This week’s Feature Friday shines the spotlight on Kellie Eaton. A secretary and registrar at Samantha Smith Elementary School, you may remember how Kellie took her schools’ annual pumpkin decorating contest digital and raised over $200 to provide learning packets and sanitation supplies to our Ugandan partners.
Like many of our over the past year, Kellie has been working from home, unsure of what would happen with the COVID-19 pandemic. That time was blessed with safe visits with her adult children and lots of home projects being completed. Slowly, Sam Smith has been returning to school: Kindergarteners and 1st graders are already back in the classroom and Kellie is looking forward to seeing her 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders soon!
Read on to hear about Kellie’s experience as a first-time travel volunteer on our 2018 Distribution Trip.
How did you get involved with Sister Schools?
I got involved with Sister Schools about 6 years ago by being contacted by Terry McGill, the Program Director at Sister Schools.
What memory from Uganda has stuck with you most? Or what did you find most surprising?
Wow, I have a lot of memories. Every day I think about the children and how extremely different the Ugandan education system, housing, employment, poverty, and the government differ so greatly different from ours. We are all very fortunate in so many ways. I remember the smiles and the giggles from the children seeing them selves in a picture. The landscape in Uganda is truly amazing, very tropical. I have great a great memory of doing a horseback safari with Ella and having the Zebras following us! Even though I was told of the weapons, it was still a shock to me to see policemen everywhere with weapons. One school we stopped at, the students kept touching my skin and my hair, for some it was the first time seeing a white person.
How did your trip(s) to Uganda change your life here in Seattle?
My life is forever changed with all of the experiences that I had. Some of the most profound were how schools differ from ours. Most schools do not have electricity, so no computers, no phones. Majority of families do not have transportation, so the children walk to school. Parents are not coming to the school to drop off shoes forgotten for PE or a lunch, coat.
What advice would you give to someone considering a trip with Sister Schools?
DO IT!!! You will not regret it. It will change your life in so many ways. Be grateful for all that we have.
Why is a trip to Uganda so rewarding?
The reward for me was opening my eyes to a whole culture that I knew nothing about. Even though I know how fortunate I am, it made me even more grateful and appreciate of all that I have.