I’ve been trying to write this blog post for a month. Every time i’ve opened up the document, i’ve deleted stuff, changed sentences and even changed the topic. Today, before my flight back to Europe, i’ve decided enough is enough, and whatever I come up with in the next 45 minutes will have to suffice. So here goes.
My fourth trip to Uganda is the one that will stick with me for the longest. It’s been a roller coaster ride. I have no idea how to succinctly summarise what has been the most challenging, enjoyable, infuriating, exciting, tiring and at times baffling three months of my life. I’m not about to ramble on about how life changing it might have been, but I want to focus on a specific aspect of the trip: The people.
At The Zuri Project Uganda, we are blessed to have people in different parts of the world who are willing to give up their time, and substantial amounts of their own money, to support our work in Uganda. Firstly, my girlfriend Danielle, who quit her job as a recruitment consultant to spend the past 4 months with me in Africa, deserves a special mention. Not only has she been incredibly important in planning new projects and co-ordinating and planning volunteer activities, she has dealt with my impatience and anxieties. She deserves a medal.
As I’ve mentioned before, The Zuri Project would be nothing without our Ugandan staff and volunteers. I couldn’t possibly name them all, but the continuous hard work and dedication of Herbert, Job, Elly, Eras, Agrey, Nathan, Moses, Johnson, Yonah, Mercy and Precious, make all of our projects possible. They are the driving force behind of all of our work; their ideas and creativity provide us with project ideas, and their passion and hard work make the projects happen. It has been wonderful to see our team in Uganda grow. It has been a pleasure to plan together, learn together, celebrate together and even to fail together. It has by no means been easy, but we’re getting there and to have such a dynamic and dedicated team to depend on, we couldn’t ask for much more.
That brings me onto our UK based ambassadors and volunteers. Whilst Danielle and I were in Uganda, we were joined for some of our trip by Jenna, Joe and Tomo. Having three of my closest friends in Uganda with me made the trip even more special, and the fact that they flew half way across the world, at their own personal expense, to volunteer their time to support the projects is something I’m incredibly grateful for. Being good friends, they offered critical feedback about what we were doing well, and what we weren’t doing so well. They attended meetings, got involved with the school projects and even got us a mention in The Birmingham Mail! Sometimes it can be difficult to see where you’re going wrong or where you could improve, so having your friends there to support and guide you is invaluable.
It goes without saying, that thanks must also be extended to our supporters and donors, without whom we couldn’t deliver any of our projects. We’re delighted that, apart from the odd marketing expense in the UK, all of our money that is raised goes directly to support our projects in Uganda. Being just over a year old, we can’t believe how much financial support we have received from so many different people. So thanks very much for your support.
Just to finish up, as i’m heading to the airport shortly, I wanted to leave you with an African Proverb I heard whilst I was in Uganda. Typically Ugandan, it’s a little eccentric, but there’s a decent message in there somewhere:
When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.
We’re a very small charity, hoping to achieve big things in Uganda. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re thrilled with the start we’ve made and can’t wait to see what the future has to hold. Thanks to everyone who has supported us so far and here’s to the future…