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The village children whom the Mukabires met during a visit to Ivvukula.
Photo provided, Lisa Mukabire
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Geofrey and Lisa Mukabire and their children, Esther and Elijah.
Photo provided, Lisa Mukabire
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Thanks to the community of Ogden, the children of a community in Uganda will soon be able to receive a 21st century education. The Subi Foundation is holding its first ever Subi Market Fair on Saturday to raise funds for a new school in the village of Ivuukula.
In 2012, Geofrey Mukabire and Lisa Holliday Mukabire met in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. They had completely opposite childhoods. Lisa Mukabire grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, and although her family wasn’t particularly wealthy, she always had everything she wanted. “I even remember my dad having a car phone when I was 10,” she says.
While Lisa Mukabire was enjoying early 90s technology, Geofrey Mukabire was growing up in Ivuukula, Uganda. Their house had no running water or electricity and they used an outhouse. When he went to school, he and his siblings walked 6 miles. As a teenager, her father died and her mother moved her children to the city where they first experienced modern luxuries like electricity and water. All schools, even government schools, in Uganda are expensive, and Geofrey Mukabire’s mother worked tirelessly to ensure that her three children graduated from high school.
Lisa Mukabire took advantage of a teaching opportunity in Abu Dhabi, where she met Geofrey Mukabire who had moved to the UAE for better work opportunities.
“During my very first meeting with Geofrey, I told him about my dream of building a school in Africa. Geofrey promised that night to build this school for me,” Lisa Mukabire recalls.
The couple, with their two children, then visited a property that Geofrey Mukabire inherited in the same village where he grew up and decided that fate had intervened. I just knew we could build an amazing school here, if only we could fundraise,” says Lisa Mukabire.
The Subi Foundation was created in January. “Subi” means hope – this is what the Mukabires hope to bring to the community. The school will have electricity, flush toilets, internet and a garden where the children can plant the food that will be served to them. Because they will receive free meals and animal protein with every lunch, many children who suffer from kwashiorkor will be able to regain their health.
The first step will be to drill a well, which will be the source of water for the school and the community. Many women in the village are beaten when they take too long to fetch water, and Makubire hopes this will alleviate the suffering.
The Subi market fair is designed to look like a Ugandan market. There will be a rummage sale, bake sale, Ugandan children’s games, raffle, silent auction, Ugandan story time, live music and dance performances.
“Going to the market is one of my favorite things to do in Uganda,” says Geofrey Makubire. “In Ugandan markets, vendors don’t just sell their wares, they actually visit customers, many of whom are their neighbours. There is always someone playing music and the children dancing to draw your attention to their parents’ shop. And above all, it’s the amazing smell of the food!”
“I can’t wait to see my husband teaching the kids at the fair to play Eshibobo,” says Lisa Makubire. “It’s probably the most popular game kids play in Uganda and even American kids love this game once they learn it!”
Lisa Makubire credits the Ogden community for bringing the fair together so brilliantly. The people of Ogden gave their all. “There is an African word ‘Ubuntu’ which means ‘I am because we are’. Seeing this Subi Market Fair come together has literally been Ubuntu in action!
The Subi Market Fair will be held at Lorin Farr Park on Saturday, May 28, from 9 a.m. to noon.
Learn more about the Subi Foundation and how to get involved: www.subiuganda.org.