In less than 24h, I will be on a plane over the African continent. And by midnight tomorrow, I will be in Kampala, Uganda!
We are 5 travelers: Me, my mom, a friend from Albania, and another friend with her 13-year-old son. We are traveling light with our personal belongings, only using carry-ons for that. But we still are bringing gifts, tools, and toys … 10 (!) bags of stuff! I’ve never been on a trip with so much luggage!
So why so many bags?!
We are visiting a local women’s ministry (founded by my mom and local leaders) in the slums of Kampala and will be helping out with projects, such as gardening or building pallet furniture. The ministry helps 20 young women get an education, so they can move from making $1/day to making $5-10/day. This might not seem like much, but it’s a hand out of poverty: enough to buy food and rent, and to get the kids through school. So far there is a soap workshop and a sewing workshop. When the funds are in, a hairdressing school will be there, as well.
We are going to help poor women. Part of the reason for their poverty is that the culture is very disrespectful towards women. We will need to be wise. No wandering around, no long time around crowds. And to further guard against harassment, my mom got me an “engagement ring” at the dollar store. I will wear it when we are in public. It feels weird on my finger and might not be necessary. But better safe than sorry.
In the 2 weeks that we are there, we will see some of the worst and some of the best sides of Uganda. It will be hard, but it will also be beautiful.
I’ve always wanted to go to Africa, now I get to be there for 2 weeks. I’ve always wanted to use “art” to help “the poor”, now I get to build pallet furniture with people in the slums. So despite the challenges, I am really looking forward to this trip!