Vail Valley resident is back in Uganda, working in the school she helped found
EAGLE COUNTY — Anne Prinzhorn has survived cancer three times and wants her life to count for something.
A few years ago, Prinzhorn launched her own nonprofit, Grannies in the Bush. She collects new and used computers and other electronics and uses them in schools she and others are helping develop, so Ugandan kids can get an education.
When someone has nothing, a little help means everything, Prinzhorn said.
“God has guided my every step,” Prinzhorn said.
Rain and rewards
Those steps have led her back to Uganda, where it’s the rainy season, her favorite time of year.
“Instead of horrific heat every day, thunderstorms build. Cooling rain saves my sanity and restores my good disposition,” Prinzhorn wrote.
The rain helps food grow, a dramatic reversal from last year when it was so dry that food prices soared and people starved. They couldn’t afford to buy it.
This year brings a different set of problems.
“Roofs leak, huts are flooded and everyone but me is cold. They don’t have the clothes for this,” Prinzhorn said.
Prinzhorn is not rich. She raises money to buy her own plane tickets and some money to help. Among other things, she spends most of her winters in Uganda and raises money by renting her condo during the ski season.
One problem at a time
Africa is huge and so are its problems. To help, Prinzhorn suggests beginning at the beginning, with education, which she calls the cornerstone of all successful societies.
Last year, teachers learned to use educational videos instead of blackboards and constantly copying information. Prinzhorn brought 1,258 educational videos. A couple of high school students helped load the videos into the electronics. The kids watch them, do the lessons and see their math and English scores improve.
The thing is, they have only four projectors for 1,200 children. Both the projectors and the teachers are burning the midnight oil. Teachers often learn as much as the children, Prinzhorn said.
So far, the biggest hits are “Kindness and Character Building,” “Math for All Ages,” “Photosynthesis,” “Prejudice and Preconceived Ideas” and the classic “The Caterpillar and the Butterfly.”
Two years ago, Prinzhorn brought the first load of used iPads to Uganda. A few went to the school for the blind with a hope and prayer that someone there would learn to use Voice Over — the audible instructions on how to use an iPad without help.
Mama Edith is the mother of two and founded a school for the blind. She’s blind. She listened to books about Nelson Mandela and is working her way through C.S. Lewis.
Servants of Christ International
Jim Walter is CEO of Servants of Christ International, an umbrella organization that provides administrative support for Prinzhorn and more than 50 others like her.
“They have one thing in common: No mission agency could see their vision. They’re too far outside the box, and these people are often considered too old,” Walter said.
“She’s kind of a low-profile Christian who wants to do the kinds of things she thinks Christians should do,” Walters said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.