Happy New Year everybody! We’ve had a great Christmas break and I can’t believe we’re through January. Time has flown since our last update but I’m happy to report 2016 is off to a great start.

Handicrafts in Uganda

Phi getting crafty with the kids

We had 1 volunteer this month. Phi came from California and spent 2 weeks with us. He was placed with a new partner in Lugazi Town. Phi worked with women and youth, sharing ideas about small business development and hygiene. He also spent lots of time playing football with local kids, as this is school holiday time. Since The Real Uganda is all about showcasing Uganda, we helped Phi to organize some great side trips as well. He went to Jinja to raft the River Nile, and to Murchison Falls National Park for wildlife safari. I’m super happy he experienced so much of Uganda. Here’s hoping he’s out spreading the word about what’s happening over here!

We’ve got a number of volunteers scheduled for February, working with 4 of our partners in Buikwe District. Can’t wait to be a part of their lives as their Uganda stories unfold! Follow us on Instagram to be a part of them as well.

The summer months are starting to look busy. There are 10 volunteers committed to join us in May, June and July. We still have some placements available, and August is indeed wide open, but Esther and I are looking forward to being busy again.

We’re hosting 2 groups this summer as well. Both events are unique and new for us.

The first group, arriving in June, is aimed at the world’s runners. We’re currently recruiting people interested in (a) doing a bit of fundraising, (b) traveling to Uganda to run a marathon, (c) spending a couple days with us visiting our programs, and (d) closing with a little tourism in Uganda. It’ll be fast, but fun. I know there are many people out there who travel the world running marathons in exotic places – including our very first volunteer, way back in January 2005 – we just have to find them and put this information in front of them. Who knows? Maybe they’ll love the idea of running for our cause! If anyone here is interested in either participating or helping us to get the word out about this event, please email me at [email protected]

The second group, arriving in July, is made up of youth from the GVN Youth Ambassador Program. Basically, these kids have attended leadership trainings designed to unlock their potential as empowered global citizens, in hopes of addressing some of the greatest challenges facing the world today. That may be a mouthful, but it’s totally a step further than other programs have taken. I love getting young people engaged and connected, especially when it’s not online, and encouraging them to listen, ask questions, brain storm, and then get out into the world! Super stoked to host some of the first young leaders graduating the program.

student at Grace

Of course, we’re accepting new volunteer applications all year and our partner programs are working away. Why not check out our Volunteer Page for details about joining us?

Personally, I have a few new projects brewing. Since my 3 year old is starting school (how did that happen?!) and our volunteer numbers are still rather low, I’ll have some time on my hands. To make good use of it, I’ve decided to begin an MBA program. It’s time for me to modernize and upgrade! I’ve got plans for another program by The Real Uganda. We’d like to begin offering business etiquette, management training, and leadership development to employees and owners of small and medium sized enterprises in Uganda. This is something that is needed in our rapidly developing economy. Also something I’m very passionate about. It’s a LONG term goal, but one I hope to start putting in place sometime this year and developing over the next 5. Advice is welcome and appreciated! Comment below or email me at the above address.

Onwards and upwards! 2016 is here – let’s make it a good one.

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