Young Alaskans and young Ugandans share COVID stories over Zoom and letters

Josephine in Chefornak, Alaska and Recho in Arua, Uganda became friends through an internship called “International Understanding in a time of COVID.” Both work in early childhood education, but their work and training has been put on hold by COVID. They shared how they are surviving during COVID. Recho began tailoring clothes; Josephine shared the abundance of subsistence practices. (Photo courtesy of SEE STORIES, a 501c3 nonprofit in Alaska that fosters an inclusive community.

A non profit program in Alaska that fosters inclusive community set out to link Alaska youth with Uganda youth via Zoom and letter-writing as part of an international internship.

And then COVID happened, and the experience morphed into “International Understanding in a Time of COVID-19.”

The dozen students met through a facilitated Zoom meeting. They became pen pals and began writing about life during the pandemic. From that experience, one set of pen pals collaborated on a song they wrote together; another young Alaskan was amazed at how her Ugandan counterpart was using the extra time during COVID to teach herself to tailor her own clothes. The Alaskan shared the abundance of a subsistence lifestyle.

The story of a young Ugandan boy beaten in a market place as he went to buy food for his family during the allowed curfew hours prompted discussion about the protest movement in the United States over excess police force, and the lack of protest in Uganda.

In today’s program, we’ll hear from some of the young Alaskans who participated in the program, what they created from the experience, and the status of their connection to their Ugandan counterpart.The non profit is called See Stories, and its director, Marie Acemah, will be on the program as well.

Emma Tomeo’s rendering of the connections between the Uganda and Alaska students, with phrases from their letters.

Join us for a story of understanding, connection and light in an unsettled time.


Kathleen McCoy


  • Marie Acemah, director, See Stories
  • Emma Tomeo, Miska Alexia, Josephine Lewis and Denise Bamurange, all students in Alaska who participated in the cultural exchange.



  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752 (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
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  • LIVE: Monday, July 13, 2020 at 2:00 p.m
  • RE-AIR: Monday, July 13, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

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