After 4 years of nearly plans and willingness I finally made the trip to visit our projects in Uganda and Kenya.
I realised that this journey began in a strange way and a totally different place than you might imagine.
Having met Patrick Hato on the golden beaches of Rio de Janeiro at the Homeless World Cup in 2010.
We continued our relationship online and almost by accident and without the proper amount of thought we began Streets Revolution Kenya.
It seems that the best things in life are not always the ones we plan.
We have supported both these projects from afar and with plenty of ups and downs, but we all agreed that to really move forward that we needed to go to see the challenges and plan on the ground.
It was my first visit to not only these countries, but to the continent of Africa.
Being a lone traveller has its challenges and being the lone Mazoko( white man) added to the adventure.
Thankfully my hosts not only made me feel welcome by helped me to acclimatise quickly.
Everywhere I went I was greeted with warmth and smiles. The land was beautiful and so were the people.
Words cannot always describe the overload of your senses. The sights sounds and smells attack all your senses.
From my start in Iganga to Nairobi and back again I witnessed a group of people who despite the many issues and problems with health, opportunities and general poverty. Had it seemed found a way to not only survive, but to find HOPE in some extreme circumstances.
In Iganga the boys and girls make do sometimes with very little and I was impressed with the resourcefulness.
Mukasa ( our national director) in Uganda, has had to learn to be creative and still with passion encourage others to join. The needs are many and the changes can be huge.
The feeling I had on a personal note when I came to the field where 20-30 children were in full flow, is and was, very difficult to articulate. I have spoken on the phone, sent emails and talked about our projects to anyone that will listen.
Yet the moment I came across the reality I was overcome with emotion. Such pride and joy cannot so far be easily described.
We educated each other, Mukasa , Ann and Patrick about the culture and situation in their countries and in return I passed on my thoughts and ideas on how they could grow and develop a programme that would reach into the heart of the community.
The contrast was huge and yet the similarities between our projects was clear, how the people face challenges may be different sometimes, yet the issues and problems at there core are the same.
During my time we discussed many ideas and it’s not always easy to draw any concrete conclusions.
One thing I am even clearer on now I have had time to reflect is how joining together is the only way forward
I would implore all of you that followed my journey seen the photos and videos and had a glimpse of the potential that I saw to GIVE.
I have seen first hand how a little really does go a long way. Just that small amount of £1 or $1 or €1 can have an impact on the community a lifetime.
Whether you like football or not the possibilities are unlimited and together we can CHANGE their lives.
I promised to work twice as hard this year to provide them with Kit, Equipment and Resources. I hope you can #jointherevolurion and GIVE they don’t want a hand out, they just want a hand up.
To Patrick, Ann and Mukasa to the volunteers in Uganda and Kenya who give their time selflessly. To the boys, girls and men and women I met. I thank you for opening my eyes and welcoming me into your hearts.
I will be back soon.
Jon Regler (CEO)