On our recent trip to Uganda (the first half of December 2010), we were accompanied by A.J. Walker, who was seriously injured in the Trolley Square shootings (his father was killed). We were also accompanied by Jeremiah Stettler, a reporter for the SLTrib. The latter wrote the following in the Trib (19 Dec 2010):
The young man, who could hardly piece together sentences after being shoot in the head during 2007’s Trolley Square rampage, helped erect swings at Ugandan schools that had nothing more than bicycle-rim basketball hoops and dried-leaf soccer balls.
The young man, who had to relearn to read after the shooting spree that also killed his father, handed out storybooks at a remote school along the shores of Lake Victoria where children–many of whom lived in thatched-roof huts–perviously had only two English titles.
The young man, who lost some vision in his right eye, gave sight to Ugandan youngsters by installing solar panels that provided their school it first-ever light bulbs so they could study at night.
“This is the stuff I want to be doing,” said the 20-year-old A.J., pausing near the village of Namatu, where teachers offered Christian and Muslim prayers to thank G0d for the new swings. “After you help someone who really needs help, you feel lightened. You feel good knowing that it is going to benefit that person’s life.”
Within the thick forest of eastern Africa–where mud is mortar, ponds are drinking water and kerosene lamps are the only lights–A.J. fulfilled his dream: Leave the comfort of his east Salt Lake City home and perform humanitarian service in a Third World Country.