It’s 9:00am on Monday morning. I start down the red dirt path to the S.O.U.L. office, eyes to the ground in effort to keep my shoes reasonably dust-free. The twinkling of women’s laughter drifts through the banana trees to my ears. “What day is it?” I think to myself. As the answer hits me, I abandon my careful trek and tear off wildly towards the sound. I turn right at the sweet potato garden, scurry down the trail between the maize fields, and with a flourishing swipe of the matooke fronds in my path, I land among the most beautiful sight: 60 Ugandan women, bedecked in their brightest kitenge, patiently awaiting for the opening of the S.O.U.L. Antenatal Education Center.
“S…E…X…” I read the letters aloud as I scrawl them across the poster paper taped to the wall behind me, and the room erupts with a cacophony of laughter.
There are few tools more powerful in development work than the art of listening. However, moving one step further and channeling this tool through rigorous research offers us the unique opportunity to see inside high complex sets of issues. Through our research, we are able to capture reality in a way that no amount of informal observation allows us to do.
After a gruelling flight to Uganda through the night, I drowsily stepped out of the car at the end of the inbound journey with very little going on in my exhausted mind. Immediately, I was greeted by swarms of grinning children outside the S.O.U.L. Shack, who sang to welcome me – undoubtedly the most surprising wake-up I’ve ever received. Yet the incredible hospitality remained as enthusiastic and genuine until the moment I left Kyabirwa, not just from the children but from the entire community, which included the S.O.U.L. volunteers.
"I know you’re spending so many sleepless nights working so much for S.O.U.L. so on that note please allow me to say that THANK YOU so much..."
Jitters, nerves, excitement and anticipation—so many feelings running through my body as I boarded a plane from Nairobi to Entebbe. I knew I wanted to go to Uganda during my stay in Kenya, but I had no idea I would fall in love with a country and its people.
As they say in Uganda, "You are most welcome" to the S.O.U.L. Foundation blog!
This is a forum we will use to share personal stories and experiences from a variety of S.O.U.L. Foundation stakeholders. Our first post, written by our Founder and CEO Brooke Stern, recounts her experience delivering a baby for the first time after stopping by to visit the local midwife in Bujagali- a day she will never forget!
We will continue to share stories from our staff, volunteers and the community members with whom we work in Uganda, so keep visiting to learn about our work through the personal reflections of the individuals whose lives are impacted by S.O.U.L. Foundation.
Jenna Rogers, Past Executive Director