Meet Sihle. Sihle has the kind of story that should be made into a movie. After being raised in an impoverished township and not seeing a future, he began pulling heists. He was caught and sentenced to prison. While in prison, he life turned around and he began teaching and leading his fellow inmates. When he was released 5 years ago, he used YouTube videos to teach himself coding. Then he took the knowledge he had gathered and saw the opportunity to begin to be the change in his community where university is usually out of the question. He now runs an impressive coding school with a one year program that is free tuition to those in his community. Inside the program, a business has been started that allows more advanced students to take on paid projects that generate income. The work is top-notch and has gotten the attention of some large companies in the U.S. who are now helping fund his school. In just 5 years, he has gone from a prisoner to a community leader and founder of a booming school that is providing formerly unheard of opportunities for its youth. After generations of watching his community written off, he is determined to see them have skills that will make them leaders in this technological age. When I asked him what he hoped to see happening in 20 years he told me, I don't plan to wait 20 years. I want to see Langa [his township] become the next Silicon Valley. I want the next kid developing an app like WhatsApp to be a kid from here. I want this community to turn into a vibrant technological hub. Again, I'm affected by the power of a community leader who creative ideas seek to change the future and turn oppression on its head.
First giraffes and monkeys and warthogs, then rhinos, and now penguins. Magical. Okay, maybe warthogs shouldn’t be in a list that ends with the word magical.
I’ll be heading out to South Africa after tomorrow for part two of my trip, but I’ve fallen pretty hard for the country of Uganda and even more for its people. They’ve been through wave after wave of difficulty. And yet what I witnessed was so many truly incredible, resilient people willing to fight for the future of Uganda and a country coming into its own.
I wish you could be part of the laughs behind the moments of some of these photos. For this one, the ladies who were showing off their tailoring business were giggling up a storm with me- language barriers be darned.