I first stumbled across this incredible program doing an assignment about malaria for my undergraduate degree, and quickly was drawn in by everything it stood for. An organization dedicated to sharing culture, embracing the uncomfortable, helping communities without damaging, and doing away with what I loved hearing Leslie call “Poverty Porn”. Now, between me finding this organization, and working out going, a little thing called Covid 19 hit and there really was no in and out. Leslie kept in contact with me for the 2 years that I was interested, and when boarders opened up and things felt safe for travel, she was so supportive in helping me make sure I was going to be able to come over safely with all the precautions I would need so that I wouldn’t bring any illness with me. This was a first for both of us, me, a 24 year old, traveling by herself for the first time, to the other side of the globe no less, and for Leslie, I was her first volunteer to come after borders opened up with covid. Leslie checked in with me all throughout my flight, arranged a ride for me to her home from the airport, and welcomed me into her home with a hot meal, a big hug, and a very much needed bed. I always think about sitting at her table, laughing and sharing food with her and Esther’s kids, and going through what to expect for the next 11 days I was there, and what I would be doing in the different districts. The next morning, things quickly changed when I got a notice from the Ugandan Government that my Covid test came back positive. I had taken every precaution before coming, with every vaccination, booster, and even 5 negative tests before flying. It was scary, confusing, and I was wracked with guilt- I came here to put my Public Health degree to use and instead I’m this plague rat who traveled during a pandemic and brought it with me. Leslie, while also panicked for her family, helped me stay calm, and figure out what to do. She worked with her friend (and soon to be mine as well) Jonathan to find me a home to quarantine in, and kept checking in on me every single day that I needed to stay quarantined. Jonathan was an incredibly kind man to a confused & so painfully American stranger, coming to check on me every day to make sure I took walks and got to talk to someone. Leslie and Jonathan helped show me the beauty of Entebbe (masked & socially distant) and the incredible heart and hospitality of Ugandan people. Once I tested negative, Jonathan took me out into the city with his wife & kids, and I got to see, taste, and experience more of Uganda. Leslie talked me through (and laughed ) my first boda boda experience, and although it’s been a little over a year since I went (Jan 2022), this was truly the experience of a lifetime that I will never, ever forget. 38 hours of travel time, lost luggage, Covid Positive, across the globe, and I never once felt alone. I am hoping to go back again, hopefully for a few months at a time and not bring a virus with me. I learned so much, and this truly was an experience I will never forget. Plus, I did not realize how badly I would crave a cold cup of mango juice, cassava & rice. This is an incredibly long review, but a quick version if you’re debating this volunteer experience: do it. You’ll be so supported, cherished, and have an experience unlike any other.