It has been another whirlwind of a week in Kampala, Uganda. So, the best way I have found to make this next blog post as cohesive and understandable as possible, I am going to break it up according to the people I have met along the way. Think of it as a introduction to the people that have impacted my life positively since my move across the world.
From left to right we have Barbara, Sarah (me), Sandra, Claire, and Meg.
Barbara. This young lady has a dream to become a social worker. She starts vocational school again on August 11th and is one of our two beneficiaries for Acacia Avenue Designs. My first interaction with Barbara was a squeal, a hug, and a "You're welcome! I am so happy to finally meet you". Definitely a good start. Barbara loves people and is full of life. I am STOKED to watch her grow as an employee at Acacia Avenue Designs while she perfects her trade of helping families in her community and the greater communities in Uganda.
Skipping over me for now, let's move onto Sandra.
Sandra is our other beneficiary. Her goal is to become a fashion designer. Her vocational school begins again on August 11th. This quiet, firecracker of a women brings her skills learned from vocational school to work every day. Sandra not only learns quickly, but also has passion. Her passion and drive for fashion adds to the positive environment at Acacia Avenue Designs and I am so glad I get to be one of the people that watches her dream become a reality.
Claire. Claire is a stunning fashion designer from Kampala, Uganda. Her clothing is sold in Bold (a clothing store located in Kampala) She is truly amazing. Providing knowledge while our non-profit gets started. Providing friendship. Providing someone for Barbara and Sandra to look up to, due to her being a local Ugandan fashion designer that has made a great life for herself. Truly a positive influence for anyone that comes into contact with her.
Finally, we have Meg. Meg Nelson is the founder of Acacia Avenue Designs. My first memory of this company was sitting on a bus with Meg on our way to an excursion in Botswana (where we both studied abroad). Our conversation lead us down the path of Meg's dream. Meg began telling me of her idea that started once traveling to Uganda. Her idea revolved around empowering the women she had met.
3 years later here we are. Having started the company that was just an idea for Meg. A great idea with a ton of potential. I applied and got the position of Country Director.
3 years ago I was impacted by her drive and passion for creating a way to empower women. Now I'm here and continue to wake up excited and happy to be on this journey to building relationships, empowering women, and making Acacia Avenue Designs grow to its full potential.
I have also built relationships in the few weeks I have been here with other ex-pats that have drives and passions that have lead them to Uganda.
Above is one of my housemates on Makindye Hill. Milica and I bonded on our adventure to figure out how to get around Kampala (still learning that personally). Milica is in Uganda for a law internship. She graduated with a film degree and is now going into her 2nd year of Law School. Her passion is bringing to light social issues and is looking to use her degrees to accomplish it.
I am so thankful that we are living with each other for this short time. Having talks into the night about life while sipping African tea and basking in the quiet calm that envelops us on the porch has been one of the BEST ways to reflect on this new journey.
The picture above is also on my instagram page (Sarah_isms in case anyone wants to follow). This picture was taken on my start of the 100 Days of Happiness Challenge. Katherine (left), and Natalie (right) are two of my other housemates.
Katherine, is here for a summer internship with a law firm and will be returning to the states to continue her PHD program in Anthropology and her Law degree.
Natalie is knowledgable in life in Uganda. As she puts it, she went back to the U.S. after 6 months in Uganda, and was just scheming and planning for her return trip to permanently reside in this place she had come to love. Thankfully, after 10 months she is back and I got a chance to meet her! She is starting a non-profit working with expectant mothers to ensure that they and their babies are raised in a safe and stable environment.
Sorry for the long blog post! I just could NOT figure out a way to shorten it and still say what I want to say.
Tomorrow, I will be moving into a more permanent residence across town. I will also be continuing the fight to get bank accounts figured out, making our sewing machines do what we want them to do, and handling all the unforeseeable events.
Stay tuned for a more in depth account of day-to-day life in Uganda.
Thank YOU for being a positive influence, and reading about the journey.