Rhys Watkins

I came to Uganda in the summer of 2010 with Leeds University’s annual Uganda Project. I knew very little about this country other than the name ‘Idi Amin’ and I was full of excitement to find what else this place had to offer. In Soft Power Education I found a means to explore and find adventure; to get under the surface of Uganda’s vast culture, landscape and people. The opportunity to live, work and interact with a rural community largely isolated from western technologies and culture, was refreshing, eye opening and educational. Seeing the fruits of our fundraising materialise into two school blocks was an amazing feeling and getting our hands dirty in the process was highly rewarding – and very sweaty!

The work Soft Power Education staff and volunteers do both in Jinja and Murchison is ever expanding and constantly moving forward, finding new avenues to explore, new ways in which to make even the smallest difference; so when I was asked if I would like to stay, there was only ever going to be one answer.

YES! This was my opportunity to throw myself into an alien environment and see if I could not only survive it, but learn from it. I worked for six months as an intern coordinating the People & Parks Project based around Murchison Falls NP, spending time in a variety of rural communities, driving through stunning landscapes and meeting and working with some amazing people; and relishing every second!

I have only just scratched the surface of this awe-inspiring country but the charm, variety and beauty of Uganda entice me everyday – to the point I don’t ever want to leave. My one piece of advice would be; book that plane ticket and get yourselves out here! Bring your enthusiasm - and excitement, adventure, fun and reward will fall at your feet in Uganda and if you have time to give something back then that will be greeted with open arms by the people…

Rhys became our Volunteer Coordinator in Jinja for almost 2 years. He moved on from this role in 2011 but is still living and working in Uganda!