The ambassadors are traditional Ugandan, hand-sewn dolls who were created with love by a widows’ group in Rakai and given to the children of Bethlehem Parent’s School and orphanage. The children were told to care for them like real people – caring for every need. They quickly turned from dolls to kids! The children diligently read to them, took them to class, studied with them, fed them, and snuggled them. At the end of each day, children wrote a journal from the ambassadors’ perspective about what life was like that day. The ambassadors became popular among the children, so it was clear that they would be popular elsewhere too. Some ambassadors stay at BPS every year while others travel back to America to live. Several ambassadors live at schools where students take care of them. Children read to them, teach them about life in America, and even take photographs of their adventures. Sometimes, ambassadors even travel back to Uganda to share photographs and journals of life and experiences in America. They’ve even been celebrated with dances and songs of thanks for the joy and learning the ambassadors bring.
Many ambassadors are literally played with by the children of BPS. Ambassadors that come to America are in hope of adoption to learn about and share life in America in exchange for teaching and sharing about life in Uganda. To tell their story, they come with a full-color book with actual photographs of BPS and the children with the ambassadors, virtue cards to teach and share the universal language of love and goodness, a carrying bag, and informational pamphlets about the program. The ambassadors share the connection all people have – love. Their story is genuine and from the heart.
Watch a video of their adventures told through the original ambassador, Namayanja:
UGANDAN AMBASSADOR – Journey of Love
Literacy of Love aims to provide engaging, meaningful, authentic play and learning experiences. Families don’t adopt a doll, they adopt a new member of the family – an ambassador of Uganda. They come with an adoption certificate with a promissory contract. Children are encouraged to take their oath to heart – making sure to read and write with their new friends daily. In turn, their ambassador will share a unique culture through an actual story, photographs and videos. As a matter of fact, each ambassador has been to BPS, played with by the children there, and has come to share genuine stories.
- Always treat your ambassador as a special guest (Not a doll! They’re so much more).
- Name your ambassador.
- Introduce him/her as a Ugandan Ambassador.
- Learn about your ambassador’s culture so you can teach others.
- Read to your ambassador every night! Read The Story of Namayanja and other books.
- Make sure you teach your ambassador how to write and keep a journal about life in America.
- Take lots of photos, draw pictures and post them on Facebook and Instagram #literacyoflove.
- Example Journal Written by Child in Africa
- Example Story Written by Child in America
- Example Journal Written by Child in America
Your ambassador also loves to share virtues as a fun and authentic family engagement experience. There is a special twist to this activity. Your ambassador loves to share and teach virtues and encourages acts of kindness. Families can bond over reading, learning and understanding virtues with their virtue cards and booklet. Then, they can enjoy the pleasure of carrying out these virtues with simple acts of
kindness with their ambassador. Families can even share photographs and experiences on Facebook or Instagram # literacyoflove.
- Read the Virtue Cards with your family and ambassador. Ex: Excellence is doing your very best. I could use this by taking my time to do chores instead of hurrying through them to get them done. I could also take time to think and put quality and creativity into my work so it’s my best, and so I will proud to have my work represent me.
- Pick a virtue. Think about it all day and notice people using it. You can write it down, or compliment that person for the virtue they used and how they used it. Ex: I noticed Dad using accountability. Accountability means taking ownership of your actions, admit to mistakes instead of blaming others, and try to make amends. Dad apologized for leaving his dirty clothes on the floor. He picked them up and did the rest of the laundry to show he cared.
- Pick a virtue. Think about it all day, and be extra mindful to use it. You can write a journal about how you used it, or you can share it with your family. Ex: I used thoughtfulness. That means to think and care about the feelings of others. Today, I saw a girl from my class sitting by herself at lunch. I didn’t want her to feel lonely, so I invited her to sit at my table.
- With your ambassador, use one of your virtues to perform a simple (maybe even secret) act of kindness representing that virtue. Leave your ambassador with a thoughtful note about what you did for the other person to find. Ex: Today, I used the service. Service is being helpful to someone else without being asked. I washed the dishes for you while you were at work because I know you feel relaxed when the dishes are clean when you come home from a long day of work.