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Winter 2006 | Volume 29, Number 1 | Online Exclusive

Response Photography Competition 2005

Photo Contest Theme: “Engaging the Culture, Changing the World”

First Place: Maama Paula
Hillary Prag, SPU Senior, Sociology Major

WHEN HILLARY PRAG TRAVELED to Uganda last summer, she brought along her knitting needles and yarn. “I learned to knit from a friend during my freshman year at SPU,” she says. “It was a therapeutic remedy for homesickness.”

For part of her seven-week stay in Uganda, Prag volunteered in the capital city of Kampala at Dwelling Places, a Christian-run orphanage where single mothers who run out of options bring their children. While the orphanage staff cares for the children, the mothers’ needs are addressed too. “Through Dwelling Places’ Family Empowerment Program, mothers learn how to support themselves by making and selling handcrafts,” says Prag. “Once the women can establish a sustainable income from these crafts, their children are re-established in their homes."

While visiting a handcraft class, Prag met a Ugandan volunteer who introduced herself simply as “Maama Paula.” Not a teacher or a social worker, Maama Paula, says Prag, “was a mentor for mothers who were struggling to find their feet.”

Prag, who had her knitting needles and yarn in hand, suddenly got an idea. “Would you like me to teach you how to knit?” she asked Maama Paula, who agreed and caught on quickly. “She then turned around and taught the other women,” says Prag, who photographed her Ugandan friend.

Where knitting needles were scarce, the women created their own — out of wire coat hangers. “This new craft has caught on, and they are well on their way to establishing a new market for scarves in Uganda,” says Prag, who has since mailed boxes of knitting needles and yarn to Dwelling Places. This program is really a beautiful picture of the kind of ‘empowerment’ we at SPU so eagerly salute.”


Runner-Up: Francisco’s Bell.
“I met Francisco Hermoso on a service trip to Guatemala,” says Jonathan Bergstrom ’01. “Francisco discovered this unexploded bomb in a river near his home. He dug it up, took it apart, cleaned it off, and hung it from a tree. It is now the most beautiful sounding bell I have ever heard. Thank you, Francisco, for turning a bomb into an instrument of peace.”

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