Well, what a month it has been here in Uganda. I have so much to share but let’s start a bit further back than a month in January of this year when I visited The Gambia for the third time but for the first time as a Legs4Africa volunteer since officially becoming one in 2016. At the time I was at the crux of a three-year long period of restlessness and once again, as it had done during both previous trips in 2016 and 2018, the African way soothed my soul. Over those years I subconsciously made my life increasingly more transient so somehow this visit felt different. I had also travelled to Uganda in April of 2018 so I had begun cutting my teeth in Africa, but more importantly I was working on a project in the UK offering mental health support to an increasing population of people identifying as lonely and socially isolated. It was rewarding work, my colleagues were great, my hobbies were in check and my friends and family were and still are everything I could ever wish for. And yet, I still wanted to… go. So that’s what I decided to do.
I saved. Worked six days a week. Saved again. Sacrificed parts of my social life. Then saved some more. Now was the time. I handed in my letter of resignation at work, I gave my landlady a month notice and sold as much as I possibly could to get that travel budget topped up because I was going, of course, to… South East Asia! I know, I know. An odd choice considering I just spent the opening paragraph hammering on about Africa but sometimes you have to do the wrong thing to really be sure what the right thing is. Besides, the point is I had quit everything and had nothing but a short-term plan. One has to ask one’s self how best to remedy this and the answer is obviously to book another trip. Logic. I could ask to take an extended period of leave for my Asia trip? – Seemed a little cheeky considering I was only nine months in to my contract. How about I just look for a new job after the two and a half months travelling? Frankly, I didn’t want to go back to the same life so I booked flights to Uganda for another two months departing the week after I landed back in the UK and gave myself no choice but to make some serious changes. Oops. Sorry Mum and Dad. Here’s where I start to think I might be in an alternate reality.
Somewhere between now and back then brilliant gang at Legs4Africa HQ worked their butts off to get funding for a new support group project, asking me to work alongside the legend that is Chris Ingram (you’ll meet him at a later date, don’t worry) and our in country experts (the beneficiaries themselves) to build something from the ground up AND that I could start in Uganda! Yep, I’m definitely dreaming here.
That more or less brings us to the second week in September when I landed in Entebbe. As it turns out, I’m not dreaming and it’s exactly where my Ugandan adventure begins and you’re totally invited!