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The Price of Stones: Building a School for My Village
Viking / 2010 / Hardcover
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It's estimated that every 3 seconds an African child dies from AIDS. It's difficult to imagine making an impact on such a severe statistic, but Twesigye Jackson Kaguri had a dream to help the AIDS orphans in his home village in Uganda. In The Price of Stones, Kaguri shares the ups and downs of his mission to build a tuition-free school for these children. You'll be challenged and inspired as you read how one person can bring hope and change to a desperate situation.
Can one person really make a difference in the world? Twesigye Jackson Kaguri defied many naysayers-and his own nagging doubts-and proved that, with a dream and incredible determination, he could change many lives.
Growing up in rural Uganda, Kaguri overcame poverty to earn a degree from the national university and worked as a human rights advocate, eventually making his way to pursue studies at Columbia University. When he returned to his village in Uganda with his wife, they were overwhelmed by the plight of his village's many AIDS orphans and vowed to open the first tuition-free school in the district for these children. Faced with many daunting obstacles, including little money, skepticism among friends in both the U.S. and Uganda, corrupt school inspectors, and a lack of supplies, he doggedly built one classroom after another until they had an accredited primary school filled with students dreaming of becoming the future doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers, and even presidents of Uganda.
The Price of Stones is the stirring story behind the founding of the Nyaka AIDS Orphans School. Weaving together tales from his youth with the enormously inspiring account of the remarkable challenges and triumphs of the school, Kaguri shows how someone with a modest idea is capable of achieving monumental results. His story will captivate all readers of Three Cups of Tea and Tracy Kidder's Strength in What Remains.
Twesigye Jackson Kaguri was raised in Uganda, graduated from Makerere University, and was a visiting scholar at Columbia University. He is a director of development at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, and the founder and director of the Nyaka and Kutamba AIDS Orphans Schools in Uganda.
Susan Urbanek Linville, a biologist and writer, lives in Pennsylvania.
"Many Americans feel disconnected from the AIDS pandemic occurring on a continent so far away. Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, in his inspirational book The Price of Stones, shortens that distance, making the effects of this disease personal by giving names and faces to AIDS orphans. But more significantly, many of Uganda's discarded children have been given hope and, even more important, love as students at the Nyaka AIDS Orphans School. Twesigye Jackson's life illustrates beautifully that one person can make a difference." - Ron Hall, New York Times best-selling co-author of Same Kind of Different as Me
"By page 23, I was hooked. By page 33, I had tears in my eyes, the first of many times as I read this impassioned account of one man's humble yet courageous efforts in confronting the grim legacy of the ruthless serial killer, AIDS, in his Ugandan village. If The Price of Stones doesn't break your heart over the plight of AIDS orphans in Africa, see a cardiologist immediately. You may need a transplant." - Lynn Vincent, New York Times best-selling writer of Same Kind of Different as Me and Going Rogue: An American Life
Jackson Kaguri grew up in rural southwestern Uganda, graduated from Makerere University in Kampala, was a visiting scholar at Columbia Universitys School of International and Public Affairs, and has a masters in public administration from Indiana University. In Uganda, Kaguri cofounded the human-rights organization Human Rights Concerns, to help victims of human-rights violations. Later he served as a programs assistant for Peoples Decade for Human Rights Education. Currently the associate director of development at Michigan State University, he is the founder and director of the Nyaka and Kutamba Schools for HIV/AIDS Orphans in Uganda.
Susan Urbanek Linville is a biologist and writer. She has taught and edited scientific journals. She now writes scripts for Indiana Universitys NPR series A Moment of Silence and is working on a novel. She has volunteered at Nyaka School.
An incredibly inspiring and thrilling read, this is the story of Jackson Kaguri, who grew up in rural southwestern Uganda, the son of an irascible small-time farmer and his loving wife. In spite of the familys poverty, Jackson succeeds and graduates from the national university with a calling to work in human rights that leads him to Columbia University. There he falls in love with and later marries an American scientist, Beronda.
When he returns to Uganda with his bride, they are overwhelmed by the many villagers who line up to ask for help with food and school feesand having lost two siblings to AIDS, Jackson is especially moved by the plight of the thousands of abandoned AIDS orphans in his local district. Impulsively, he and Beronda vow to open the first tuition-free school for orphans. A newlywed with little money, and facing opposition from his domineering father and townspeople, difficulty getting supplies, corrupt school inspectors, and the great needs of these thrown-away, untouchable children, Kaguri doggedly builds one schoolroom at a time with the help of many supporters in Uganda and the financial pledges of churches in America, and with the sustenance of his strong faith in Jesus Christ.
Weaving together stories from his youth in Uganda and the remarkable account of how one person with a dream can change livesboth his students and his supportersthis is an unforgettable, page-turning book that demonstrates that one person can be a cup of cold water to a thirsty world. The book concludes with the graduation of the first class of Nyaka AIDS orphans, almost all of whom Jackson and his supporters are sponsoring as they continue their education and dream of becoming doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers, and even perhaps the future president of Uganda.
So many people die of AIDS in Uganda that at times bodies are stacked in city mortuaries like firewood. Moved by the plight of more than one million AIDS orphans in a nation with a population of 30 million, Kaguri, a human rights advocate returning home after studying at Columbia University, decided to build a school for children who had lost one or both parents to the syndrome. Kaguri and his American wife used their modest resources and contributions from friends and churches to open the two-classroom Nyaka AIDS Orphans School and initiate advocacy campaigns to counteract the superstitions that have stigmatized HIV/AIDS in Uganda. Anecdotes about the students, the authors familyhis own brother and sister died from the diseaseand his dealings with donors and corrupt officials, reveal Kaguri to be at once vulnerable and ferociously determined. Written in simple, straightforward style, the book is an affecting and accessible tribute to the difference one person can make in the world. (Jun.)Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
"There's nothing abstract about this moving memoir ... Kaguri shows how much one person can do."
"Kaguri dreams big. And not without merit. Presented simply and humbly, Kaguri's story debuts this month in his unforgettable memoir."
-The Christian Science Monitor
"A chronicle of the humanitarian efforts by a Ugandan native schooled in the West, addressing poverty and the ravages of AIDS in Africa ... a moving journey of turning beliefs into actions."
"The Price of Stones is an inspiring account of turning tragedy into hope for others."
-President Jimmy Carter
"This is a remarkable story about how Twesigye Jackson Kaguri transformed his suffering--the loss of several of his family members to AIDS--into action. Kaguri is a wonderful example of one person using educational success responsibly and with purpose to benefit the lives of those less fortunate. If you've ever doubted your ability to impact the lives of others, read this story and it will change your mind and heart."
-Ishmael Beah, author A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
"Many Americans feel disconnected from the AIDS pandemic occurring on a continent so far away. Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, in his inspirational book The Price of Stones, shortens that distance, making the effects of this disease personal by giving names and faces to AIDS orphans. But more significantly, many of Uganda's discarded children have been given hope and, even more important, love as students at the Nyaka AIDS Orphans School. Twesigye Jackson's life illustrates beautifully that one person can make a difference."
-Ron Hall, New York Times best-selling co-author of Same Kind of Different as Me
"By page 23, I was hooked. By page 33, I had tears in my eyes, the first of many times as I read this impassioned account of one man's humble yet courageous efforts in confronting the grim legacy of the ruthless serial killer, AIDS, in his Ugandan village. If The Price of Stones doesn't break your heart over the plight of AIDS orphans in Africa, see a cardiologist immediately. You may need a transplant."
-Lynn Vincent, New York Times best-selling writer of Same Kind of Different as Me and Going Rogue: An American Life
"By creating a school for AIDS orphans in a remote region of southwestern Uganda, Twesigye Jackson Kaguri answered the question, 'And who is my neighbor?' By telling his story with clarity and passion, he makes his neighbors ours as well."
-Senator John C. Danforth, former US Ambassador to the United Nations
"Twesigye Jackson Kaguri is a force to be reckoned with. He is a social entrepreneur who had a vision and made it a reality. The Price of Stones tells the amazing story of how, with courage and deep faith, he has brought the gift of education to children orphaned by AIDS in rural Uganda. I could not put the book down and cried through many parts of it."
-Maya Ajmera, Founder and President, The Global Fund for Children
"Kaguri's story is a reminder of the importance of education in the lives of children around the world. The obstacles he faced in expanding access to education for children in his native Uganda highlight both the challenges confronting many educators in Africa, and the benefits received by each and every child from attending school."
-Rebecca Winthrop, Ph.D., Fellow and Co-director, Center for Universal Education, Brookings Institution
"This book is a testament to the power of faith and the will to make a difference. Transforming dreams to reality, Twesigye Jackson has found himself to be a man of compassion and empowers us all to be compassionate, too. A fantastic read-enlightening, enlivening, and inspiring."
-Allan R. Handysides, Director, GC Health Ministries, Seventh-day Adventist Church
"This book introduces us to people behind the statistics and offers an intimate, insider's view of the hardship, heartache, sacrifice, hope and joy of children and their families in one community in Uganda. The author provides an inspirational personal account of someone following his heart and giving back to his community. We desperately need to hear more stories like the one told in The Price of Stones."
-Martin Hayes, Child Protection Specialist, ChildFund International
"Twesigye Jackson Kaguri beautifully narrates his journey to transform the devastating legacy of HIV/AIDS and poverty into an occasion for educational excellence. While so many others with his opportunity have left, Jackson returns to his community with a full heart and a herculean investment for the future of the children of Uganda."
-Jessica Huber, Director, Peace and Justice Programs, USAID/Stability, Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Uganda Project
"This remarkable book is the best case study on best practices in community-driven development in an African setting. Readers will be inspired by the book's stories as will anyone anywhere who is trying to make the world a better place."
-Frank Byamugisha, Operations Advisor for Africa, The World Bank, USA
"This book shows that you can build a solid educational foundation for the future of Africa's children at the price of stones. Immensely inspiring."
-Professor Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development, Harvard Kennedy School
"Too often we study poverty and disease as abstract phenomena in academic studies. Valuable as such studies are, Twesigye Jackson Kaguri brings us in this book face-to-face with the nature, culture, and response to poverty and the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in rural Uganda. It is also the story of one couple's determination to do something about one of the most moving crises in Uganda, the plight of HIV/AIDS orphans. Kaguri does not flinch from reporting the family arguments, the various manipulations of community and government officials, and the uphill struggle to get something even so fine as a school under way. But in the end it is a story of Africa's resilience, the courage of its peoples, and the ways in which even a small community in America can give hope to those who deserve it the most."
-Princeton N. Lyman, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
"Twesigye Jackson Kaguri created a school for AIDS orphans in a remote area of Uganda; he did this with few resources other than his dreams, imagination and trust in the goodness of his friends. He created a community dedicated to a holistic approach to fighting a scourge in his country. He has provided a wonderfully evocative picture of rural Uganda and his book rivets attention with each chapter telling a distinct story in a very telling fashion. His book provides a model of how problems can be solved in a Third World situation with few resources but lots of imagination, optimism, the generation of community support and the resourcefulness of friends."
-Merrick Posnansky, Professor Emeritus of History, UCLA; former professor at Makerere University, Uganda
"An inspiring story of courage and perseverance, The Price of Stones captures the power of hardwork and determination to transform lives in Africa."
-Christopher Higgins, President, Friends of New Hope School Foundation, Uganda
"Born in rural Uganda, Kaguri got a college degree and continued his studies at Columbia University. Then he returned home to a village full of AIDS orphans and decided to build a tuition-free primary school. For readers of Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea, Tracy Kidder's Strength in What Remains, and William Kamkwamba's The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind."
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