Mannya Village Uganda

Photo Journal: Visiting Mannya with the Cotton On Foundation

Mannya Uganda

Mannya Uganda

Mannya Uganda

Mannya Uganda

Mannya Uganda

Mannya Uganda

The pictures in this photo journal are very special to me. They are from this past February when Jack and I visited Uganda. I keep them on my phone and look at them whenever I need a pick-me-up and a smile.

The schedule for our trip to Africa was planned around a visit to a remote area of Uganda called Mannya Village. Jack’s work partnered with the Cotton On Foundation to raise money by selling Hamish and Andy “gold” water bottles last year. All proceeds went towards a second outreach project, St. Jude Primary School, in Nabunga. We wanted go visit Mannya to learn more about the work that the Cotton On Foundation team is already doing in the community and their plans for the future.

The Cotton On Foundation started these projects in Uganda back in 2007. They don’t just provide aid to these people though, they empower the youth and mobilise communities, and are building futures through four major pillars: health, education, sustainability and infrastructure. The goal is to use all of Cotton On Foundation’s current contributions and resources in a way that will make the community able to continue, independent of Cotton On, on this path. Cotton On’s work is as much about strengthening the future as it about bettering the present.

I prepared myself for a heart wrenching and draining few days, but was surprised when I found myself completely uplifted and inspired the entire time. There is so much of contagious joy and optimism beaming out from the people of Mannya. They not only need the help, they want it. Everyone I met and spoke is positive and excited to take control and change their destiny.

During our time there, I realized that the picture of Africa painted for me growing up in the US is wrong, at least in this part of Southern Uganda. I’ve thought of it as a place that only contains sadness, misfortune and despair but the community of Mannya Village is far from all those things. The people are happy, friendly and welcoming. They have immense pride in what they do with the little they have. You should meet these people. I wish you could see the beautiful women dressed up in their Sunday best and the entire families’ dedication to get to 6am Sunday Mass service. I wish you could see the sparkle in the coffee farmer’s eyes as he explained how he takes advantage of Cotton On’s micro financing program. You should witness the way children carry out their responsibilities and I wish you could feel the deep, wide smiles of the 300 kindergarteners who now have a place to gain an education and someday change their world.

Give these people an opportunity and they will run with it; that’s exactly what Cotton on Foundation is doing now.

Some customers of Cotton On don’t even know the impact that they’re making. All you need to do to contribute is purchase Cotton on Foundation products online or at any Cotton On Store and 100% of the proceeds go to their various out-reach programs. Mannya Village is only one of the many projects that Cotton On Foundation is working on. There is so much to be done.

To learn more about the Mannya project, click here! To learn more about the Cotton On Foundation, click here. And to see more pictures from today’s Photo Journal, click through.

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Safari

Asilia Naboisho Camp: Take Me Back!

ASILIA NABOISHO CAMP

ASILIA NABOISHO CAMP

ASILIA NABOISHO CAMP

ASILIA NABOISHO CAMP

ASILIA NABOISHO CAMP

ASILIA NABOISHO CAMP

ASILIA NABOISHO CAMP

ASILIA NABOISHO CAMP

ASILIA NABOISHO CAMP

A few days into our safari Jack and I had the same thought: How do we bring both of our families here together. Who’s birthday is coming up? Birthdays are always a good excuse for travel. We came up with the idea of celebrating my dad’s and Jack’s mom’s birthday at Naboisho camp. They both turn 55 this year. A girl (and boy) can dream, right?

We dream for everyone to visit! Asilia’s Naboisho Camp in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy is such a special place.

We miss it so much.

We miss the animals. We miss the people. We miss the 5:30am wake up calls of coffee and hot chocolate. We miss the (very dangerous) buffalos and hippos eating right outside our tent in the middle of night and waking us up. We miss our vehicle and Daniel, our driver. I miss the head to toe ponchos. We miss the outstanding food and drinks. We miss walking past zebra and wildebeest grazing at the camp and being all like, “oh, hello”. We miss the hot towel-lets they greet you with after every game drive. We miss the early morning game drives and the sunrises that came with them. We miss the smiles of every staff member. We miss our tent and our outdoor shower. I miss the hot water bottle that was placed between the duvet covers and sheets every night before bed.

I miss the fact that every single detail was thought of and taken care of.

We’ve only gotten to experience a safari at one camp, so we don’t have anything to compare it to, but Asilia’s Naboisho Camp surpassed every expectation we had. If you are planning a trip and have no idea where to go, I would 100% recommend choosing this camp. I would also recommend booking your travels through TrueAfrica.

Maybe if I write about it enough I can get the whole family on board for a trip this July. Wait, forget their birthday, that’s just in time for mine!

cubs on safari

On Safari: The Beauty of Just Being

We were lucky on Safari. We had a vehicle all to ourselves for the first three days. That meant we made all the decisions! The most important of which comes when we’re at an animal sighting. We’ve been there for a few minutes and other cars start coming over. The animals aren’t really moving and the driver asks, “Okay. Are you happy to stay and watch, or move on?”

This is tricky. I’ll tell you why. Three examples:

First, a cheetah sighting.

On Safari

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