Uganda. If you’re not quite sure where that is, you can pull out a map and direct your eyes towards eastern Africa, sandwiched right in-between Sudan, Kenya, the D.R.C., and Rwanda. Depending on your flight route, it’s about 8,000 miles across the North Atlantic Ocean. No, Ebola is not a risk. And no, I’m not going to be running into lions.
Three years ago, I made my way to Jinja for the first time with the organization Sole Hope. After three years, I am so excited to say that I will be returning with Sole Hope this autumn!
WARNING : GRAPHIC PHOTOS BELOW (JIGGERS ARE REAL, PEOPLE)
If you’re not familiar with Sole Hope, allow me to tell you a little bit about them! The organization was started by Drü and Asher Collie in North Carolina after a trip to Uganda (You can click the ‘Sole Hope’ link above to find a video about that experience). During that time, they were introduced to Jiggers – a sand flea, which buries itself into the feet and hands, laying an egg. This turns into many egg sacks, and the issue grows. The number of jiggers in a patient Sole Hope sees can range anywhere from 0 to the thousands. Many schools in Kenya have actually closed because of jiggers. If the jiggers aren’t removed, the soft tissue begins to deteriorate, and it causes infections such as gangrene. They are often viewed as a curse, and are therefore not treated as a medical issue needing to be addressed. This is where Sole Hope comes in. Through clinics, shoe drops, and education, they are taking steps to see the problems jiggers cause eradicated and it’s working!
^ The best part right there. 10 minutes later and they were up and playing football (soccer)!
On my end, the cost of this trip is roughly $3,600. This includes airfare, in-country transportation, food (CHAPATI, GUYS. IT’S HEAVEN), and other such things. As you may have seen on Facebook, I am currently fundraising. I am crocheting dishcloths and face scrubbies (The BEST makeup removers), as well as retouching old photos, and doing some really cool fine art portrait sessions. You can contact me for more info on all of that. OR, if you’re the sweetest person on the planet and just wish to donate, you can do so directly by following this link :
For all of you local folks – I will be hosting a shoe cutting party in the coming months. If you’re interested in attending one, or just want to know more about what Sole Hope is doing, what I’ll be doing while in Uganda, or jiggers in general, let me know!