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The Price of Stones: Building a School for My Village Hardcover – June 10, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

So many people die of AIDS in Uganda that at times bodies are stacked in city mortuaries like firewood. Moved by the plight of more than one million AIDS orphans in a nation with a population of 30 million, Kaguri, a human rights advocate returning home after studying at Columbia University, decided to build a school for children who had lost one or both parents to the syndrome. Kaguri and his American wife used their modest resources and contributions from friends and churches to open the two-classroom Nyaka AIDS Orphans School and initiate advocacy campaigns to counteract the superstitions that have stigmatized HIV/AIDS in Uganda. Anecdotes about the students, the author's family—his own brother and sister died from the disease—and his dealings with donors and corrupt officials, reveal Kaguri to be at once vulnerable and ferociously determined. Written in simple, straightforward style, the book is an affecting and accessible tribute to the difference one person can make in the world. (Jun.)
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From Booklist

Kaguri, born in Uganda in 1970, the year before Idi Amin’s ascendance to power, studied human rights at the national university, enrolled in the Human Rights Advocacy Program at Columbia, and married an American doctoral student in 1998. It is on a visit back to his native village in 2001 that Kaguri and his wife witness firsthand the devastation to families caused by the AIDS epidemic, and the huge number of orphans. They pledge to build those orphans a school, and upon their return to the U.S., they garner funds from churches, Rotary clubs, private businesses, and grants. Remarkably, they open their school with one class of 60 orphans in January, 2003. Mirroring the work of Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea, 2009), Kaguri gradually expands his goals, adding not only classrooms but also water and nutrition programs, community gardens, teachers’ workshops, and eventually a second school in a neighboring village. His story is an uplifting testament to the belief that one motivated individual can accomplish much, even when others have given up before even trying. --Deborah Donovan

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; 1st edition (June 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670021849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670021840
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,315,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By V. Baker on June 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first read about Jackson Kaguri and the Nyaka school for AIDS orphans in an article in Time Magazine. In a world of sad and depressing news, it was so inspiring to read that one person can make a difference and start a movement to help the often forgotten victims of the AIDS epidemic, the orphans left behind. Kaguri speaks from heart breaking experience, having lost both his brother and sister to the disease. He had achieved the "dream" through his love of education. He had gone to school in Africa and came to America to finish his college career. He met the love of his life, they were married and starting to save money for a down payment for their first home. He then became responsible for his nieces and nephews left behind after his siblings' deaths. He then began to think of all the other AIDS orphans left behind who were not always fortunate enough to have someone to care for them. A system of grandmothers who had raised their own children have now watched their grown children die and are raising their grandchildren. At first there were people who told Kaguri not to worry about it, that there was nothing he could do, but slowly there came together another group of people who joined his cause.

I read this book in two day's time and have gone on to loan it to a friend. This is the type of book that you will want to share with others.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is first time I have been moved to write a review. Twesigye Kaguri's book is an incredible story of how he came to build schools in his home country of Uganda for AIDS orphans. His journey has been difficult but what he has accomplished is truly amazing. His story will make you want to do everything you can to help.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is an inspiring tale of how a small group of people, against great odds, brought education and hope to the lives of AIDS orphans in rural Uganda. Intertwined with the story of the school is an account of the author's childhood in the small village of Nyakagyezi.

The book brings home the scale of the devastation wrought by the AIDS pandemic in Africa. It shows the challenges involved in obtaining basic necessities, such as pure water and medical care, in a remote third-world community. Larger social issues aside, the book paints a fascinating picture of life in Uganda and African-style family dynamics.

The Kaguris and their colleagues could see what needed to be done for the many AIDS orphans in their community. The remarkable thing is that they went ahead and did it, undeterred by the difficulty of building a school and sustaining it over the long term. The world would be a much better place if everyone showed this kind of commitment to larger social needs.

The founding of the Nyaka school was a magnificent achievement. I find the stories of the students to be very inspiring as well. With all they have had to endure, these children really seem to value their opportunity to learn. This book should be required reading for every U.S. student who takes his education for granted!
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Format: Hardcover
Uganda native Kaguri's drive and determination were front and center from an early age. His memoir of growing up the youngest of five in a rural village without electricity or a water system is driven from the start by his desire for education. As a child of five he followed his older sisters to school more than once, trying to get into the classroom, although he knew he would be in trouble later.

His father was a hard, but fairly prosperous man in their poor village and while he sent his children to school, his view of education was not nearly as all encompassing as his son's. From soccer games to a room of his own to leaving home for university, and then America, Kaguri used a mix of subterfuge, evasion and outright defiance to get around the obstacle of his father.

But it was AIDs and his older brother Frank who set him on the path that became his passion and life's work. Frank had gone to the city and came home every Christmas bearing gifts and largesse. "You do what you can, little brother," he told Kaguri, "God knows we can't provide for everyone."

Kaguri was aware of the disease called Slim that claimed so many in his country while he was growing up, but as he prepared to depart for America it had yet touched no one in his family. Frank was the first to die. Then his older sister. Then her baby.

When Kaguri brought his American wife to his home village, he felt a helpless despair at the impoverished orphans everywhere, most in the care of grandparents too old for the job, others homeless. He knew, as he had always known, that the only way out was education.

The idea of a free school passed through his mind, but it was his wife who helped him believe it was doable.
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Format: Hardcover
So much suffering goes on in our world and we are usually ignorant of most of it. Reading this remarkable story has encouraged me to make sure our children know they can make changes for good where others are suffering. Well written, Jackson's book includes stories of his childhood that illustrate how he became a man who would sacrifice so much for the sake of others in his village. While this book does paint a vivid picture of the plight of AIDS victims and orphans in Uganda, the author balances the suffering with stories of hope and achievement, emphasizing how drastically an education can change one's life. Highly, highly recommended.
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