We've welcomed former US Presidents, famous actors and now the youngest king in the world! King Oyo of the Toro Kingdom of Uganda is visiting Midland with the Queen Mother. At age 3, King Oyo was given the throne after the sudden death of his father. In April or this year, King Oyo turned 18 and officially was crowed king and allowed to rule.
A lot of people might be wondering ‘why Midland’…’what's the connection to Uganda’? Turns out a Midland couple has been traveling to Uganda for years doing mission work and basically the wife, Gloria Youngblood, called the tourism department in Uganda... said she wanted to meet King Oyo and give him some Texas gifts. Sounds like a long shot, but it worked out and instantly a Midland family befriended a royal family all the way from East Africa.
"Not only do I love them, but I love all of Uganda," says Youngblood.
"She loves our kingdom so much and she wants to build it with us. So, we decided to come here and plan for the future of Toro because there are so many people that need help there," explains King Oyo.
Especially the women in Toro, who are faced with many hardships: low income, poor health and minimal education.
"Even our poorest poor here are rich compared to their impoverished women," explains Youngblood.
"There is need for help and we need to intervene and make sure we increase their incomes through their own resources," explains Grace Manja, Project Manager for the Toro Kingdom Women’s Association.
The Queen Mother made it her goal to turn things around for women in Uganda and started an organization that gives women a better standard of living in Toro. With the help of Youngblood, the Queen Mother hopes to get some West Texan Support. And so far, our arms have been wide open. Today was officially declared King Oyo Day!
Although, he is the King of Toro, King Oyo is still a teenager at heart.
"In my free time, I'm just like anyone else. I go out watch movies with my friends, play sports, basketball, soccer," says King Oyo.
The King and Queen Mother are here for another week. King Oyo told Big 2 he can't wait to go to a Rockhounds game; he's never been to a baseball game before.
To learn more about helping the Queen Mother's organization, The Toro Kingdom Women's Association log on to womenoftooro.com