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Keep Noelle in Africa!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pictures for 1,000 words

Edmond and the 2104 CV Interns! 

                                          Celebrating Edmond and our family life together

                                          One of my favorite places on earth; Susanna and Peter's house

                                  My favorite Ugandan men playing with their new American dinosaurs

                           I've known Denis and Gloryia since before they had ever even noticed each other.                                Now they have a beautiful baby girl together and are doing wonderful work!

                                                               Innocent; my dear one

                                My daughter Lydia, still making beautiful craft and laughing often

                                             Daily life with the Mwandas

                                                             NET; Denis and Jane

                           My first and favorite African Mamas; Clementine and Euphrasia

                                             You find wonderful people in crazy places...

                                             Sitting under the mango tree with CLA Girls

                        New Zealand, America, Aura... We've known each other for over 3 years.
          Gasper (in blue) shared with me that evening how much our training had changed his life.

                                               A new house for a beautiful family...

                                        Seminarians having So much fun!  (Missionaries of Africa)

                                         Carol and her class...

                                           My hardworking, dedicated and hilarious staff

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Mini Impacts...

This is a continuation of updates in my most recent newsletter.  If you didn't receive it, or would like to review it, click here!

As stated, repeatedly, I don't like "snapshots" of work in the developing world... however, I do hope that these small stories will give you a momentary glimpse into the transformation that is happening through the work of Cornerstone Veritas, Cornerstone Development and all of our partners in Uganda and throughout Eastern Africa.

Emmaus Center:  I was able to visit with our partners at Emmaus Center, which is a retreat center in Luwero which also hosts a 9 month leadership training school for about 20 people (per session) from all over Uganda.  It took time and a long term relationship, but I eventually convinced them that they should run the 10 Principles of Leadership during these 9 months.  While I lived in Uganda, I lead 2 of these short courses for their students, and they were a success.  When I went to visit during this most recent trip, I had the chance to greet the new students who are on this course, and I was told at that time that every class before them had given the staff feedback that the 10 Principles course was one of the best and most practical that they received during their 9 months of training!  Emmaus is committed to continuing to run the course as long as the students gain so much from it!

Internship Program:  The Cornerstone Veritas Internship Program is one of the things I am most proud of!  We have 11 intern alumni, and 6 current interns.  ALL of our alumni are doing great things, and the majority of them are still in close contact with us.  Through the 12 training sessions, community engagement projects, programs they attend, the reading program we developed and other opportunities, these young people are given skills to put them ahead of their peers in every way.  This is our goal because then they can be excellent leaders who are well formed in how to take responsibility, be committed to excellence and integrity in their work, and be true servant leaders!   I am grateful to Cornerstone Development for seeing the value of our program and helping us to expand it!  We are hopeful for even more expansion in coming years!

More soon!!  

Monday, June 16, 2014


I've been stateside for 8 days.  In those 8 days, I helped to put on an amazing wedding.  In those 8 days, I also did not blog post, or in any way work on post-Africa things.

But now the wedding is over, the sun is shining and I have some time.  This will take time, it will take a while for me to think through my time in Uganda and find ways to connect the places and experiences.

But I will do it, so don't doubt!  Stories will be told, updates given, and eventually even a newsletter written!

For now I will simply say that I am very glad I went to Uganda.  I did not make it to South Sudan, and that's ok.  Once I got on the ground, I realized how important quality time in relationships is, and how that needed to be the focus of my trip. 

There is another reason, other than not having time, that I haven't detailed my time in Uganda here.  It's because I am struggling with the fact that people are not sound bites.  So many NGOs, Community Based Organization, government agencies, and well meaning people go to Africa and then tell these short, sound bite stories, of success, of growth, of change.  I've done it too, I've written my sound bite stories and hoped people will feel inspired.

But people, and life, can't be captured in a 3 paragraph story.  It can't be summarized in a document or the sidebar of a newsletter.  And that is why I am not yet filling this page with stories and details.

The stories are there.  Great things have happened, we have been incredibly "successful" in our work... yet there is a tension that I am deeply feeling about how to present it, because people are the center of the work, and, once again, we are faced with the challenge of the intanglible.

I will find a way, probably a very imperfect way.  But it will take time.  So please, be patient, and enjoy!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I'm here!

I haven't posted yet from Africa.

Maybe cause I've been working and connecting with my people for 4 days, non stop.

It's been really good.  I can't post pictures right now, because I'm on a public computer in Masaka.  But I have some great ones I am looking forward to sharing.

Here's a quick overview of what I've been up to...


Arrived at Cornerstone in the morning, saw all the friends, reconnected, it was amazing!  It felt like no time had passed.

Met with the Cornerstone Veritas team:  Edmond and Carol (our staff) and the new team of interns!  We had a great time; they introduced themselves, and we all talked for a while about many things.  I shared with them about my original vision behind the internship and about the importance of building a family together.

We then had some time just as a staff, to plan for the coming weeks.  This also included some great one on one conversation with Edmond, he is really excelling in his role!

At about 5 pm we went down to the large fellowship hall and played some games before the "evening program" began.  We were celebrating both Edmond's birthday and my arrival, so we had some speeches, and great food.  All the interns for 2014 were there, along with a variety of former interns and our current staff, as well as many of our friends.  A few hours after the event started, Frank (a former CV staff member) came in, and I got the amazing chance to sit and eat with some of my closest Ugandan friends.


Intern Training!  All 6 interns gathered for a training time with me.  I did one of the lessons from their 12 lesson series.  This one is about how to use the internet and how to figure out what information is true.  We covered a lot of information, and I think it will be a good starting point for them with internet use.

We then had lunch, and during lunch I gave them some questions to think over.  After lunch, we went up to the meeting room on the roof and had a "Listening Forum" which is a time of discussing challenging issues which they don't usually feel free to discuss.  All of them really enjoyed it, and it was amazing to see them choose to think maturely and seriously about a number of issues.

After the listening forum, I had one on ones with 5 out of the 6 interns.  This was a fun time to hear their incredible stories, learn more about their hopes and dreams, and have a chance to speak into their lives.

A little before 5 I ran off to go sit on Susanna and Peter's couch for the evening.  It was GLORIOUS!  Tendai remembered me, and Joshua is huge.

Got up early and packed, and arrived to the office in time to get some visiting in with a few good friends.  We then met as a staff about various practical things:  Finances, schedules, and the internship program.  It was so nice to be able to sit and comfortably discuss these programs.

I think had a brief, but very good meeting with Tim (the executive director of Cornerstone Development), before running off to catch a bus to Masaka with Edmond.  The bus we took was SO SLOW!!  It went about 10 mph up hills, which there are a good number of between Kampala and Masaka.  We arrived at the petrol station just outside of town right at 4 pm, which was when our meeting was supposed to start.  There, we waited to be picked up and when the van arrived, I found it full of wonderful and familiar faces!  Denis, Gloryia (with new baby Daisy) and Rina all were there with nothing but smiles and hugs.

We hurried to the new offices that they have for the various businesses they are starting.  There, I taught a 1.5 hour training on Blogging!  It was great!  We did a lot of discussing how to blog, and then I walked them through setting up a blog.  Afterwards, we went to the new NET team house and had some awesome discussion with various friends, before dinner and bed.

So there you go!  I've been a bit busy...

More in a few days!