I am often asked, “What’s your favorite part of the work you do for Uganda Shoe Trees?” For a number of years, it was quite difficult for me to answer because I really and truly love everything that I do with UST. I enjoy immensely the time I get to spend with the students at their school. I enjoy hearing the stories of how the work of Uganda Shoe Trees is changing their lives for the better. I enjoy tracking the improvement in their academic performance as a result of the support they are receiving from us. But when push comes to shove and I am pinned down for a specific answer to the question, my favorite part of the work I do in Uganda is the deep relationships I’ve been privileged to develop with the entrepreneurial educators who have founded our partner schools.

One such entrepreneurial educator is Owori Frederick of New Generation Junior School in Wobulenzi. I met Frederick on a hot and dusty October afternoon in 2018 under the lone tree on his campus large enough to provide shade and a brief respite from the blazing sun. Although members of our team on the ground in Uganda had notified him of our intent to visit, he had no idea who we were, what we do, and why we were taking and interest in his small school so our interaction was guarded at the beginning. Before long, Frederick was smiling big as day and giddy with excitement about a potential partnership with Uganda Shoe Trees.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon walking through the New Generation campus and talking about the challenges he faced in founding and maintaining this small school. Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we have provided school shoes for each of his students, planted over 200 fruit trees to supplement student lunches, and dug a well that will soon be producing fresh water for the campus. I visit Frederick each and every time I am in Wobulenzi and he has been a welcomed guest at our Kikoza Field Office.