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A is for Avocado

May 26, 2011

Jjumba Cyprian is a soft-spoken man. Three years ago as construction began at the Building Tomorrow Academy of Gita, Jjumba took interest in the work Building Tomorrow was doing and joined our country director as a part time community mobilizer. First to arrive and seemingly never willing to leave, Jjumba’s determination is still a topic of conversation amongst school management committee members in Gita.

Today I had the chance to see Jjumba in action. Since work was stalled due to paper work at the district office, Jjumba has rallied the community of Gayaza to turn out in droves to make a push in finishing what will be Building Tomorrow’s 8th Academy. More than 30,000 bricks have been produced on-site and this week work will begin on a new demonstration garden and teacher’s quarters.

While the tangible results are impressive, Jjumba’s real achievements and the key to Building Tomorrow’s successes are the relationships he’s fostered among families, local leaders and even district officials. Living in the community during the week, Jjumba (along with our two Henrys on staff) can rattle off the names of the over 100 community members who work on-site throughout the week, and of course, their kids, too.

As we made our way to leave the site today, two future Building Tomorrow Academy students, Benedict and Sudayisi, flagged Jjumba and told him to wait. Moments later they handed over a basket full of ripe avocados–a gift from their family–to Jjumba. They quickly darted away and yelled out they’d be back first thing tomorrow. Jjumba smiled as he looked at his new stock and waved.

“Me too, me too.”

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