The Educate! Hike for Uganda… the Uganda story

Each year, Educate! holds a joint US-Uganda event to bridge the physical distance between the US and Ugandan branches of the organization: Hike for Uganda. This year, our Educate! Mentor Patrice was in charge of organizing the Ugandan part of the Hike. Here, he recounts his experience of the successful event.

Hike for Uganda 2010 Ugandan participants were excited to hike.

On August 28th, the Boulder, Colorado and Kampala, Uganda Educate! branches held simultaneous activities: the Hike for Uganda. In Uganda, the event attracted students and teachers from our partner school, Katuuso Community Academy, Educate! Mentors (teachers) and social entrepreneurs from the community. We ascended Buziga Hill, one of the high hills in the suburbs of Kampala city and while the US was focusing on awareness-raising, we chose to make the event a learning experience for our students.

A Katuuso Community Academy student doing her Educate! introduction for the group.

For us, hiking Buziga Hill was an expression of the common problems our students face while trying to address the community challenges of poverty, environmental degradation, disease, violence and lack of education. The summit of Buziga Hill was a representation of the goals that our students set in their personal and academic lives, goals that Educate! helps them realize. The theme of this year’s hike was perseverance. The aim was to motivate our students to embrace the challenges they will be confronted with as they pursue their goals.

Hike for Uganda participants enjoying their hike up Buziga Hill.

At the first stop, we had each participant do an official “Educate! introduction,” stating their name and their passion.  Moshin Juma, a committed partner and community change maker, then shared his experience starting up a local literacy center.  He spoke about the need to be selfless and a willingess to sacrifice for the common good, a virtue well emphasized in our social responsible leadership course.

Hikers listening to Moshin at the first stop over

At the summit, Peter Nyeko, a successful Ugandan businessman, took time to share his life journey in entrepreneurship with the students. He spoke about the importance of identifying a personal passion because when a person is doing something they are passionate about, he or she is much more likely to excel. He also talked about how we all can be resourceful and innovative in solving our community problems. He encouraged our Educate! students to not get discouraged by their limitations and to pursue their dreams. He concluded that the Buziga Hill summit was only the first peak, and that they can chose higher summits to climb, metaphorically, for personal growth.

Students, mentors and Educate! staff listening to Peter at the top of Buziga Hill.

The event was crowned by the beautifully-decorated cake made  by our very own Educate! student, Nakajwala Remmie.  Inspired by her Educate! training, she conceived the idea of starting a baking business, which is now flourishing. A good hike was had by all and we left with food for thought.

 Nakajwala Remmie displaying her Hike for Uganda cake.