2024 Uganda Team

Susan O'Rourke

Kevin Spencer

Aimee Zellers

Kathy Humphrey

Brian Leydon

Carmel Jennings

MiIsha Reid

Sarah Shotland

Desiree Bocian 

Olivia Brenkacs

Natalie Cebulski

​Isha Mada

Longxiang Pan

Rebekah Thayer

June 12, 2024

One week until our departure! We have an awesome team of 14 professionals and students this year and a full itinerary of service and adventure. 

Most of our team have secured their visas for entry to Uganda and we have been finishing up our packing of donations. Each team member can check two suitcases so one with our clothes and another filled with donations.

SO many people have helped us to reach this point! We are really blessed to have such fabulous support and appreciate the effort of so many who have made arrangements to get these donations to us. For instance, we have numerous gowns to support small businesses for women who are creating bridal rental stores. We've received a ton of school supplies which will enhance student learning and fill baskets for the winners of the Watatos Got Talent! competition.

We received braille learning materials from Baton Rouge that include math problems and reading materials. These will be delivered to the St. Francis School for the Blind. An amazing young leader living in Long Island gathered a group of high school students to make first aid packets for distribution in schools.

Last year we were amazed when the children who received walkers took off and during our visit in March we heard that Ben, who received  a walker was now enrolled in school since he was able to ambulate independently. These are the kinds of results that motivate us to return each year. We were very excited to receive another child's walker to take and after a bit of problem solving Aimee and Sean figured out how to get it into a suitcase. We know that this adaptive equipment will find a new owner and change their view of their world. We received other adaptive devices like braces and medical supplies that we'll give to the doctor and nurse who are helping us plan the Oukut Clinic. 

The Kumi Water Project is finally fully funded thanks to so many financial donations. We are excited to share what this means for this sub-Saharan community that is working to find solutions to help them combat climate change. Our students have researched water issues in Uganda and provided us with ideas for irrigation systems. We'll be drilling the wells during the week of June 24. 

We have collected a ton of glasses for distribution. Throughout the year I would find bags of glasses on my office door and friends gave me bags of glasses collected and Vision Works provided us with hundreds of glasses. It's really valuable to have a wide selection of glasses so that we can find the perfect match!

Check back here for updates on our travels. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for photos - it's difficult to upload photos when we're in Uganda.


June 18, 2024 - Pittsburgh

It has been busy week packing donations, sending funds for the well in Kumi, and the Watatos Got Talent event thanks to generous donors and Beers for the Bush - Last Call event as well as grants from the Geibel Institute and the Fidas fund at Carlow University.

We received a ton of first aid packs from Kits that Kare that we'll distribute in the villages, Braille materials from Baton Rouge for St. Francis School for the Blind (thanks Alice, Cheryl and Saundra!), gowns from several people (thanks Becky, Erica, Alyssa and Gabriela!) and Exquisite Bride (thanks Jeannie!) for 2 small women-owned businesses, glasses collected in the last year from so many people and a ton from World Vision for our eyeglass clinics, school materials, medical supplies and funds from St. Luke's Lutheran Church for the schools and health clinics, medicine from Deb Mitchum (who knows first hand how much these are needed), and building materials from Home Depot to build desks for SMILE school in Opucet. We know how much all of these items can improve the lives of vulnerable populations so we decided to take extra suitcases. It will be a challenge to find ways to fit everything into our vans for sure! Thanks to everyone who contributed! 

June 20, 2024 - Detroit

Our recon team met at the Pittsburgh airport for our flight to Detroit, but there was a requirement to have the credit card and the owner present before we could check in. This was strange because we have never had to do that before. Luckily, Aimee was able to race out to the airport and show the card. Our team just made our flight due to this delay and we see that our bags made it too. So, all good!

In a couple hours we'll catch a flight to Amsterdam and then one to Entebbe with a brief stop in Rwanda. Everyone is in good spirits and ready for this adventure!


Improving lives of vulnerable children.