Mark your calendar.
March 6-16, 2018 I will be returning to visit my friends at Lugacraft Uganda, and I want you to come with me. Details below.
Tuesday March 6
Early afternoon commuter flight on Delta from BOS > NYC
630pm direct flight to Cairo on Egypt Air
Wednesday March 7
Arrive in Cairo and taxi to hotel in Tahrir Square.
Thursday March 8
945pm flight to Entebbe, Uganda on Egypt Air
Friday March 9
Early morning arrival in Uganda, taxi to hotel in Kampala
Saturday March 10
Review lesson plans and what to expect
Hire car to travel to Lugazi town, 40km east of Kampala
Sunday March 11-Thursday March 15
Day to day activities (more below)
Friday March 16
415am flight on Egypt Air (one brief stop in Cairo)
Evening commuter flight NYC > BOS
What will we be doing?
No international trip would be complete without a fun layover. We’ll spend 35 hours in Cairo, with time to visit the Great Pyramids, the Cairo Museum, and famous Khan el-Khalili Bazaar. We’re staying at the Golden Hotel Egypt in famous Tahrir Square (I’ve stayed before). We’ll book before departure, but expect the hotel to be $35 per room (double occupancy), with another $40 to cover all commuting costs and food.
Uganda – Arrival & Kampala
We arrive early in the morning on Friday, at which point we will clear customs and present our proof of vaccination and square away travel visas. We will arrange to travel as a group to Kampala, where we have a full day to acclimate to the time and temperature, and to discuss lesson plans and what to expect in Lugazi and Buyenje. We’ll be staying at the HBT Russel Hotel in Central Kampala (I’ve stayed before). We’ll book before departure, but expect the hotel to be $75 per room (double occupancy), with another $60 to cover all commuting costs and food.
In Kampala, there are plenty of coffee shops, markets and shopping centers to check out.
Uganda – Lugazi
We will arrange for transportation to drive us the ~2 hours to Lugazi, where we will stay with Robert and Vivian, the leaders of Lugacraft Uganda. There is no running water, and the bathroom is pit-latrine style. Vivian prepares 3 meals a day, usually bread and fruit with tea for breakfast, rice or plantains with vegetables for lunch and posho (a Ugandan staple) with beans for dinner; which will be taken care of. While most locals drink water that has been sanitized by boiling, we will exclusively drink bottled water (there are multiple markets a short walk away).
Each day we wake up on our own clock, sit down and enjoy breakfast and talk about the days plan before heading to Buyenje via motorcycle taxi, or boda boda. The trip is roughly 15 minutes up into the hills. You’ll feel like a celebrity along the way, as everyone will stop to look at you, shouting “hi Mzungu!” – the label for a foreigner of European descent.
Uganda – Buyenje
This is why we’re here. Buyenje Village is the pilot project of the It Takes A Village Foundation. We’ve offered a 0% interest loan for the villagers to start a 5-acre farm they can call their own. Call this a really freaking cool site visit.
Each day, we’ll boda over to Buyenje and help with the day to day operations of the farm, which may include digging, planting, weeding or any number of other activities – but rest assured you’ll get your hands dirty! We typically do this in the morning, as where we are in Uganda is only a hop skip and a jump above the Equator, so it does get a little warm. Our only saving grace is our elevation, which cools it off a little. You’re going to be dumbfounded at how quickly the women of Buyenje can work, and for how long!
After spending an hour or so working, we retreat to the shade, share a snack (usually some fruit directly off the tree!), and get to talking. The women in Buyenje have plenty of questions about what life is like in the States, and I’m sure you’ll have plenty of questions as well! After some down time, we begin our talks.
I’m going to be working together with Robert and Vivian to develop a curriculum of lesson plans that we’re going to be teaching, including concepts on basic savings, food safety and nutrition, and family planning. You don’t need to be an expert in any of these fields to take part, and before we even take off you’ll know exactly what you need to know to be effective.
While, yes, we are there to check in on the project and bring some education, I don’t want you to think too much about that. Your job is to bring your culture and share it with people half a world away. None of us are going to save the world in one fell swoop, but by sharing your stories, and in turn sharing theirs when you come back – that is a step worth taking.
Flight costs will be based on when you book, but this is what you should expect:
Commuter flights (booked separately) – $200 including checked baggage
International flights – $900 including checked baggage
Hotels (Cairo + Kampala) – $60pp
Transportation (Cairo + Kampala) – $60pp
Food/entertainment (Cairo + Kampala) – $100pp
All told, budget around $1,320, including flights, all accommodations, transportation, meals and entertainment.
I sincerely hope you’ll consider coming with me on this experience. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below or email me directly at UxGregory@gmail.com