January 15, 2010

AGYA Welcomes Our First European Visitors From Sweden

To start the New Year, AGYA welcomed our first European visitors. 30-year old Goran Ericksson and 28-year Lisa Tagesson are a young, artistic couple from Sweden. Eriksson is a professional poker player and Tagesson, who just completed a Masters Degree in Visual Arts at Gothenburg University, recently spent 3 months in China and 1 year in Korea as an artist in residence. Within the last year, Eriksson and Tagesson have traveled to Malaysia, Laos, Korea, China, Thailand, Philippines, and India. A three-month tour of East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania) is just the latest stop on their journey of world travel.

Knowing they wanted to spend some time volunteering during their time in Africa, Eriksson and Tagesson searched on the internet for organizations that focused on art and creative expression. After searching for groups in Uganda, they stumbled upon AGYA’s blogspot. According to Eriksson and Tagesson, the Amagezi Gemaanyi Youth Association was one of the few organizations they found that was youth-centered and placed a priority on art and creativity programming. They were especially interested to learn that U.S.-based artist, Benjamin Rothschild, had recently spent 1 month in Uganda teaching art workshops. After arriving in Uganda in early January, Eriksson and Tagesson decided to spend 10 days living and volunteering at the AGYA Learning Center. “Staying at AGYA has been great because the atmosphere is so good, relaxed, and creative,” said Eriksson. Adds Tagesson, “Everything happening here is positive. It is very inspiring to constantly see creation with AGYA’s music, dance, and art programs.”

Above: Lisa shows AGYA Youth Member, Rodrigo, the proper way to start a crochet piece.

Below: Goran plays football with AGYA Youth Member, Henry, in the AGYA compound.

Eriksson and Tagesson have been facilitating textiles workshops with AGYA youth members and teaching some basic Swedish vocabulary. Goran even taught AGYA students some new card games and shared some Swedish rap music with AGYA’s Big Time Hustlers hip-hop crew. They also came bearing gifts. “Our kids were so grateful to receive the camera and the knitting materials that Lisa and Goran graciously donated. They have brought a new, positive energy to the AGYA house and we are happy that they are now friends of AGYA,” said AGYA Co-Founder Matovu Abraham.
See below for photos highlighting Lisa and Goran’s time with AGYA.

ABOVE: Using the crochet technique he learned from Lisa, Youth Leader Nelson Kazibwe, works on a hat.
BELOW: AGYA Executive Director, Divinity Barkley, models Nelson's beautiful hat!

BELOW: Lisa helps prepare porridge for the AGYA Free Lunch Program.

ABOVE: AGYA Co-Founders, Divinity and Abraham with our visitors from Sweden, Lisa and Goran!

BELOW: Lisa instructs Youth Member Sarah Mulekatete during a textiles workshop.
ABOVE: Divinity and Lisa smile for the camera!
BELOW: Goran shares some crochet skills with AGYA Youth Member Brian Sseguya!