Home with a side of Kenya


Dear {{contact.first_name}},

Hello from North Carolina! Where it is quite chilly and I’m thankful for Ugandan coffee this morning.

It’s hard to believe the trip is over, but wow, what an amazing job this team did last month!

  • Bertie and Harriet, our nurses, did an amazing hand washing campaign in the community, giving away 10 hand washing stations and conducting a very well received workshop on hand washing and hygiene. They also did a lot of small- and large-group work with our girls on baby care, hygiene, personal care, and more; plus helped Nurse Brenda in the clinic a LOT. my favorite story is one of the girls coming in with “arm pain” and wanting medicine. Turns out she’d been carrying heavy jerry cans of water the day before and she was just sore – it was a great lesson that every pain isn’t “bad” and requiring meds!
  • Connie led the enthusiastic girls in making really cute things with a type of paper-based clay she brought. When they were dry, the girls painted them and make 2 amazing collages in frames to hang up. She also had hand-made a bunch of beautiful glass beads which were made into jewelry and decorated picture frames. She worked with Charity, who has been filling in for Mama Santa in the kitchen, and made both mendazi (like donuts) and bolognese for the girls and staff.
  • Susan taught many classes in drawing and painting, and also led the staff in several workshops on stress and stress management.
  • Bertie, Harriet, and Connie went to the farm and were promptly put to work – and they had a blast!
  • I got all the paperwork, reports, and plannning done for our upcoming NGO application, which is now in progress thanks to our wonderful Legal Officer, Jimmy. This is an “upgrade” from our current community organization status and makes us a nationwide organization.

We finished out the trip with 2 nights at Lake Mburo for safari, where we were fortunate enough to be literally in the middle of (on foot!) over 30 giraffes – half of the total giraffe population of the Park! (Including a less-than-2-month-old nursing baby!)

The return journey for me was longer than expected, as my initial flight was cancelled due to technical issues. They put us in a hotel, then rebooked me on Kenya Air the next day. When we flew into Nairobi I was so shocked at how flat it is… Uganda is so beautifully green and hilly, I guess that’s what I expected! I had a long-haul (15 hour) flight to JFK, then home to NC on Tuesday. I’m now in post-trip recovery/regroup mode — and very thankful both for the going and the coming home.

Thank you all so much for your emails and comments on Instagram during the trip. It means so much to all of us! Your pre-trip donations helped us get supplies for art, get soccer balls for Wells of Hope and Hopeland Primary Schools (and have a fund to supply them for a year!), and make sure all the classes had what they needed for exams.

Now it’s back to work here, while missing there…



PS. We have some great projects up on DonorSee, including moving the residential program to a separate compound. Check it out and see if something moves you — and also, you can become a monthly donor to either the clinic or the residential program, right there through DonorSee!

To DonorSee!

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Menu testing, picking collards, and my feelings about jackfruit


Hello from the quiet Kampala Forest Resort, our next-to-last day in Kampala. Wow, has the trip gone by quickly!

We woke up in the EARLY morning to a huge thunderstorm, with pounding rain. With metal roofs, that’s loud! Connie, Bertie, and Harriet were supposed to leave for the farm at 5:00, but those of our staff living in the slum who were also going couldn’t get to the compound, so the departure was delayed.

Then, of course, we had stragglers… But the team eventually took off for Mikisa Farm at about 6:40. As you can see from the above photo, the weather at the farm has been good for them, and they were put right to work harvesting collards and other fresh-picked food to take back to Touch the Slum. They also picked and ate a jackfruit — a fruit I have strongly negative feelings about! (I also have strongly negative feels about collards, which may get me kicked out of the Southern-ladies club, but what can you do?!)

Thursday is our last day in Kampala, and everyone will be playing to their strengths: Bertie and Harriet will be doing Q&A health seminars in the am and pm, where the girls can ask anything. Connie will be making bolognese sauce to serve with their choice of rice or pasta — a previously unknown meal that I know they will enjoy. Susan will be doing her final art classes, in which I’ll likely play assistant, and I will be having a few final meetings.

Friday morning we head west, driving 4 1/2 to 5 hours to see the well that YOU helped construct in Rwakobo village. I am SO excited to see it, and will have some photos and video for you once I get back. We will also stop (briefly) at Wells of Hope School to say hello and donate some soccer balls.

And that’s the end of the work! We will go into Lake Mburo National Park from there to do a boat safari on Friday evening and a driving safari on Saturday morning. On Sunday, we head back east and, for three of us returning to the US, to the airport. By Monday evening, we’ll all be back home!

It’s been a great trip — great to introduce the work to three new people, great to have my mom along again, great to work and play with some of my favorite people on the planet. It’s always such a blessing to be in Uganda, and to see how well our program is growing and maturing. I’ll have a more “businessy” update next week, but until then…

Tweyanzizza nnyo, tweyanzeege — we are so grateful, thank you very much!


PS If you want to follow along (or backtrack) on our trip, just go to via a web browser and search for Ten Eighteen Uganda and also for Touch the Slum. You can see the videos we’ve been posting every day and don’t have to have an account!

To find great projects to support, click here!

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We Leave Friday, Mama Santa’s Surgery, and More


I can’t believe it’s time to go back to Uganda already! Yay!

As you know, this time there will be 5 of us on the team: 2 artists, 1 writer, 2 nurses. But the artists have other skills, so we will all add chef and licensed mental health professional. Plus my problem-solving superpowers… Well, you get the idea! We’ll have a lot going on!

Anyway, 3 of us will start traveling Friday, one on Saturday, and one nurse is Ugandan and will be traveling from NE Uganda on Sunday. We’d appreciate your thoughts and prayers for safe travels!

Obviously, I’ll be updating on our work but won’t send many more emails than usual so as not to spam you. However, you can follow along on Instagram (even if you aren’t on that platform yourself) where I’ll be posting daily.

Secondly, Mama Santa is having a surgical procedure today after feeling sick for several days. I expect she’ll need a few weeks to recuperate. In the meantime, her daughter, Charity, who is also a cook, is filling in for her. The cost of the surgery is 850k shillings, and the cost for the scans and bloodwork was $250k. All that is a total of about $315 — if you’d like to help us with those expenses, we have a project up on DonorSee, or you can make a donation via Donorbox. (see below).

As always, THANK YOU…. You can’t imagine how much your support means. Without your ongoing help, situations like Mama Santa’s wouldn’t be resolved and would result in a much more unfortunate outcome. That’s life in the slum.

But for YOU.

Mwebele nnyo!


PS To donate for Mama Santa:

DONORSEE for Mama Santa


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Eight Days To Liftoff!


We’re officially 15!

It’s so exciting that I’ll be in Uganda EXACTLY on the anniversary of our first work there, January 15th. Wow, time flies!

So speaking of the upcoming trip… We leave on January 12th, arriving the night of the 13th. And that’s SO CLOSE!

We will have a team of four coming from the US, and will be joined by a Ugandan nurse, Harriet, who lives in the northeast Karamoja region. This is the first team I’ve taken to Uganda since October 2015, and we’ve got some great stuff planned: painting, drawing, clay and glass art, writing, hygiene workshops in the community, and more! I’ll be posting on Instagram, so make sure to follow us there. (Icon at the bottom!)

In other news…

We exceeded our year-end fundraising goal by 21%! I know times are tough and donations for all small nonprofits were down in 2023. So seriously, you all are THE BEST! You’re the fuel that makes everything we do in Uganda possible.

Some housekeeping…

If you donated via Donorbox or DonorSee, you always have access to your giving records and receipts via your account there. I have already sent year-end receipts to everyone who gives on Donorbox – check your spam folder or just download it again from the site if you didn’t receive it Tuesday.

If you gave via check, I will be sending you a receipt by email for 2023 before I leave on the 12th.

We really can’t express how much all your support and encouragement have meant to us, and how confident you make us feel going into this new year.

Mwebele nnyo!


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