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The Next Step

13 Dec


This past Saturday, The Recreation Project had the pleasure of celebrating the conclusion of the second semester of our Piggery Training. After five months of intensive training, 23 hardworking students received their certificates of completion. We marked the occasion with a full day of ropes activities, a delicious lunch, and some thoughtful words from the program coordinators.

The full course of training was no simple task. Participants were asked to show up week after week and dedicate a full day to learning both life skills and the intricacies of building a piggery and raising piglets. Those who were committed worked to save money to purchase their own piglets, and many of them have built some remarkable piggeries. We are proud to share the fact that all 23 participants passed our final review test.

After spending the morning finishing up the course, we marked the joyous occasion by allowing every student to challenge themselves on the Leap of Faith, Climbing Wall, and Zipline. Cheered on by their classmates and instructors, many of them leapt out and managed to grab the trapeze bar, reach the top of the wall, and take that brave step off of the zip platform. We were immensely proud to watch these students—and friends– use everything they’d learned about challenge, risk, and self-empowerment to wrap up their work with us in a meaningful way. The support and encouragement was evident, and it’s clear that this group has become very close through the trials of the last few months.

Though we can’t help but smile when thinking about the classes and our wonderful party, we know that the work is not yet over. The next step for our students is, in many ways, the most challenging piece yet. Now that their piggeries are mostly completed, many are ready to receive their piglets. They will have to use the hard skills they’ve learned to keep their pigs healthy and happy, while also keeping in mind the soft skills they’ve acquired to help them deal with the stress that can come with taking care of animals. As Dan and Denish both remarked to the class, “This is not the end, but rather, the beginning. We have given you the tools, and now you must use them.” We know that every one of them is up to the task, and we can’t wait to see where they go with their newfound abilities, knowledge, and relationships.

Join Us in Welcoming our New Country Director!

24 Oct

Join Us in Welcoming our New Country Director!

The Recreation Project is excited to welcome our new Country Director, Oliver Paul, who moved to Uganda earlier this month! We are thrilled that Oliver has joined the TRP team and will serve as the director and supervisor to in-country staff and programs as they continue to fulfill and advance TRP’s mission.

Oliver is ideal for this role, as it isn’t his first time working in Gulu, Uganda. He also lived in Gulu in 2013, researching the socioeconomic impact of untreated mental trauma in civilian populations. He authored the report “Mental Health in Post-Conflict Societies: The Economic and Social Impacts of Widespread Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” and his primary focus in college was conflict studies, human rights, and African history.

Oliver has been working in the outdoor education field for the past three years and is passionate about experiential learning and character education. When he’s not on the job, he enjoys reading, hiking, canoeing and exploring.

The Recreation Project looks forward Oliver’s fresh perspective and wishes him well as he embarks on this journey. Please join us in welcoming Oliver to the team!

From Bullets to Bouldering Walls

23 Sep


About five months ago TRP bought a large stack of beautiful mahoganyboards. The wood is surprisingly easy to access as it is grown here in Northern Uganda and Southern Sudan.

As we began to plane back the boards in preparation for building a new bouldering wall we were met with a surprise: multiple bullets imbedded in the wood!

While we don’t know the origins of these bullets, they are a sobering reminder of the many years of violent conflict which touched almost everyone in this region.

Just outside the UN in New York is a statue of a man with a hammer. The figure depicts the words from Isaiah 2: “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks”. It is an image of the transformation of the tools of war into tools designed to give life.

TRP now has its own version. The bullet-scarred wood we bought will now be part of an activity designed to help people rediscover life! It is a powerful and tangible visual that captures so much of what TRP is on about.

Recently TRP held the grand opening of the wall. As many people had a great time testing out their skills and attempting various routes we also discussed the many ways which TRP can incorporate bouldering into our various programs.

A huge thanks to the team from Celebration Community Church in Denver for both fundraising and coming out to help build the bouldering wall! It will be a real asset in our work and visible reminder of why it matters so much.


Retreat and Reflect

17 Mar


Throughout 2016 the team at TRP has spent many hours investing in others; planning, teaching, facilitating activities and debriefing others. It was great to reflect on last year and invest back into the team with a little fun and debriefing of our own at our staff retreat.

After meeting at TRP we all bundled into a couple of vehicles and made our way down the edge of Murchison Falls National Park. For some, this was their first opportunity to go into the National Park, experience its beauty and see animals which never venture as far as Gulu!

On the second day as we sat together after lunch the facilitators began to share some of their learning from the last year of working alongside various groups. It is not just the participants drawing wisdom from the activities we run, so I thought I’d share a some of what the facilitators have learnt, in their own words.


Acellam Denish

“I learnt how to turn fear into joy. I also learnt how to take risks. Sometimes you might be holding very tight to old victories, but sometimes that can become a blockage to realising new things. I learnt that to move into the future you have to sometimes take risks.

I also learnt how the people around me have a big role to play in my life. If I want to have a successful story in life then I need to listen to them and be close to them.”


Okello Robert

“During my stay here I realised that it is good to accept all the challenges that come your way. We have received groups from all kinds of places and I have learnt how to accommodate all kinds of different people as I work with them.

I also learnt my strength as an individual. There were things that I didn’t know I could do, but through the activities at TRP learnt what I am capable of and also where my weaknesses are. I’m so grateful to TRP that I have learnt a lot of problem solving skills.”


Atim Winnie

“I learnt how to be nice to myself and others.

I learnt how, just as all the different body parts have different roles, in the same way we all need each other and need to work with each other to achieve what we want to.”


Rubangakene Godfrey

“I have learnt that it is not easy to know things when you have never tried. It is after trying something that you discover it for yourself. So often we have groups where individuals say that they cannot accomplish things, but then by the end of the day they have tried and realised that they can. How will you know if you never try? You just have to try.”

Celebrating The Recreation Project

28 Aug


There is a lot to celebrate here at TRP! Just a week ago we held our annual summer fundraiser in Denver, Colorado. We were extremely humbled by the overwhelming support The Recreation Project received throughout the evening at The Posner Center. It really gave us a chance to reach out and not only share what TRP does, but more importantly to introduce our team who works extremely hard in Gulu to help build joy and confidence in the lives of young Ugandans.

We had a lot of support this year not only from donors but also through the generous contributions of our sponsors! We would sincerely like to thank:

  • Chipotle! Who provided us with all of our food for the evening
  • Alright Alright! They have amazing music! Please check them out here
  • AB InBev! Thank you for the beverages
  • Stray Dog! This is an incredible blue grass band based in Denver! Please look them up!
  • The Posner Center! Thank you so much for letting The Recreation Project use your facilities!
  • C2D Productions and Andrew Syed! Who produced an amazing video on TRP

Towards the end of the evening Andrew released the film he had spent the last couple of months working on in Gulu. The impact of the film was incredible to say the least. If you were unable to attend the fundraiser and want to see the film; don’t worry we have posted it at the bottom of this blog. YOU HAVE TO CHECK IT OUT!!!

Once again thank you so much for all of the continued support! If you want to learn more or want to find out how you can help/donate contact us! Also visit our Facebook page or our Instagram for weekly updates!


The TRP board and interns!

The TRP board and interns!

Meet Our Team Information Wall

Meet Our Team Information Wall

Andrew Syed speaking about the film and Uganda

Andrew Syed speaking about the film and Uganda






The Recreation Project from Andrew Syed on Vimeo.