Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hopeful for Hopeful

Sorry for the delay in the many days missed over the course of the trip. Things were busy at the end and I just wanted to chill and experience. Now that I am back I am going to finish up so that there is a beginning, middle, and an end like any good story! This next post is from two days in Masaka. I also don't currently have access to my pictures but I will upload some ASAP.

Wednesday morning

We woke up early to pitch water, our regular morning routine, and once again I was shown up by the local Ugandan youth. I take a small amount of comfort in knowing they have been doing this their whole lives..but the competitive side of me feels the strong need to train for my next visit to Uganda : ) Today was the first in a series of days that we would be working on filling in the foundation for the new Hopeful School building. It took us about forty minutes to walk there. The walk certainly put in perspective the effort that the local students make just to attend and receive an education.

When we arrived, I was blown away by what I saw. Not only were a majority of the kids already hard at work, but their families were as well. Now I understand the extent to which this community values educational opportunities for the youth. It warmed my heart to know that while they all have many pressures at home, their priority was building the school. Now when I say they were working, I mean they were WORKIN'. The majority of the work was hoeing, digging, and loading up wheelbarrows and baskets to fill in the foundation. From the kids, to the parents, to the grandparents - everyone was so strong and relentless in their efforts. They probably found our attempts at this type of work extremely entertaining. Regardless, they were all so appreciative of our help and made sure to let us know throughout the day.

A number of individuals who work with the organization have said that we provide the people in the Masaka community with hope simply by being there and giving our time. Seeing the way this community banded together to build this school, gives me hope in the good nature and selflessness of people. The fact that, despite the poverty they face every day these individuals are able to unite for a greater cause, is a mighty good sign for humanity. I have been told that there is no such thing as true altruism, and that might be true, but I do believe that their actions are about as close as one could get. It brings up that old familiar feeling of who has it better off. I feel very privileged for having grown up in a loving household where there was always food on the table, a bed to sleep in, and so many opportunities to grow as an individual. I have always felt a strong pull towards a life dedicated to granting those less fortunate, with similar opportunities. Somewhere along the way I realized that those I would consider less fortunate have provided me with just as many opportunities as I have provided them. I have learned to see things from a different perspective, what real hard work is, to be light-hearted, and to truly appreciate each new day.

Three for the day - new friends, grass (i will never take all of our nice fresh state side grass for granted again), and inspiration - the many forms it comes in

Thursday was one of my favorite days. After doing some more work, we made visits to the homes of a number of the kids who attend Hopeful. We each gave 20,000 ugandan shillings to buy items including sugar, bread, soap, and flour for the families.

The first home that we visited consisted of grandparents taking care of their own grandchildren and other children who had been orphaned due to the AIDS epidemic in the area. The grandfather was blind and could no longer do any digging and the grandmother was obviously very old and had been fighting off a bad chest cold for the past few weeks. The conditions were very very poor with one small front room and a bedroom behind it where the "beds" consisted of nothing more than small mats on the floor. While the grandmother had been unable to join in on the building of the school due to her cold, John informed us that she is one of the most heavily involved in Hopeful. There were six kids living with them and I recognized a number of their faces right away. I was very humbled by the experience. As little as there was in external wealth, their love for each other and for the little they did have was tangible. That ran true in each home that we visited including the last one.

The final visit we made was to my family (everyone was designated a family). The second we pulled up I recognized both the little boy and the grandfather. The little boy was John, the first kid I interacted with on Tuesday when we visited Hopeful. The grandfather was one of the individuals I had been digging with at the school the day before. He spoke some english, which made the interaction much easier. I told him that his hard work was my constant motivation to keep working hard and he told me the same! Isn't it funny how that works. After giving many thanks and hugs, he mentioned that times have been hard and that it is difficult to cultivate the land as he is getting older and the children are still too young to contribute. I gave him some extra money in the hopes that it could make a small difference

The most eye opening part of the visits for me was seeing the kids in their homes. Just earlier that day, those same kids were just that - kids. In my eyes, they were carefree, playful and had smiles you couldn't wipe away if you tried. Interacting in that school setting, you would not believe the level of poverty they face at home. Although I was fully aware (even before the home visits), that the conditions in this area are extremely rough, it is so easy to forget due to the unbelievably positive nature of every single kid. After being invited into their reality, I had a whole new appreciation for their unwaivering resiliency and their never fading smiles.

With that, here are my three: optimism, hard work, and feeling at home in a new place

first home visit

boda boda ride. nice n cozy

The fam



Monday, August 13, 2012

Masaka Day One, Two - A Different Reality

Monday morning we set out for Masaka and arrived later that afternoon. We stayed at the Bishop's house in the Kkindu community where Aunt Margaret and Sister Julie took care of us and made the most delicious Ugandan dishes for us. To say it is a different reality is an understatement.  The community is very poor, there is little electricity, and to get your water you must hike a good distance to one of a few water sources they have. To "shower", you fill a bucket with water and get creative. The bathroom, or "pit latrine" is nothing more than a hole in the ground. It truly makes you appreciate the comforts that we take for granted in the states.

Tuesday morning we went to church. While I am not a religious person, I do appreciate the sense of community the church provides and the hope it gives its members, especially in a place where having something to believe in can make all of the difference. Father Emmy, who they call Owakabi meaning "the coolest", is exactly what his name implies. He is a young and motivated individual who works hard to help the people of Kkindu. He is extremely personable and even invited us all over to his place to get to know us all better and welcome us into the community.

For the remainder of the day the plan was to head towards the Hopeful School. Hopeful is a private school that is funded by Fields of Growth (FoG) and is run by John Kakande. John is another amazing individual in the community. He is originally from Masaka and worked extremely hard to go to school and become a teacher. It wasn't just university that he had to work hard to attend, it is difficult (like I mentioned before) to afford and attend primary school. I talked to John for a while about his background and his dream to start the Hopeful School. He told me that when he was younger, he wanted an education so badly and there was no one there to help him. He fought hard to get that education on his own and does not want other children to not have the help they deserve. Many of the kids in the Kkindu region do not have the money to pay for schooling and they are also too far from the few government schools to attend every day. Hopeful solves these problem by being within a walkable distance (although many still walk 5k each way) and is paid for by FoG. He is so passionate about the school, the community, and about creating opportunities for these children. They will be introducing lacrosse next year with a youth program!

Now on to the fun stuff- the kids!! First off, we arrived on boda bodas, small motor cycles that they use for transportation. It was my first boda boda ride and it was awesome! We could not have received a better welcome than we did when we arrived. All of the kids ran right up to us with the biggest of smiles. They were simply radiating. We all introduced ourselves and then one by one we were each given an African name (so cool, I know). There are many different clans within the different regions of Uganda and so Francis and John had a kid from a clan come up and name each of us with a name from their clan. My name is Nakafuja. From there, we got in one big circle to play some games and sing some songs. I had the smallest little boy next to me named John. On the other side of me was a little girl named Toepiesta. They were my buddies from that point forward. I gave them a few of the bracelets I had (by the end of the trip I didn't have any of my bracelets left- even my livestrong!) They had so much fun with just the simplest games. Once we ran out of games, we went into the classrooms and they let us teach. I was with the youngins and we did some ABCs and numbers. I really enjoyed teaching in the classroom. It wasn't really something I had done before and I was given free reign to do what I wanted. It was very rewarding.

The best part about working with these kids is their enthusiasm and how excited they are for you to be there. They all want to hold your hand, spend time with you, and they are ALWAYS smiling. I love smiling, so naturally I feel right at home with this crew. When we were leaving, we made sure to give each kid a piece of candy. These kids are fiends for the sweets. I didn't want to leave,  but I knew we would be returning the next day.

On that note, I am heading to Jinja in a minute so I will finish my  blogging and picture posting later! If we have internet in Jinja I will do it then, if not- updates will come Wednesday

My three: bonfires, dancing, and Ugandan bread


my bud, Toepiesta

love these kids 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day Three and Day Four: The Ugandan Lax Community

I am going to try and summarize the last few days although that is extremely hard as they have each been amazing and eventful. We are leaving tomorrow morning for Masaka, a much more rural area that does not have any running water and little electricity. I am excited to experience another environment here in Uganda as we have been in village and city up until this point. I will not be updating for the next week because of it.

Friday morning we went into Kampala to go to Sanyu Babies, an orphanage for babies and young children. These babies have been given up, abandoned, or left in unbelievable places to die. The organization has been around for a long time and houses up to fifty children at once. They also provide some education and as the kids get older, Sanyu does their best to stream them back into society and sometimes even reunites them with their original families. We were able to play with the children, help distribute and feed them lunch, and get them in to their beds for nap time (no easy task!!). It is really difficult to imagine being neglected in that way and then to be one in a family of fifty. They have a number of regular workers and they rely on help from volunteers like us but their are only so many hands and a lot of children asking to be held. The second I walked into the room, a little boy come up to me with his arms reached out. I picked him up and we hung out for the next hour. It was tough to leave because I always feel like the time we give, while it is something, is insufficient. I do know though, that without these kind of volunteers they would not be able to keep the place running. I wish I had pictures because these were some of the cutest kids I have ever seen, but it is completely understandable why we were not permitted to bring cameras in. 

We went back to the house after this and then went to the Ugandan men's nation team practice. The team has not been around all that long but they practice regularly now and plan on competing in the 2014 World Cup in Denver. Because the men's team didn't have enough players to have a full field scrimmage and because they love to play us mzungos, we all got together for a game. Amanda Macaluso (AMac), Caroline Gersuk (just Gersuk), and I all suited up in men's gear- helmet, gloves, stick, elbow pads. It was awesome. Let me tell you, the Ugandans do not take it easy on you just because you are a girl and they certainly like to hit! It is a little difficult passing with a guy's stick but the girls scored all of the goals for our team! 

Following that, we were able to work with the Women's National Team. While the program is in its infancy, they are working extremely hard to get girls to practices regularly and hopefully to compete in the 2017 World Cup. While they do not have strength in numbers, they are led by their amazing captain, Dora. To say she is amazing is an understatement because she works extremely hard as a player and leader to improve the team and the opportunities they have. She wants to learn so much. Dora is living at the FoG house right now so we get lots of quality time together. She always wants to watch the past NCAA championship games and is ready with questions. She has so much passion for the game and they are very lucky to have her. We spent the majority of our time working on shooting and using their left hands. After the practice was over, it was announced that we would be scrimmaging the girls the next day. They were so excited about this, and we even exchanged a little trash talking around the house over the next day! 

It was about 7:30pm when we finished up and Maurice asked if we wanted to go to a basketball game. I wasn't sure what to expect but it was awesome! They play all of their games on outdoor courts here and I felt like I was in Harlem at an And1 Mix Tape game (minus the fancy skills, and even some of the fundamental skills, haha). It was the number one and two teams in the Ugandan Pro League. There were some big dudes. We became instant fans of the Warriorz team and their tallest player, Gombya, in particular. This guy was 7'2  and looks like he had never run a day in his life. I asked Maurice about him and he told me that Gombya comes from Masaka, the area we are leaving for tomorrow. He was found randomly walking down the street there and was recruited to play in the league two years ago. He had never played and knew nothing about the sport.  It definitely shows still, but he is certainly a fan favorite. The Warriorz ended up upsetting the Power so of course I had to storm the court. I went right up to Gombya and told him he was awesome and then nailed the Ugandan handshake. I was so proud of myself, the handshake takes a bit to get down perfectly. I also found out that these guys only get paid $2 a day! They do it purely for love of the game. I am hoping Gombya comes out to the lax championship next weekend as I have  been told he does sometimes. Shouldn't have trouble spotting him! I should also note that I had one of the best hotdogs I have ever had at this game. Who would have thought? 

Okay, on to Saturday-

I woke up Saturday morning to the smell of fresh made Chapati and I knew that Oscar must have been hard at work in the kitchen! When I walked in I noticed he was wearing a Buffalo Bills Eric Moulds jersey! Obviously he had no ideas who they were but I was so excited. So then he referred to it as Buffalo swag, haha. After our delicious breakfast we went to Makerere University for the Kings Cup. The top four teams from the Men's Ugandan league would play in the semi-finals and then the Championship would be the following Saturday. On the way, Drew, one of the FoG coordinators organizing our visit, pointed out the Baha'i Temple to me. It was incredible to me because the only one in the United States is in Evanston and there are only eight in the world. 

Once we arrived at Makerere, we began to set up the field including stringing goals and lining the field. Over the course of the day there were two games played - the first was between The Strykers and The Kings with The Strykers coming out victorious the second game was The Warriarz upsetting the defending league champs, Oneonta. The outcome of the games was far from the best part about the day. First off all, to see lacrosse being played in Uganda in general, is very surreal. It is so exciting to see the game continuing to grow at a global level and especially in an area such as Uganda. You have to remind yourself for a minute that you are not back home in the states at a tournament. So many people come out to watch the games, the teams all support each other, and the fans go crazy after big hits and nice plays. It was such a strong community built already, which doesn't surprise me because that is just a natural part of the Ugandan culture. I had the awesome job of being tournament photographer! Not only did I take pictures of the games but I also helped take profile pictures of all of the team members so they can post them online. 

While I was busy taking pictures,  I had some awesome interactions with a number of the local kids. There were two brothers wandering around, watching the tournament, and playing with the lacrosse sticks. It is amazing the way that the older brother was caring for the younger one. I have seen this a lot here, where kids are out on their own for long amounts of time. A lesson in self sufficiency. The one little boy could not manage to hold up his own lacrosse stick but was so excited just to chase down the balls. I met another boy named George, who is eleven and plays with the youth team. I let him use my camera and he became quite the photographer- snapping shots left and right, different angles, different focuses. I was pretty impressed for a kid who has never really used a camera. 

The Ugandans in general are extremely friendly and as a result, I met just about every player on each team, including Bob Narry. I thought that was his real name (because Bob is a first name, is it not?) but apparently Bob Narry means "money is fire", which is his hip-hop name. I can relate, seeing as I have a rapper name as well- Capital Hil. I then proceeded to tape him freestyling for me. Not enough space on here for that, but it is pretty entertaining (at least the parts I can comprehend). "Sitting here hangin' with Capital Hil..." I believe that is how it starts. 

In between the two games, we scrimmaged with the women's team. While my team did not win, it was fun to get to there and play with the girls. We definitely have things to work on, but you have to start somewhere and they are off to a great start. After the game, we overheard Dora giving a rousing speech to team. She told the girls that they need to be committed day in and day out if they want to be successful. That they cannot just show up and play and that it takes a whole lot of handwork to get to that next level. I don't see how they can fail with her leading the charge. I look forward to working with them more when we return from Masaka. 

This was definitely the most rewarding day and after we all went back to the house, we ended the night having a campfire. The best part was that we had a surprise visit from one of the players, Tabu. Tabu is amazing. I actually had the opportunity to guard him in the game we played and he is not a small dude. This guy is full of energy and has the biggest heart. We all went around and mentioned a word for the day. My word was "appreciation".  Not only am I appreciative of this opportunity and of the way that everyone has welcomed me during my time here, but I also love seeing how appreciative everyone is here for the opportunity to play. You saw it on their faces when they won and you saw it on their faces when they lost. You saw it in the young kids faces who were cheering on their heroes who they aspire to be like some day. Tabu spoke up and said how thankful he is to have all of us here. He told us how happy he was to be able to share the day with us and even into the night. He has the biggest heart and the biggest smile. The only one who competes is probably his son Trevor, his biggest fan. 

Alright, my three: Dora for pushing herself and her team to be better every day, all of the awesome FoG people who help run this organization, and the USC coaching staff- miss you guys and can't wait for this year!! 

That's it for the week! Until next time.


We've got major flow
Look out!
Me talking to Dora about using left handed shooting
Buffalo Swaggg
Kings vs. Strykers
The brothers
Tabu's son, Trevor
Us with the Ugandan Women's Team

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Day Two: Shrines, Lax, and Rolexes

8/2/12: Day 2

What a first day it has been! It all began with an early wake up from the roosters  at about 5:30am. After some eggs and sausage we were out the door. Francis, one of the FoG coordinators, took us to the Uganda Martyrs National Shrine. It was built at the exact location where individuals were executed in 1886 under the order of the King, Kabaka Mwanga, for refusing to give up their Christian principles and fight in the war. The Shrine was finished in 1975 and was constructed to resemble an African hut. It is an amazing structure and had a lot of energy surrounding it. Many individuals make pilgrimages to the site and at this particular time they were preparing for an upcoming ceremony and were playing traditional African music. pictures below.
the crew!

The crew in front on the shrine - from left to right- Joe, Allison, Julius, Caroline, Amanda, Adele, me, Ashley, Chris, Oscar, and Francis in front!! 
On the walk back we made a stop at one of the local schools in the area. The kids had gone home for holiday so the classrooms were empty. It was very humbling to see the environment in which they learned. The walls were simple brick but many had holes in them. The floors were bare concrete, and the desks were a few planks of wood nailed together. And this, I was told, was one of the better schools. I asked Francis, who is very knowledgable about the government and the workings of Uganda, what the current education status is within the country. He explained to me that there are government schools and there are private schools. As recently as 1998, they made it possible for children to attend school for free (or for an extremely small fee). This would appear as a move in the right direction for the country, but the government schools that are free, do not provide an education worth attending in many situations. As a result, the children that the new law is supposed to create opportunity for, end up staying home where they can be more useful to their families. If a Ugandan wants to continue their education beyond secondary school, they must attend private school, which is expensive. As you can imagine, this creates quite a disparity. This just goes to show that as different as this country is from the States, you find many of the same problems, just on a different scale.

Playground at the school
 Right before we left, we had the opportunity to meet a few of the kids who were still there. These were the first youngins I have met here in Uganda. It is impossible not to fall in love with these kids. They are so friendly and full of light. They also have the biggest, most welcoming smiles you will ever see. I can't wait to see all of the wonderful people I continue to meet on this trip.
The little boy we met- unfortunately I didn't catch that big smile he had!
After lunch,  Julius, who is helping push the women's game in Uganda, told us that we were going to Namugongo high school to do a lacrosse clinic. While the kids were leaving for vacation the following day, this was an opportunity to introduce the sport, peak their interest, and entice them to sign up for free regular practices. The girls were a little bashful at first and while only a few showed up initially, by the second hour the stick bag was empty and the field was full. The FoG coaches gave us free range to do what we thought would be most beneficial for the girls. Given the go-ahead, we decided to organize the girls into a few groups and do some very fundamental skill work including cradling, catching and throwing, ground balls, and shooting. The girls responded extremely well to our instruction and improved with each drill as a result. They were so enthusiastic and appreciative, which can be a great change from youth lacrosse back in the states. I find that kids do not always appreciate the opportunity to play and learn every day the way they do here. It probably has to do with the fact that they do not have many possessions or regular opportunities to play the game here. Regardless, it is really refreshing. After having only been there for a few hours, the girls were just as attentive when it was time for us to leave. They asked us when we would be back, which brings me to the one issue I have with these kinds of trips.

Some one-on-one passing form 
A little instruction at the clinic
It is so rewarding to be able to make kids smile by giving them the game of lacrosse. There is nothing that compares, which like I mentioned before, is why I coach. Unfortunately, it's really hard to introduce the game, meet all of the kids, get them excited, and then know that you will probably not seem them again. I know that they get a lot out of that one day, but I do feel a little guilty not being able to see it through. On the other hand, all of the regular FoG coaches, who are local Ugandans, are at every clinic.They ask questions, take note of what we are teaching, and are extremely enthusiastic about the sport in general. I think that is the most important part of this trip in terms of making women's lacrosse sustainable in Uganda. The more knowledge and experience the coaches here can gather, the brighter the future of the sport in this country.

Now on to the cultural highlight of my day. One of the many reasons I love pairing travel and community work is because it offers a rare first hand look at the culture of the region you are visiting. I have already learned a number of things about the Ugandan culture like how to greet someone - "oli otia". That we (we being "white foreigners") are referred to as mzungas, or "aimless wanderer". I was taught the Ugandan handshake and that you do not stop doing it until you are done with your initial conversation, which can be a bit awkward at first...I also had the pleasure of learning how to make the most delicious Ugandan meal called a "Rolex" (see picture below but do not juuuudge based on  picture). It consists of chapati (a naan like flat bread made with flour, water, curry, salt, and onions on a frying pan) and 2 "scrambled" eggs that are left on the frying pan and come out like an egg flapjack. Put the two together, roll 'em, and eat! Unbelievable. I will attempt to make some when I get state side, if anyone wants to be a guinea pig...
Oscar teaching us how to make Chapati
Well that is it for today. So much greatness in today that I cannot wait for tomorrow. I'll leave you with my three:

Three time: my parents- for giving me all of the opportunities they have,  meeting new people, and Rolexes (is that the plural? Rolexi?)



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Arrived Safe and Sound

(written late last night, or early this morning depending on how you want to look at it! - 2AM August 2nd, 2012)

After a total of 28 travel hours logged (that is self-calculated on a lack of sleep, sorry if I'm a few off!), we have finally arrived in Kampala at 10:30pm on August 1st. It was quite the journey so far but surprisingly uneventful. After we all arrived, we were greeted by Maurice and Andrew, two FoG guys. We then took the hour long trip to the FoG house but made a quick stop for pizza on the way. I guess I am not quite yet ready to fully assimilate to Ugandan culture just yet! By the time we got back to the house and met everyone it was way past 1am and everyone was pretty tired.

On my third leg  of the flight from Amsterdam to Kigali, Rwanda, I watched Rise & Fall: The Jay Demerit Story (I am a sucker for documentaries, especially sports- related ones) about the US national team soccer player and his unbelievable journey to play at the highest level. The film opens with the following quote: 

The poorest man is not without a cent, but without a dream" - Unknown

It really resonated with me.  I believe strongly that without a dream to strive for , to keep you motivated, to move toward, it is extremely easy to remain stagnant. And that complacency is a slippery slope. 

This adventure that I am about to embark on began as a dream. It started out a few years back when I reached out to Kevin Dugan, the founder of FoG, letting him know that I thought that what he was doing was amazing and that I needed to be a part of it. Now, here I am! There were many times early on (and Kevin can attest to this), where I would tell him- "I don't know if this is feasible, I don't know if I can afford this, I don't know if I have time". Well we all know that dreams don't come easy but when you want something bad enough and feel strongly that it is what you are supposed to be doing, it finds a way of coming together and I am certainly glad that it did. This is the beginning of an amazing journey and I cannot wait to see where it takes me.

On that note, if you have not done so already, I strongly suggest you all read The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo. It is one of my favorite books, so much so that I read it again on the plane. It is a great story about following your dreams and I get something new out of it every time I read it. If my endorsement is not enough, Kerri Walsh also is a big fan and even keeps it on her nightstand in the Olympic village. GO USA!! 

A number of my friends back home and I play a game where, at the end of the day, we say three things we are grateful for. I'm going to call it "three time", like our own version of tea time. Today my three are my family, the lacrosse community, and sleep!

I'm going to go try and get some of that last one now, although it is currently 2pm in LA. After traveling for 28 hours and wondering where August 1st went all together, hopefully all it takes is my head hitting the pillow! 



Monday, July 30, 2012

Uganda in 1 Day!

I cannot believe it is finally here! Tomorrow I leave with Fields of Growth for Uganda to help spread the game of lacrosse and all of the good that comes with it! I could not be more excited. I had a number of people ask me to keep a blog while I am over there, so here it is! I will update when I can and post pictures, if possible. Below I have posted a bit about why I am going on this trip, that I had previously written for my donations page. Hopefully it will give you a good introduction and answer some questions you might have.

"As many of you know, giving back has always been extremely important to me. I have been granted so many great opportunities in my life that have shaped me into the individual I am today, and it only feels natural to me to pass along those same wonderful experiences to others. One of the greatest gifts I have been given is the game of lacrosse. There is nothing more joyful to me than getting out on a field with my best friends and playing, simply for the love of the game. There is no place that I feel more comfortable and free.

Many individuals do not have the same opportunity to enjoy this game that I love so much. They lack the resources, coaching, and equipment to play lacrosse and experience all of the great things that come along with it. It has always been my dream, since I started playing the game in 7th grade, to created these opportunities and to bring the game into the lives of others. It is the reason I coach.

In August, I will be traveling to Uganda with Fields of Growth International (FoG) to do exactly that- spread a love for the game and enrich lives in the process. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am for this opportunity. Fields of Growth is an amazing organization that embodies all of the qualities that I strive to embrace every single day. The organization was founded on the belief that we were put on earth to share our passion, joy, and gifts with others. Lacrosse happens to be the medium, but the goal is much larger. We want to be the change. Fields of Growth seeks to support sustained education, human development and rights initiatives in the respective countries they visit. To see some of the more specific programs through which they accomplish these goals, please visit this page:

This opportunity, specifically, is extremely special. I will be leading a group of women's collegiate lacrosse players on a trip that has been titled the "Get Up, Stand Up" Tour. We will be working with young women and girls through-out Uganda to ignite an already growing passion for the game of lacrosse. Through this process, we hope to transcend all gender inequality and provide these females with a sense of empowerment and belief in themselves and their abilities.
Some of the specifics of what we will be doing on the trip are as follows:
  • Run a camp at Makerere University for the Uganda Lacrosse Union
  • Visit an outreach with HOPEFUL Uganda in the rural village of Kkindu where we will bring school supplies and athletic equipment to children at the FoG school for Orphans and Vulnerable Children
  • Visit the children's ward of the hospital in Masaka
  • Run lacrosse clinics at rural primary schools and hold an integration lacrosse clinic
  • Build a home with the FoG Batwa Development Program Homebuilding Project
Having been involved with the organization over the few years and getting to know what the individuals who drive its continued and ever growing success, I know that this is exactly what I am meant to be doing. Their enthusiasm for life and for helping others is immeasurable. There is a tangible positive energy working with the organization, and I am so excited to be surrounded by it and hopefully contribute to its wide spread effects!"

To learn more about Fields of Growth, please check out -
Well, tomorrow I have quite the journey to make. I leave at 8am out of Los Angeles, have a layover in Minneapolis, followed by a layover in Amsterdam, followed by a quick stop in Rwanda before I finally make it to Entebbe, Uganda. In fact, I leave on July 31st and arrive in August! If you were concerned for my well-being due to the extremely large amount of hours I will be on planes, don't be- I have downloaded four movies and have three books to read : ) But, with that being said, I may not update until later in the week. I guess that is it for now, still have some procrastinated packing to do....

My FoG profile page