Book Review: The Price of Stones

After a long hiatus from my blog, I have managed to squeeze in a precious few moments to write. My new job and family have kept me so busy that any “free” time I have is spent on “catching up”. But believe me, I am constantly getting ideas of topics to cover for the blog and only wish I had more time to write.

I’d like to share a book I discovered through Twitter! Part of my job involves monitoring our twitter feed and sometimes I come across interesting tidbits, including book mentions. This particular one is called “The Price of Stones” by Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, a Ugandan living in the U.S., who overcame poverty to get an education and become a human rights activist.  When Jackson and his wife, Beronda, traveled to his home village, Nyakayezi, they were overwhelmed by the sheer number of AIDS orphans there and decided to start the first tuition-free school in the district for these children.

While the book is a little too heavy on the religious side for me and the writing itself isn’t especially noteworthy, I still found the story inspiring and motivating, especially because it illustrated quite well how one person really can do so much good.

When Jackson’s brother, Frank, and later his sister, Mbabazi, died from AIDS, he realized there were so many families going through similar tragedies and not only that, millions of children in Uganda were being left orphaned. I knew the epidemic had hit Uganda quite hard, but the swath of death it has left is incomprehensible and yet it is real.

Jackson’s brother, Frank, was his role model, having become successful and wealthy, and year after year, whenever he visited Jackson’s village, a long line of people would form outside their parents’ home and Frank would give money or pledges of support to them. After Frank’s death, Jackson promised to financially support Frank’s children.

This book is the story of Jackson’s journey to build this school and his fundraising efforts, including some bits and pieces of his own life and the lessons he learned, which are sprinkled throughout. He himself had come close to death once (I won’t give it away!) and rather than let himself feel punished by this event, he saw it as a valuable lesson.

He spends some time talking about his relationship with his mother and father and how his own stubbornness turned out to be a good thing, thanks to the way he was raised.

He is one of the lucky ones: so many Ugandans can’t even afford an education and he was able to persevere and scrape together the funds needed.

This is a noble cause and I can certainly see how much work it was, just to find funders and trustworthy people in Uganda to complete the project.

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