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 family's 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 fees-and 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 lives--both his students' and his supporters'-this 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.
Jackson Kaguri grew up in rural southwestern Uganda, graduated from Makerere University in Kampala, was a visiting scholar at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, and has a master's 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 People's 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.