Skills for Life

An extra day of sunshine


Happy February 29th! If it’s your birthday, aren’t you so glad it’s finally here?!

The past month (except yesterday!) has been hot and dry in Kampala and at the farm. While that’s not so great for the last of our cabbages, it’s been wonderful for our heat-loving veggies like the eggplants Ronald is picking in the photo.

We’ve got more seeds going in almost every day for new produce and the girls at the compound have been excited by the changes in their diet — which is also a great nutrition boost!

We have a new project in the works, which we’ve been talking about for 2 years now:

Adding in a Farming class to Skills for Life!

We will be starting with a shorter course with 5 girls, timed for weekends and the term break to work out the kinks — like housing and feeding them for days at a time, who will be the chaperone, what Derrick will teach them exactly, etc.

But we are VERY excited that the farm is at the place now where we can bring this skill to our girls. For, while some grew up in the village, many were born in the Namuwongo slum and have never grown the first thing. The Rotary Club in the area has built a greenhouse in the slum… but hardly anyone uses it. What if our girls develop the skills to use it, and can provide fresh produce for their families?


We’ve also had the neighbors of Mikisa Farm coming to ask Derrick how we’re growing so muchand so differently than the traditional (inefficient) way. This will give us an opportunity to bring in some of them to learn, too.

What do we say? Go deep to change a culture!

We are so appreciative of all your support and encouragement.

Mwebele nnyo!


PS Our project to make liquid soap for the next couple of months is 84% funded – we just need $40 to finish it and buy the materials. If you’d like to donate today, here’s the link!


PSS Last year, either the IRS or our accountant made a keying error on our address and it currently shows we’re in Butner NC (27509) instead of Raleigh (27609) in their database. We thought we’d fixed it with a new filing, but it is still showing incorrectly, so searches in their database for 1018 using the correct zip or city aren’t showing us. Rest assured we ARE still a registered 501c3 — you can just put in our EIN of 26-3867682 and NC and find us. We’re still working on getting it corrected!

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Celebrating Literacy (With a Party!)

Husinah, right, is our poster child for the Skills for Life Literacy program. She came into the program without a word of English beyond “hello, how are you?” (Which every Ugandan kid learns as one word: howareyoufine.)

In less than 5 months, she is the first one to volunteer to do videos in English, she engaged me in conversation multiple times on my visit, and she literally *always* has a smile on her face because she is so excited about everything she’s learning and doing.

We are throwing a party for the 20 girls who’ve finished both our first-ever Literacy class and a month of auditing their chosen vocational class so they’re ready for Term 3 next month.

We want to PARTY, to celebrate, to make sure they know that they have beaten every expectation — not just expectations from people in Uganda who look down on anyone in the slum as a criminal or prostitute or drug addict. But OUR expectations, too. Where we thought a 6-month course would be ambitious, they just said the (non-alcoholic) equivalent of “hold my beer.”

So we’re getting a big cake, and soda, and they’ll do a huge THANK YOU to Teachers Lillian and Fortunate as well as to YOU and our friends at Expat Money Show who funded this amazing program for us.




PS We have a project up on DonorSee to fund the party —> click the button! Shhhh, it’s a surprise!

Click for the party!

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Off To Uganda – Finally!


My son, Zeke, and I went to Uganda in January 2020, returning on February 8th. Little did we know that the world was going to go mad soon after!

But finally, I am headed back — on SUNDAY.

Since I was there last, we have built a complete program from the ground up: the Ross House for teen moms in crisis, the Suubi House for teen moms transitioning to independent living, Skills for Life vocational school, Teen Talk, Turning Point, an on-site clinic, a free daycare, and more.

In 2021 we grew 70%. SEVENTY PERCENT!

Since 2009, I have often been asked about the WHY of going to Uganda:

WHY do you go when you could spend that money on the programs?

WHY do you go when a two or three week trip “doesn’t accomplish that much?”

WHY do you go when [insert “there’s no power” or “there’s no internet” or “you spend so much time driving on terrible roads”]?

Well, why do you get together with your family at the holidays, or go across the country to visit your best friend?

There are just things that happen when you are together, in person, sharing a meal or a laugh, enjoying a sunset, or simply sitting and watching children play that CANNOT happen otherwise.

It’s connection. Community. Relationship. Family.

So FINALLY, I am leaving on Sunday. I’ll be in Kampala working with our Namuwongo project for about 10 days, then heading west to visit our schools in Mbarara and Rwakobo. I’ll be taking Ronald on his first-ever safari (our “one fun thing”), then spending another three days in Namuwongo.

It’ll be BUSY. I’m leading a full day retreat, meeting with staff to do trainings on various things like learning styles and working with learning disabilities, meeting with the local Rotary club to establish ties with our wonderful Olde Towne Beaufort Rotary who has been so very generous to us over the last couple of years. And yes, I know enough to take a bit of time off.

I AM SO EXCITED! Uganda is my heart-home, to be honest. I may never live there full time, but my heart is always longing for it. You’ll see why in the photos I share.

Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and now Twitter. I’ll also write our twice-a-week newsletters as long as I have power and internet.

More soon!

Webele nyo!


PS To become a regular, monthly supporter, click the link! 100% goes to the program!


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Graduation Was Simply Amazing!

Graduation was AMAZING on Saturday!

We had 20 girls who never thought they’d ever wear a cap and gown or walk the stage to get a diploma or certificate who laughed and cried and danced and feasted to celebrate their own success. It was wonderful!

Every girl has a story. Stories like 17-year-old Sharon, who is the firstborn of five children. She did attend school for a few years but soon had to leave because her family couldn’t afford the fees.

Sharon gave up hope and turned to drugs and alcohol.

But our team identified her on our community outreach, enrolled her in Skills for Life, and now she has completed her hairdressing course and is ready to work in a salon or start her own business.


Education in ways that make our girls able to sustain a livelihood.

It’s why 100% of donations go to Uganda and our programs. YOU are changing lives every day!

Webele nyo!


PS We currently have a project on DonorSee to fund the graduation, which allows us to put on the *next* graduation in August or September. We’d love your help to continue celebrating our teen girls’ amazing accomplishments! Just click the button below!


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