I’ve been to Africa before (a ten-day safari a few years ago in Kenya), but I’ve never fully experienced it like I did when I was in Uganda and Rwanda. The purpose of my trip: an observation experience with the United Nations Foundation observing the work of several UN agencies.
As a member of the Global Entrepreneurs Council, it’s my job (and honor) to bring innovative ideas to the UN Foundation and partnership opportunities as they arise. So they felt we all should experience their work firsthand to truly understand what they do.
On our agenda: two days at a refugee settlement, a day visiting with female entrepreneurs on Bussi Island, and several days meeting local entrepreneurs. Ryan and I decided to head to Uganda a week early to have our own adventure visiting Lake Bunyonyi, gorilla trekking, and visiting genocide memorials in Rwanda. It was an emotional but enlightening trip. Here are a few highlights:
Global Livingston Institute: Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda. After a twenty-hour flight, a nine-hour drive across Uganda, and one very scary canoe ride, we finally landed at this special place. The goal of GLI is to create an environment where people can think collaboratively and in community with the local community. Thought leaders gather with community leaders to discuss local issues and find solutions. We spent three days here meeting people and getting to know Uganda. I loved that you never knew who would pop by (via canoe) for a meal.
Nshongi Gorilla Resort: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. Here’s the deal: you must be in very good shape to do this. There’s a serious hike (and rangers slashing greenery with big knives), sometimes intense heat, and once you think it’s all done, an intense uphill climb. But it’s worth it. You won’t believe how close you get to these gorillas (a few of them touched Ryan). It’s a breathtaking experience.
Check out our separate post on Rwanda for a list of things to see and do there.