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Thursday, 27 September 2012

Taranaki Charity Worker visits Uganda

Charity work: Dympna Hart recently returned from a trip to Uganda where she delivered aid and saw  poverty first hand. 
By Jimmy Hick
New Plymouth woman Dympna Hart has seen poverty before but her recent trip to Africa revealed a new level of human hardship to her.

Mrs Hart spent June in Uganda working with local Christian ministries to deliver food, clothes and money to poverty stricken children outside the capital Kampala.

The part-time worker at the Good News Centre Christian bookshop on Devon St has previously spent a month working with charities in India, but the destitution she saw in East Africa was different.

“I thought I’d seen that in India, but this was poverty they were living in thatched huts and cooking with charcoal embers,” said Mrs Hart who worships at the C3 church in the city and New Zeal at Okato.

While in Africa Mrs Hart also linked up with children’s charity Imani and took part in three "crusades", delivering food, clothing and money to poor people in rural areas.

“We did a clothing drive to the east from Kampala, almost to the Kenyan border. Two people carriers absolutely loaded with clothing,” she said.
Mrs Hart said she felt privileged to be able to connect with the two charitable groups.

“They’re both totally dedicated. They live in their own country amongst their own people. They’re changing lives daily, offering people hope, let alone clothes and food.”
As well as experiencing how the Ugandan people live, Mrs Hart also squeezed in some sightseeing, travelling to the source of the Nile to fulfil a childhood dream, and while in Kampala she also visited the Presidential Palace, home of former dictator Idi Amin.

Now that she’s back in New Zealand, Mrs Hart hopes to set up permanent links between the groups she worked with in Uganda and the churches she is involved with here.

“I wanted to see their ministry working, and connect what I’ve got here with what they’ve got on the ground over there,” she said.
Mrs Hart said her Ugandan experience left her feeling like a local, and she hopes to return and see how the ministries work is going.

“It’s a given I’ll go again one day.”

Jimmy Hick is a Witt journalism student


Austin Martin Win Gold in Los Angeles


Solid gold: Musicians Lee Martin (left) and Karl Austin had their instruments stolen in Los Angeles - but still managed to bring back the gold from the World Championship of performing Arts. 
By Jimmy Hick
Taranaki musicians Lee Martin and Karl Austin played up a storm at the World Championship of Performing Arts in Los Angeles – despite having their instruments stolen just before the show.

Austin said the pair were enjoying a few drinks at a Los Angeles bar before the contest when their guitars were swiped from right in front of them.

“We were having a bit of a good night, hanging out with some local kids,” he said.  “We played them a mini concert, then they did the old smoke and mirrors and took off with our gear. I chased them and fell down some stairs.”

The World Championship of PerformingArts is a global talent quest, where singers, dancers, musicians and actors compete for medals and exposure.

Luckily the New Plymouth duo who use the stage name Austin Martin managed to get new instruments before the competition.

The effort was worth it as the duo snared 14 medals, 12 of which were gold.

Austin Martin, were selected to perform in Los Angeles as part of 14-strong New Zealand contingent of competitors.
Now they're back home, they want to keep up the momentum.
“The plan is to write an album and get back over to the States,” Austin said, “although there’s definitely some Taranaki gigs in the pipeline.”

Jimmy Hick is a Witt journalism student