Showing posts from November, 2008

LeArNing about being a social entrepreneur

The first time I ever heard the term social entrepreneur was just a few days before my interviews to become an Ashoka Fellow in August 2001.

At that point, I'd been pouring my soul into Life in Africa for nearly 3 years, and everything Ashoka stands for spoke to the very marrow of my being. It was an absolute thrill for me to learn that there were others around the world like me, driven by an inexplicable passion to do whatever they saw they could to develop new system changing ideas. I knew clearly in those days that the possibilities for using the Internet for development I was seeing from my side of the world could change whole global development aid system. I wanted to help shape that new people to people system, and it was exciting to learn from Ashoka that I was not alone in having the audacity to think that big.

But by the time I was actually offered the Ashoka Fellowship - 4 months after the interviews - my immediate response was to turn it down. Sept 11 had happened, compl…

crY at goodbye

There is the life in Africa that was.

There is the life in Africa that never was.

There is the Life in Africa that will continue to be.

And then there is me.

I close my eyes and try to embrace the waves of change that crash over me.

Around me.

Behind me.

Without me doing anything at all.

When I see the wave coming that I think might take me closer to shore,

I grab it and hang onto it.

The turbulence propels me,

and I am lifted to a new place... beyond it.

Now I can watch, and cheer my fellow students on.

Ours is not goodbye, after all

but hello

from a new point of view.

My work here is almost done.

Life in Africa continues

and so will my own life,

richer for all I will cry for when I leave


Putting events of the past couple of weeks into words - or putting anything into words while these things have been happening - is proving itself to be an emotional challenge that I feel myself avoiding. There is the part of me that longs to commit the process of change-making to words; there is the …

DrAMa: child soldiers and the path to peace

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions...

My sister in law is an artist who creates and sells wonderfully unique garden stepping stones, like the one in the picture above. The first time I saw them (and fell in love with them!) the Life in Africa community in Kampala had just recently started doing some work with war-affected children in Northern Uganda. We'd had some great experiences with art-therapy workshops making peacetiles (another collage concept) so I immediately started dreaming of how we might also make stepping stones with those kids.

Over the course of two decades, the Lord's Resistance Army abducted many thousands of Northern Ugandan children, who they brainwashed through extreme violence to serve as soldiers in their brutal rebel army. At the time I was thinking about the stepping stones (circa 2005), there were still thousands of child soldiers "in the bush" with the LRA, but peace talks seemed likely to happen soon. A local radio st…

Time out for another ThAnK YoU!

I've been learning a lot over the past month from participating in a blogging community called Entrecard. I've seen blogs of all kinds there, and bloggers of all kinds have been visiting this blog as well.

Here's a quick thank you to the Entrecard members who've visited this pArtY the most over the past month.

LaUgH: my two husbands

I moved to Africa and became a polygamous woman.

Well, no not really, but kind of... it's rather complicated!

I have to say, I have the best ex-husband one could possibly hope for. Not that I ever hoped to have an ex-husband, mind you, but it is what it is and I am very grateful that we're able to get along so well now. We've separated twice, both times for several years. He left Uganda about 1.5 years after we separated for the second time, right around the time I met N.

N is a wonderful Ugandan man with years of experience living abroad, who the kids and I are all crazy about.It was pretty much love at first sight for all of us. He won't be leaving Uganda with us right away, but does plan to catch up with us when we hopefully move on from Europe to Asia in a couple of years. N and I currently live together in what Ugandans would call a common law marriage. In Ugandan culture it's normal that I refer to him conversationally as my husband and he refers to me as his…

iGive 4 LifeInAfrica: a chALLEnGe to fellow bloggers

The iGive 4 LiA Challenge is over - congrats to the winners!

BLOGGERS: You can still support Life in Africa by placing an iGive badge on your site. If you do, we'll reciprocate with your badge on the front page of through mid-February 2009.

Here's the badge:

Please link it to:

When you've added the iGive badge, let me know where to find it in a comment to this post, and I'll arrange for your badge to get on the front page of

Many, many thanks!


If you have a blog, this christinaswwworld pArtY chALLEnGe is for you! Yes, there will be prizes. AND it's for a great cause. Read on to see what you need to do to participate, make an impact, and win!

The holidays are coming soon, and even if we're all tightening belts this year, chances are there's a few gifts you and your readers are going to need to buy, and you'll probably be buying some of the…