Dirk Leysen

Belgian volunteer for Soft Power in October 2003


In October 2003 I passed Jinja on the way back from seeing the gorillas in Rwanda. I volunteered for one day with Soft Power Education (painting at Budondo PS). When I got home in December of that year I decided to return to volunteer for 6 weeks…. but I ended up staying almost 5 months! Meanwhile I went to Belgium twice, but every time I returned after a couple of weeks. I have spent 12 months here since January 2004. At the end of last year I bought a plot at the bank of the Nile and at this moment I am building my house there with a great view on the river… so, you never know, I might end up here….

The beauty of Soft Power is that it’s a “small scale” organisation. Sometimes it needs some improvisation to keep it running. But this also means that all the money is going where it should go. The whole idea to run the projects with overland volunteers who pay to do some work, is quite unique.

I came in touch with a lot of nice people, meaning people with a warm heart, coming to Soft Power as long term volunteers….Chris and Georgie, Graham, Jacky, Andy, Madame Sinseea, Sheila and Una, Sherrie, Emilie, Sarah, Louise, Dan and Laura, Georgie and Posy and many many more… sorry Paul for forgetting you… I wonder why only a few boys come to stay and to help for a while.

I also made a lot of local friends, mainly in the schools where we are working.

Anyway, thank you all, especially Hannah, for giving me the opportunity to have a great time in this beautiful country.

Dirk has now been in Uganda for the last 4 years or so, has completed his house on the banks of the Nile and is our Operations Manager!