is not one that is going to just put a bandaid on the wounds but it is going to help fix the wounds from the inside out. Mercy's Village International is a great organization with opportunities for people of all backgrounds to get involved. If you have a heart you can see the need and you can help.
Some people dream about making the world a better place - about building something from the ground up, or seeing something wrong in the world and actually taking steps to change things. Some people only dream - but the people at Mercy's Village are making dreams come true for the people of Uganda. The children in the Gulu region of Uganda have survived unimaginable horrors at the hands of the LRA, a rebel army that kidnapped so many of them and forced them into a war against their own people... their own families even. And yet... they somehow manage to smile with their whole hearts even in the shadow of such devastation. The people of Uganda have a joy that cannot be contained - and maybe that's because they don't feel the need to contain it the way we do. They embrace each day and each person as a gift: fragile (and perhaps fleeting). My friend Jeami told me recently: "I am learning that there is never enough in Africa." To some that would be an overwhelming realization. For some, that would stop them in their tracks. The amazing people involved with Mercy's Village will not be swayed, however. Step by step, plot by plot and acre by acre, they've secured land in the Gulu region to build a school for these kids. Volunteers have travelled from around the world to clear brush and break ground in order to build something far more than walls and a roof or a source of fresh water. Mercy's Village is building lives, futures and dreams for generations to come. I'm thrilled and humbled to play even a small part in these kids lives... its an investment that I believe will have far greater returns than any stock market I know. Please check out www.MercysVillage.org and see how you can make a difference too.