Our Founding Story

Written By KidsUganda Founder Thomas Dickelman

To be honest, you never know what you'll experience when you go to a Rotary Club meeting. Oh, there will be friends new and old, bland eggs, cold toast and a few other options which are usually pretty good - like bacon. I am convinced that about 25% of the Rotarians are in the club because it given them the chance to each a lot of bacon once a week without getting yelled at by their spouse. 

Now, the big question at the meeting each Wednesday morning is: "how will the speaker be?" Will they engage and entertain and inspire and motive - or will they cause us to snooze? (you know, kind of like on Sunday mornings...)

Well, I went to a meeting one Wednesday morning in September 2005 at the old Harrison House in Lake Bluff, and the Rev. Patrick Walusimibi was the speaker. He was the guest of Ruth Shoemaker, a therapist / counselor and member of the club. Patrick had met Ruth's husband Larry when Larry was part of a medical mission team that visited the Maranatha School and Orphanage, and Larry encouraged Patrick to come to the United States to seek support. 

Patrick, whom Darrell Bloom in our church had me perviously, did not have a great command of the english language. The images that were shown were neither unique or exceptional. What Patrick had was passion, and the integrity to tell the story without pleading and begging for money. He told the story - and left it at that. 

All I can say is that I was m o v e d - big time. I recall saying to Fred Jackson, former head oc the Lake Forest Recreation Department, "We've got to do something." Following the meeting, I introduced myself to Patrick and asked if he had ny time during the next few days he was in town. Patrick and I ended up sending significant time together until he returned home, and I found myself dreaming of ways we could support his work. As we said goodbye, I looked Patrick in the wow and made a bold statement "Patrick, I think I need to come see you in Africa." 

"Ahh, Tom, my friend," he replied with a smile "people always say that they are coming to see me...but no one ever comes."