Time and again, Meeting Point International (MPI) has been sought as an epitome of reality because of the diverse experiential education it has given thousands of people. In the bid to have a tangible experience, Emma (19) and Elena (16) from Italy decided to visit MPI between the 4th   of September 2023 and the 8th of September 2023.

Emma, who had heard about MPI during the meeting of Rimini in Italy two years ago could not resist her desire to visit Uganda. “What I heard about MPI sounded too good to be true,” said Emma while at the main offices of MPI in Kitintale. “The smiles I saw in the presentation at Rimini about Rose (the executive director of MPI) and the women were so real, “she proceeded.

Elena and Emma at the MPI main offices in Kitintale.

During the meeting of Rimini, Emma had an opportunity to hear the story of Ketty. Ketty is one of the women of MPI who are standing strong today despite their traumatizing past. Ketty was abducted at 14 by Kony rebels in Northern Uganda years ago. She was forced to kill and even eat human meat until she almost ran mad. Emma wanted to meet Ketty and establish the validity of this story and to her satisfaction, it was indeed true.

Elena on the other hand was advised by her parents to visit MPI after they, (Elena’s parents) had eavesdropped on Emma’s phone conversation with her friend about visiting MPI. “My parents deemed it important to visit MPI because I was going through a difficult time.” Said Elena, her eyes welling up with tears. “Out of the three children of my parents, I was chosen to come to Uganda instead of my two brothers. I did not know much about MPI so I decided to do some research. I hoped I would find hope again amidst my stormy life and indeed I found it. The women of MPI  welcomed me as though I was a very important person who had done a lot for them.” Elena proceeded.

“It was interesting talking to the women of MPI and being in their space,” said Emma as she made herself comfortable in the seat by crossing her legs. “The slogan of MPI, ‘One heart’ is true because I experienced it firsthand. I thought because I was an Italian, I had nothing in common with the women of MPI but I realized that our desires are all the same. We want to be happy,” Emma proceeded.

Posing for a second, Emma continued. “I have observed that life here is simple, not because it is perfect but because it is easy to love life here. I was provoked to believe we are the same and I want to love life like the women of MPI.

Elena and Emma with some of the employees of MPI.

Emma said that when she reverts to Italy, the first thing she will do is visit her friend who has battled depression for a while. “I will show her the beautiful pictures I have taken here and share hope with her,” said Emma. “I will tell her about the value she is because I have seen that there is a better way to love. In Italy, we cry about non-issues, and small fights make us enemies yet the women of MPI share Joy and they do not bother others with burdens. Today, I am done with self-judgment because now I know I am not defined by my past or what I have done” concluded Emma.

Written by Vancy Tomson.





My Internship journey with  MPI

When I prayed to God for an internship place, I did not imagine how kind he would be to me. I simply wanted a place where I would grow my journalistic and communication skills, and build lasting professional relationships that would make me a good fit for the corporate world after my graduation. It has been eight weeks down the road at Meeting Point International (MPI) as an Intern and I cannot ask for a better internship opportunity.

Before I started my internship, I was worried about what I would put on because everyone at the university was stressing about shopping for clothes. We were all trying to ensure we impressed people as much as we could. It was not that I was walking naked or my wardrobe was empty but the pressure from my peers could not let me rest. In my quest for a placement, I applied to different organizations but it was all in vain. To my dismay, my colleagues were even paying money in order to be able to practice their journalism and communication and it was frustrating.

When Alberto (the technical admin of MPI) interviewed me ahead of my placement, I was amazed by his interest. It was as though all I was trying to do was not helping much with the impression. He wanted to dig deep into my personality which I found uncomfortable at first. That day marked a new journey of self-discovery for me.

I answered all the questions to my satisfaction until I stumbled on a simple yet tough question, “What does it mean to you when they say you have ‘a value’?” asked Alberto. I started explaining my efforts in seeing to it that I have a meaningful life. I talked about how I have fought all my life to break the glass ceiling in my family by working hard in my studies and career. I can now imagine how pitiful I looked before Alberto that day as I explained the plight of a firstborn child who was trying to change his family’s story.

This is me at the MPI offices working.

Nothing I was doing was wrong in itself but I had reduced myself to how far I could go with my school and career. I had declared myself an unhappy young man because I later learned that none of these things would fulfill me.

Later when I met Auntie Rose (the executive director of MPI), I was even more enlightened, I realized that the education Auntie Rose was giving me was not because I had to fit into the norms of the organization but because these were things I would apply in my own life lest I cheat myself. She spoke to me like a mother who was offering their child an antidote to a slow-killing insidious poison. In my context, this insidious poison is the state of having our happiness hinged on what we possess. Auntie Rose said that the desires of man are infinite yet only God can satisfy them. We do a lot to feel fulfilled yet we never get there. I learned that happiness is free and you can choose to be happy every day.  I am content because where I am right now is somebody’s prayer request so I ought to be gratefully happy. Auntie Rose lives a life of gratitude where she does not grumble about what is going wrong. I have learned to not lose my peace amidst any storm because I know I am not alone, Christ is with me.

Thank God I did not get the money to do my shopping in time because it would have been useless. No one at MPI judges you because of how you dress, walk, or talk. Value is denoted from the standpoint of humanity. The simplicity that Auntie Rose and Alberto exhibit alone is awe-inspiring. It took me a while to accept that Auntie Rose was not faking her lifestyle but it was who she was from the time she also discovered her value.

A picture of myself with the Italian student visitors at the AVSI head quarters.

I wish I could explain my transformation in words. I feel new as though a burden was lifted off of my shoulders. I am free and happy because the happiness I encountered at MPI was in itself contagious. I was given an opportunity to learn things that my course mates are dreaming of doing in their final year. There is no doubt that I am going back to Makerere University as a transformed person. I have honestly learned more than I could imagine, above all, my heart has been educated on top of my skills being enhanced.

I am so grateful to MPI for contributing towards not only my career but also my personal life. I would be an ingrate if I complained about my experience.

Written by Vancy Tomson