A YEARNING for ‘me time’ has transported a WA woman from Hovea in the Perth Hills to some of the world’s worst suffering people in Africa.
In the process, Dee Potts has put more than 40 million Ugandan shillings – about $16,000 – into where her heart led her and she is working to do even more to ease some of the horror afflicting children in Uganda.
Ms Potts has embarked on a project whose origins lie partly in the Rwandan tribal genocide that claimed almost a million people and shocked the world in 1994.
Today, she is building a complex that will mean the difference between life and death for hundreds of children.
Ms Potts turned 40 three years ago and with her husband working overseas and her children grown up, she decided she wanted more than a lifetime of being a stay-at-home wife and mum.
She joined a New Zealand-based volunteer organisation and went to Africa.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the vibrancy, colours and animals of Africa,” she said. “And I wanted to see if I could somehow help the situation in Rwanda, but there was an enormously long waiting list for entry passes.
“So I thought ‘Uganda is next door. I’ll go there.’”
During her three-month placement in a remote village primary school, Ms Potts discovered disease and misery, a lack of education and lack of hope among so many orphaned children.
“Death comes in so many guises there – dysentery, typhoid, malaria and of course HIV are ravaging the community,” she said. “The biggest cures for these children are clean water and, most importantly, education.
“But despite all the troubles and hardships, they are the warmest, friendliest people.”
Now, after several more trips, she has formed a non-government organisation – Ugandan Pearls – with a young African man, Ndawula Moses.
A graduate of Makerere University in Uganda’s capital Kampala, Ndawula is qualified in accountancy and business studies.
With her own and donated funds, Ms Potts and Ndawula have bought three freehold acres in Nakiwate Village for 10 million Ugandan shillings and have started construction of a complex which will house 20 orphans.
Ms Potts will hold a fundraising morning tea at the Glen Forrest Sports Club, McGlew Road, Glen Forrest, on Thursday from 10.30am until 12.30pm.
The event will feature a slideshow and talk about her volunteering experiences in Africa. Tickets are $2.50, which includes tea and scones. Some African village craftwork will also be on sale.