Vail Valley’s Anne Prinzhorn refurbishes laptops, lives in her Uganda school
EAGLE COUNTY — Anne Prinzhorn collects both computers and stars in her crown.
Prinzhorn launched her own nonprofit, Grannies in the Bush, and collects new and used computers to take with her to the schools she helped start in Uganda.
“God has guided my every step,” Prinzhorn said.
After Prinzhorn survived cancer three times, she and Carola Tengler co-founded and help run a vocational school in Uganda. When someone has nothing, a little help means everything, Prinzhorn said.
Along with sewing machines and brick making equipment, Prinzhorn collects new and used computers, scrapes all the information from them, and loads them with children’s educational e-books. She carries them with her when she travels to Uganda two or three times a year.
They’ll take electronic tablets — Kindles, iPads, smartphones, laptops — just about anything.
Students in her schools are eager to learn.
“They are born poor, not stupid,” she said.
Servants of Christ International
“Last I heard she had 200 devices. We’d love to have more,” said Jim Walter, 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.
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.
“She’s kind of a low profile Christian who wants to do the kinds of things she thinks Christians should do,” Walters said.
“I believe God is honored by even the smallest gestures that we can make. As Mother Teresa once said, ‘There are no great deeds for God. Only small deeds for a great God,’” Prinzhorn said.
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.
Inside the fence at her school, students are learning. Outside the school, she recently counted 275 youngsters who cannot go to school.
“They are undernourished, sure to be pregnant much too early, and a tug on my heart,” Prinzhorn said.
Blossoming where it’s planted
Prinzhorn is scheduled to be back in the Vail Valley in a week or two. She will tell you about both her triumphs and tragedies.
A year ago some of their students could not do math. They’re now programming a robot.
“Robotics in Africa. Who would have ever thought of such 10 years ago? I feel so grateful to be American, to have such generous friends. Thank you. Bless your caring hearts,” Prinzhorn said.
A year ago she planted a couple of gardenias at the school, something to provide some contrast to the squalor outside her window.
“One is totally infested with bugs and the other has one flower on it and the leaves are healthy,” Prinzhorn said in her latest Grannies In The Bush newsletter.
It’s a metaphor.
“Blossoming one person at a time is what is happening with the children here. More and more children are showing potential,” she said. “My long term goal is to see increased knowledge of history, geography, art, music, math, religious studies. Computer skills are essential and progress measurable.”
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.