A tree grows at Ave Maria

I have been on this journey with the 2012 Backpack Journalism team, I feel the presence of many — last year’s wonderful group and our first team that went on this experiment to the Dominican Republic. But none so strongly as Ruth and Tim Leacock. Their 10 years of work in Africa with Computers for Africa still spreads as the leaves of the tree that Ruth planted about five years ago at the Ave Maria Vocational School in Lira.

Mr. Otim, the founder and director of the school, wanted me to take a picture of the tree that Ruth had planted. She planted more than a seedling. I can see the work of Tim and Ruth flowering at Ave Maria and know the same in true in many schools throughout Uganda and Kenya. We wouldn’t be here without that work and without the incomparable Herbert Buisku, who has been the Computers for Africa director here in Uganda and our guide. That word doesn’t seem quite enough as he guides, solves problems, always listens attentively and laughs at our often bad jokes. (Wellll, as we like to say, maybe my bad jokes.)

Ruth and Tim are such an example of the power of people to do something good in the world. It’s not easy and I don’t mean to imply that. Their tireless joy and enthusiasm and taking care of things big and small while making all around them feel the happiness and possibilities were the elements that made Computers for Africa the incredible organization it is.

I can never thank them enough for all they have done for me and the inspiration they are.

Now, I’ve planted a tree at Ave Maria. I hope and pray that I grow in hope and peace as the tree grows.


Carol and tree she planted
Carol and the tree she planted at Ave Maria Vocational School in Lira.


Carol Zuegner

About Carol Zuegner

I am a journalism professor at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. I teach writing, social media, media entrepreneurship, international mass communication and I am lucky enough to be a part of Backpack Journalism. I focus on interviewing, writing and being Mama Zoogs.

1 thought on “A tree grows at Ave Maria

  1. Hi Carol,

    I was delighted to meet you at Luke O’Keefe’s graduation party.

    You are all in my thoughts. Hope is beautiful and essential…keep planting trees.

    Be blessed
    JoAnna O”Keefe

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