Having never blogged before, I think this will be an interesting experience for me. I'm looking forward to seeing how it will turn out.
There's not too much to say about the trip right now. Even though I've worked on Educate! since the fall of '04, this will be my first trip to Uganda, and that in itself makes things a little more difficult and stressful. But I am extremely excited to go.
As for the actual trip, here's a general plan:
July 1st - I arrive in Kampala from London. The headmaster of Springs of Hope, the school I will be volunteering at for the first month, will pick me up.
July 1st to Aug 1st - I will be volunteering at Springs of Hope (www.cetu.org.uk) with one of my best friends from home Carlito, who arrives a few days before me. In addition to helping out at the school, I hope to continue working on Educate! and reaching out to Ugandans who may be able to help us in some way, potentially even meeting a few in Kampala before Eric and Stacey arrive. I also would like to take at least one trip to Hoima (a medium sized town northwest of Kampala where many Educate! students are based) to meet at least some Educate! students and take a couple weekend trips to Jinja at the base of the Nile and somewhere else exciting.
Aug 1st - I will meet up with Eric (who started Educate! and is Co-Executive Director with me - http://www.educateafrica.org/AboutUs/startofeducate.htm) and Stacey Frumm, a rising junior at Amherst College who has been a very dedicated Educate! volunteer and handles our clubs among other things. I am unsure of where Carlito will go from here, as I don't think he knows himself, but right now he is looking into some travel packages that will cover him until he leaves at the beginning of September.
Aug 2nd to Aug 6th -The three of us meet with various education and school officials through meetings setup by an organization called AfroEducare. The head of it, a man named Collins, runs the site www.studyinuganda.com and seems very legitimate. Hopefully we will meet someone interesting out of this and learn a little more about the education situation in Uganda.
Aug 7th to 8th - We visit schools and universities in Kampala
Aug 9th to 12th -We travel to Rwanda to visit our two students there and see the capital, Kigali. The past couple years, the students' village gave Eric a traditional Rwandan performance, and I am hoping the same will happen again. Eric looked very happy dancing in the pictures I saw.
Aug 13th to Aug 16th - We travel to and tour Kyangwali Refugee Camp, which is a few hours outside of Hoima. There we will check up on the conditions in the refugee camp, learn more about the situation there, and meet new perspective students.
Aug 15th - We meet up with Beth Heckel and Aimee Jakubczyk, who fly in the day before. Beth is one of Educate!'s biggest supporters and Aimee is a reporter who has written several articles about us in Boulder's Daily Camera newspaper. Aimee also joined our trip last year for a week and is Beth's daughter.
Aug 17th to Aug 18th - We hold a two-day conference for all our students. There, the students will have an opportunity to meet each other, and we will be able to lead sessions on a variety of topics, including leadership. We will also hold discussions with the students on how to improve our support of them.
Aug 19th to Aug 22nd - The whole group travels to Springs of Hope to learn more about the school (I will be the only one to have seen it at this point). This time is also held open for potential meetings in Kampala.
Aug 22nd - Beth and Aimee fly out.
Aug 23rd - We finish any remaining visits or tasks in Kampala.
Aug 24th - The rest of us fly out of Kampala. Eric and Stacey fly straight to New York, while I stop for a night in London.
Keep in mind that this is all tentative and will most likely change once we get there.
More on the trip to come soon...