KUISHI: CAMP DAVID UGANDA

Before joining Wells of Hope, children with incarcerated parents are reserved and do not easily get along with others. They face many issues most of them being psychological. The annual camp is one of the main ways through which the children are able to cope with parental imprisonment.

Wells of Hope Ministries (WOHM) is extremely grateful to Camp David of the Ozarks (based in USA) for their continued support in restoring hope to the children with parents in prison.  Since 2017, in partnership with WOHM, Camp David of the Ozarks (CDO) has conducted very interactive and educative camps (Camp David Uganda) with the children; helping them to cope with their issues, explore their skills and abilities. Camp David Uganda is one of the major activities the children always look forward to. This year, the camp was help from 26th to 29th August 2019 with the theme KUISHI, a Swahili word meaning Dying To Live. The theme was focusing on putting to death all our comfort zones and focus on pleasing God in everything we do.

This time around, 123 children participated in the camp; 100 were campers and 23 served as staff. The campers were grouped in 8 teams which included: Pearls (girls), Jades (girls), Rubies (girls), Crystals (girls), Diamonds (girls), Lions (boys), Tigers (boys) and Panthers (boys). On Sunday 25th, the Camp David International (CDI) team headed to the campsite (Wells of Hope Junior School) and were joined by WOHM staff and volunteers. The CDI team comprised: Ben Smith (who the children preferred to call Papa Big Heart), Grace Smith (who the children preferred to call Mama Rose), Cheynne Tope, Wyatt Tope and Kacie Starr Long. Ben and Grace were accompanied by their children Lexi, Katy, Daniel and Jabari.

Upon arrival at the campsite, the children were extremely excited to see the visitors; they wore dazzling smiles as they welcomed the visitors and mingled with them. The camp was commenced with setting up stations for the different classes/activities scheduled for the following 4 days, meeting the different groups and handing out backpacks. The classes comprised What About It (WAI) class, crafts class, creation class, dance class, team building, field games, slingshots, life skills class and sewing class.

During the camp, the children were encouraged to always know that it’s not their fault that their parents are in prison; they were encouraged to be passionate about what they choose to do and to embrace teamwork, among other lessons. The children were engaged in sewing classes; where they sewed craft bags. They were engaged in Life Skills classes as well; and some of the topics shared included: goal setting and self-esteem.

Papa Big Heart conducting the What About It class; a session about helping children cope with parental imprisonment
Crafts class:Lexie and Rose sharing a picture with some of the Diamonds
Daniel conducting session with the older boys about setting goals
Kacie showing Faizo how to sew stitches

Some of the highlights of the camp included: the children’s birthday party, the shaving cream battle, African adventure, making SMORE’S at the campfire. The children celebrated their birthdays; they were extremely happy; they expressed immense joy as they received their birthday gifts some of which included; dolls, skirts, shirts, flip-flops, among others. At the campfire, the children could not hide their glee after receiving their photo albums and as they made SMORE’S.  The winners were also awarded medals.

Among other highlights were the life sessions conducted by Ben and Daniel; the connection time with the older girls which was conducted by Grace; children being able to sew craft bags; and children joyfully mingling with the visitors.

On Thursday, 11 children who had gone through sessions about baptism with Pastor Mark were baptized.

Wells of Hope Ministries thanks Camp David of the Ozarks for their continued support for the children with incarcerated parents at Wells of Hope.

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