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Women of The Recreation Project

8 Mar

Women of TRP

Here in Uganda, as in many countries around the world, International Women’s Day is celebrated as a public holiday. It is an opportunity for us to thank the powerful, vibrant, and remarkable women in our lives. Whether family, friends, or colleagues, it is important to remember how much they mean to us.

At TRP, we think of ourselves as family, friends, and colleagues. This is our chance to highlight the amazing work that our female coworkers and facilitators do for us.

From left to right:

Lamunu Irene has been with TRP for many years. She began as a facilitator  and has steadily moved up. As our Outdoor Adventure Program Manager, Irene is responsible for sculpting our programs to fit the needs of our clients. As if that were not enough, she also manages TRP’s finances (and keeps the rest of us on track). She is generous, thoughtful, and truly is TRP’s anchor. We are grateful for her every day.

Alimocan Janeth has been a facilitator for us for a long time. Her experience with our material is evident every single time she comes to work with us. We know we can call Janeth to work with any program-whether it’s the climbing club, remand home, piggery training, or even a company retreat, Janeth never fails to demonstrate complete mastery of our curriculum. Her patience and easy smile lift encourage all of us to strive to do our very best.

Brenda Ojera is one of our facilitators-in-training. Coming to us originally from the piggery training, Brenda immediately showed a knack for grasping the life skills piece of our curriculum. We decided early on that she would make a very strong facilitator, and we have been blown away by her progress. Brenda is always eager to learn more, and her gentle but focused demeanor has allowed her to progress quickly. We are truly lucky to have her on the team.

Not pictured: Irene Laguti, Aliroker Jenny.

Though two of our other amazing staff members could not be with us for the picture, we want to celebrate them as well. Irene and Jenny have both been with us for a long time. We know we can call on them both for any program. Irene has recently become instrumental in facilitating our climbing club. Jenny has a remarkable way with children, and we are always sure to call her if our program involves working with young ones.

These five women not ensure that The Recreation Project is able to function, but truly are the keepers of the spirit of TRP. We work every day to teach individuals how to support each other, how to interact healthily with their communities, and how to manage their emotions. The women of TRP are not just masterful teachers of this material; they are master practitioners of it. We are endlessly grateful, both professionally and personally, for their presence in our lives. Happy International Women’s Day from TRP.

Meet Ketty

26 Feb


The Recreation Project is excited to welcome Ketty, who has joined us for the second stage of training in the development of a pig farm. She is a vibrant and strong young woman in her early 20’s, and before joining TRP’s piggery program, she had overcome many difficult challenges and setbacks. Ketty is such a great example of the resilience and persistence that TRP sees every day, and we celebrate her success as she is now raising pigs to improved specifications.

Ketty was raised by a single mother after her father passed away when she was young. They worked together to raise local pigs, but the animals struggled to gain weight and stay healthy. In early 2017, Ketty’s mother passed away while Ketty was pregnant, and the father of the child decided to move away. With her family splintered and a baby on the way, Ketty needed to find a reliable source of income and started working as a kindergarten teacher. Unfortunately, the salary was unreliable and sometimes months would pass without payment.

Ketty learned about The Recreation Project through a friend who was participating in TRP’s first round of IMO piggery training, and she decided to enroll in the second round. Having spent some time around pigs, she worked hard to gain a deeper understand of the animals and shelters, and eventually began restructuring her piggery to make it more secure and stable for the piglets.

Now, Ketty is successfully raising her piglets to a much higher standard. The piglets are growing healthy and strong in their improved homes. Ketty has shown remarkable resolve, determination, and patience, and through TRP’s life skills and piggery training, she has developed even more confidence and take on challenges in extraordinarily difficult times. We are immensely proud of her, and cannot wait to see what she’ll take on next.

Born in Captivity

28 Jan

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As we enter a new year at The Recreation Project (TRP), we are reaching out to develop new partners and reconnecting with those who have worked with us in the past. Last week, we had the privilege of working hand-in-hand with Empowering Kids in Uganda (EKU), an organization that works closely with children born in captivity during the conflict here in the North. They focus on providing education, developing a stable home life, and finding employment opportunities for the youths with whom they work.

EKU and TRP have been strong partners for several years. As is tradition, the youths came to TRP for two days and two nights, during which we worked with them on leadership development and relationship building. The benefit of a multi-day program is remarkable. We at TRP are given the chance to develop strong bonds with these youths, creating a very powerful and impactful program. Many of the participants have worked with us in past years and are familiar with our work and how we go about teaching conflict resolution and critical thinking.

Our ability to witness the growth and development of these youths over the years is encouraging and comforting for us as well. Though the stories of some of these individuals may initially inspire sadness or frustration, seeing them grow into themselves and embrace life is an incredible reminder of why we are here at TRP. Hearing them discuss the best way to complete the Impossible Wall or listening to them cheer on their friends as they prepare to take the Leap of Faith, we are reminded of the value of teaching support, listening, and respect to all those that come through our facility.

Our partnership with EKU is a strong and important one. It is a privilege to work with organizations that are committed to changing lives. We hope that students learn as much from their experiences here as we learn from them.

NOTE: No pictures or names are included in order to protect the anonymity of the students and their caretakers.

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.