Review of Abaana Community Outreach Africa (ACO-Africa) by Nate Marzen

on 30/01/2017

What an outstanding service opportunity this was!

What an outstanding service opportunity this was for me! I am a social worker from the U.S., and I have young children of my own that limited my time abroad-- but my weeklong period of volunteering in rural Uganda with ACO-Africa proved to be very powerful. Its director John is a dynamic, creative, tirelessly driven servant of individuals and families troubled by various areas of need. Some Ugandans spoke my native tongue of English, while many others did not--though language and culture gaps were bridged by ACO staff, so that I could readily get involved and assist in a number of ways, ways that I felt comfortable. Within my short time there I quickly was availed the opportunity to spend time with some amazing foster teens; I supported case management services of HIV affected children during home and school visits; I helped teach poor, HIV affected parents "economics 101", as they sought to develop sustainable sources of income for their families; and I helped lead a talk given at a local prison, as we had a rich discussion with inmates about ways that they might avoid re-offending in the future. And of course what made these experiences so great, were the amazing people I encountered: from ACO staff, to the other talented (British) volunteer, and of course to the kind, welcoming, gracious people we served. In all, I learned so much during my visit, and am really grateful for the opportunity to have contributed in a small way to the great work that ACO does for the needy of rural Uganda.