To Africa, With Love
Dana Wronski travels to Uganda to work with Destiny Africa, the children’s chorus that sang here last year.
When Destiny Africa, a children’s choral group from Uganda, came to East Greenwich for a series of performances, the Wronski family was happy to host some of the children.
But when hearts get involved, watch out.
By the time the three girls were leaving, Dana Wronski (who owns Tio Mateo’s/Greenwich Bay Gourmet with her husband Matt) had fallen for them – and for the whole group.
“On the last day, saying goodbye – I took my three girls aside and said, ‘I’m coming to see you in Uganda.’”
Wronski, who sings as well as cooks, was so inspired by the singing and dancing of Destiny Africa, she wrote a song for them. She’s written a lot of music in earlier years, but life intervened – “I stopped.”
Destiny Africa rekindled that passion. The Destiny Africa choir director told her she should come to Africa to teach it to the kids. So she did.
She traveled to Uganda in January, for 10 amazing days.
"I never would have imagined that I would have taken this trip," Wronski recalled recently. "It was literally my love for these kids that drove me. That and what they’re doing at the center."
The children of Destiny Africa live at Kampala Children's Center, a place for most of orphans or children whose parents cannot afford to care for them. But it is not a sad place, Wronski said. In fact, the children are joyful, especially when they are performing.
"These people are so joyful, they are so faithful and they love God so much," she said. And in a country where AIDS is still a terrible problem, "these kids are the lucky ones."
The Destiny Africa choir was started after one of the house mothers began singing with the children and they turned it into a choir. Now, the group tours in the U.S. and other countries, raising money and awareness for the center.
Teaching them her song was a joy, Wronski said. "O my God were they easy to teach! Their harmony is just so … it’s just in them. It’s so easy!"
When they performed it, something special happened. In a land where rain is precious, it began to rain just as the children started singing –
“The spirit fills me up so I am overflowing you pour your blessing down like a rain upon the land. “
- then stopped when the song came to an end.
It was, according to the Ugandans, "“the ultimate blessing.”
Destiny Africa is returning to Rhode Island in September. And there's going to be a fundraiser in Providence for a new building at the Kampala Children's Center in May.
"Once you hear them and know them and love them you want to be part of it," said Wronski. The East Greenwich United Methodist Church helped support Wronski's trip and was the location for one of the Destiny Africa. "It’s one of our missions now."
EG Patch will post information about the fundraiser and future Destiny Africa performances in coming months.