Post Author: Kevin

Today our team is saying goodbye to 2013 in America a few hours earlier than most. We will be flying out of Logan Airport at 6:45 PM and we won’t be back until 2014. It seems fitting for me to be returning to the place where I rang in 2013 to celebrate 2014’s arrival.

Last year our team had landed in Kampala at 11:30 PM December 31st and we were greeted with fireworks left and right, people dancing and yelling in the streets and a general chaos that was a little overwhelming but mostly amazing. This year we will be at cruising altitude above the Atlantic when 2014 rolls in.

The departure of one year and the arrival of the New Year is cause for reflection on yourself, how you’ve grown and where you want to be in the New Year. While I would have loved the opportunity to be with my friends and family to ring in the New Year, for me, there is no better way to reflect and celebrate than to return to Shilongo, Uganda. I feel like this year has been a year of tremendous growth for me, and it all started in Shilongo. My experience in Shilongo left me with many new friends and a new passion for our project and for development work in general. Creating this connection with the community has inspired me as a leader of our project and has forced my personal development. Inspired by a both a passion for our project and a fear of failing the community and Tufts students in our group, I have worked all year developing better organizational and leadership skills. Combine this drive with working my first 9-5 job and renting my first apartment and you have a transformative year.

I know I am not alone in being so impacted by EWB. Our trip is the culmination of a year of work by our whole chapter. Together we have researched, engineered, planned, raised funds and accomplished so much. While only five students from our group are departing on what is sure to be an awesome adventure, everyone who put effort into making this trip a reality has learned and grown through working on the project.

I think this is truly the value our project provides to our members and the community we work with. Every year we graduate members who have had life changing experiences with EWB and every year we need to send younger members to follow in their footsteps. Working on the project in the US builds a skillset and a knowledge base and an awareness that most students would have never been exposed to otherwise. Additionally, actually going to Uganda provides the travel team members with an extraordinary opportunity to make an impact on the community we work with and on themselves. I have had the good fortune of being able to travel twice and it’s had a tremendous impact on my life plans and worldview.

Hopefully our future blog posts will further detail the awesome experiences that I have only written about in generalities in this post. For logistical simplicity all of the blog posts will be published from my account but all of our travel team will be contributing to this blog. We will not have internet access except when we travel to town to buy groceries and supplies. So you can expect posts every 3 days or so hopefully.

I hope you all have a happy New Years Eve wherever and however you celebrate.