Youths on humanitarian trip to Uganda

Area youths preparing to head to Uganda on July 17, are, from left, Michaela Boner, Elizabeth Benscoter, Matt Woolcock.

Area youths preparing to head to Uganda on July 17, are, from left, Michaela Boner, Elizabeth Benscoter, Matt Woolcock.

BY JEFFREY HORVATH

A group of local teens are preparing to embark on a humanitarian trip to Uganda this week.

Michaela Boner, Matt Woolcock, and Elizabeth Benscoter of the Springville/Dimock area are excited to experience another culture and help out their fellow man.

Michaela and Elizabeth will be returning to the village of Nansema, Uganda, after going on the same trip last summer, while Matt will be making his first trip to Africa.

They leave on July 17 and return August 8.

The trip is organized through the Colorado based non-profit charity “Come Let’s Dance.”

Elizabeth’s cousin is a benefactor for “Come Let’s Dance,” which was a factor in her and Michaela’s decision to make the trip last year.

“The first time we went it was about experiencing new things and getting out of our comfort zone,” Michaela said. “This time it will be less of a shock, so we can get started helping out right away.”

“Come Let’s Dance” runs a farm, a K-7 school, medical clinics, and a kid’s camp in Uganda, with their goal being to teach the locals sustainability.

“We teach them how to grow crops and be self-sustaining,” said Michaela. “We also get to hang out with the kids at the kid’s camp, which is one of the best parts of the time there.”

Elizabeth said that “another major goal of the organization is to build relationships with the villagers and to show them that though we live a world apart, we are there for them and we want to show them love.”

Both Michaela and Elizabeth agreed that the villagers become like a second family.

Come Let’s Dance also operates a “slumbase,” which is designed to educate, empower, and rehabilitate women from the slums.

Though the three will be going to Uganda to teach, they are also there to learn.

“Last year we thought we were going to teach them so much,” said Michaela, “and we did, but really they are the ones who taught us.”

Elizabeth said that “when we came back we saw this country through different eyes, and realized how lucky we are.

Michaela, Elizabeth and Matt have been fundraising for both their trip and for the charity for over a year.

They sold necklaces, aprons, and other items from Come Let’s Dance’s project “Thread of Life” throughout the school year.

Earlier in the month they also organized a yard sale at the Dimock Community Church with all the proceeds going to fund their trip.

“The community was very supportive and the yard sale went fantastically,” said Elizabeth. They raised just under $4,000 over the course of the weekend.

“It truly is a life-changing experience,” said Michaela, “and we hope to continue to go for years to come.”