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Look where we're taking BookCrossing!

BookCrossing tags along on a mother-daughter adventure
by heather
March 5, 2009
Of all the things that BookCrossing and parenting have brought to me, I never thought it would be a trip to Uganda with our 13-year-old daughter, Rio. We are off on a mother/daughter trip, of all places, to a village outside of Kampala, Uganda to help bring the Matsiko Children's Choir 2 back to the U.S. and of course, we're taking BookCrossing with us. We'll be wild releasing books as we travel, but our big hope is to deliver and distribute books donated by this wonderful BookCrossing community to some definitely deserving kids in East Africa.

Rio is armed with her video camera (and me with a craving for more third world adventure) and together we will help escort and film the 24 orphans who make up the Matsiko Children’s Choir 2 -- choir made up of some of the poorest children of East Africa, as they travel the U.S. to raise sponsorship support for other children back home in Uganda and around the world. Rio is an old hand at filming, and it was due to her past experience (she was chosen to film My Life as a Child for the BBC/TLC in 2006) that she was asked to participate in this project. She brings a unique viewpoint as a child herself, and hopes to capture the moments as these children (some of whom have never seen electricity nor had shoes on their feet) leave the garbage heaps, the bush, brothels and, in the best case, tin shacks that they know as home in Kampala, Uganda, to journey to the west. She will also be filming choir rehearsal, the original Matsiko Choir kids, and the site for the new orphanage. All of her footage will eventually go toward producing a final promotional piece (which will also include Matsiko’s farewell performance in the Seattle Opera Hall) that will be broadcast worldwide in December 09.

I'd love to enlist the help of you, the BC book-loving community, to send books to this Ugandan orphanage while Rio and I are there. (The need is actually ongoing, not just limited to our visit, so any time books are sent and any books sent will be most welcome.) The Uganda schools and orphanage desperately need dictionaries, thesauruses and children's books. Small stuffed animals and shoes make great packing material and are also always much needed and appreciated. Ideally (and of course preferred), you can send your boxes directly to P.O. Box 3940, Kampala, Uganda, East Africa (Attention Matsiko, Gospel Messengers, or any Gospel Messenger staff member).

We are so grateful for this dual purpose opportunity of helping kids and helping to fulfill BookCrossing mission of "making the world a library"! You make Bruce and me proud to be co-founders of such a great global changing phenomenon!

For information about a tax-deductible sponsorship of a child or Matsiko Children's Choir, call Don Windham directly at 253-217-7531 or visit www.MATSIKO.com.

About ICN: Each child in the choir receives sponsorship support through International Children's Network (ICN), an almost exclusively volunteer-based organization with an overhead budget of less than three percent of all money raised. Sponsorship provides these children with educational support all the way through the university level. Before they were sponsored, many of these children lived in unspeakable conditions with no hope for food, let alone an education that would break them free from the terrible cycle of poverty -- a desperate condition capturing 600 million children around the world. The organization's grassroots approach to the issue of poverty is truly unique with a long term goal of changing the country through education.

ICN invites sponsors to write letters and exchange photos with their children and encourages sponsors to travel on any number of service trip opportunities to actually meet, face to face, the children they support. "And that is really why we brought the choir out, too," adds Windham. "We want to give those sponsors, who may never have the opportunity to meet their own sponsored children, the chance to meet the kids, to see that poverty is real and that their help dramatically and positively changes these kids' lives."

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