Posts Tagged ‘uganda’

Sole Hope Jinja, Uganda

Uncategorized 3 . 16 . 15


The long awaited Sole Hope video from our travels this Fall to Uganda is finally completed. It is a bittersweet moment.  I am thrilled to share Uganda and Sole Hope through our eyes, but sad that this amazing experience is over. Nick, myself, and a team of advocates traveled across the world to the red dirt roads of Jinja with minimal video equipment, deep into the heart of the villages, where extreme poverty exists. Watching this video brings back so many good memories of the beautiful people we met in Uganda, but it is a constant reminder of the pain and poverty of those who live there and the struggle to survive everyday. The video is raw, you will see graphic images of jigger removal. We felt this footage was important as it shows what is actually happening everyday at Sole Hope. I hope that you watch this video and not only see how Sole Hope is improving the lives of those affected by jiggers, but see how fortunate and blessed you are to live in the US.

Special thanks to the Sole Hope team for allowing us into their homes and lives for a couple of weeks, and special thanks to NEEDTOBREATHE for donating their song “Brother.”My experience can be summed up in one quote. I found this quote after returning, but it expresses my feelings and outlook for the future “No one ever became poor by giving” -Anne Frank

God Bless Uganda and our friends at Sole Hope. We miss you!!

A Day on the Nile River

Uncategorized 3 . 11 . 15

I needed to escape back to beautiful Uganda today and what a better way to do that then posting some of our photos from our day at the Nile River and Lake Victoria. I photographed most of these hanging out of a boat, but I am happy to have these memories. Life is simple here, fisherman cast their nets to catch silverfish and farmers bring their cattle down to the river for a drink every couple of hours. Silverfish is popular snack, I tried one but it took several hours to get the taste out of my mouth.

That day we floated to the mouth of the Nile, and also saw a newlywed couple there waiting for a blessing. We were told it is common practice and good luck  for the bride and the groom to go to the river for a blessing after marriage. I loved all the colorful wooden boats along side the river. We also saw various wildlife including birds, lizards, and snakes. Contrary to what you may think, the Nile has beautiful dark blue water and the area we visited was very clean. Further down the river has rapids where you can raft. There was discussion about doing this, but we decided to pass, there are crocodiles, hippos, and piranhas that live in these waters!

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This is the mouth of the Nile. Note the little blue sign in the photo below, the spring is located here.

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Home BitterSweet Home

Editorial Shoots, Uncategorized 9 . 30 . 14

As many of you may have seen from my social media posts, Nick and I returned home last week from the adventure of a lifetime working with Sole Hope in Uganda, Africa. Many have asked when I am going to share pictures and stories. This will be the first post of many from our trip, we have hundreds of photos to go through! We will also be putting together a video in the next couple of months that will showcase Sole Hope and our experience. Africa was one of those places I always thought would be neat to visit, but would never want to return. As I sit here still a bit lagged, I can happily say I would jump the next flight back if I could. I know most people won’t take a trip to Africa in their lifetime, but it is  beautiful and is filled with beautiful people. Life is slower there, it was amazing to be shut off from the world for a couple weeks. We spent our evenings at the dinner table telling stories, laughing with friends, and learning new languages. My perspective on life has also changed; there are no “first world problems”. Our issues and stresses pale in comparison to what these people face everyday. The first couple of days in Africa were an adjustment, I have never even been camping. To say that I have led a pretty comfortable life is an understatement. Learning to use “squatting toilets” (ask me about this, I have a funny story), taking cold showers, adjusting to no air conditioning, brushing our teeth with bottled water, and watching large lizards crawl around our room at night were all things that made me uncomfortable at first. The thing is, living in a first world country we don’t understand uncomfortable.

Like most of you, I have seen poverty locally and in the US.  What I saw in Africa was different than poverty, it was much worse, I now know the difference. If you have been following me on Facebook or Instagram while I was away it may have looked like all smiles and happy times. It wasn’t, I can’t tell you how much my heart hurt everyday watching adults and children struggle to survive and provide the most basic necessities we take for granted. In the midst of that pain, I have never met such grateful, kind, and giving people. Even if they have nothing they try to give back in anyway they can. I have learned so much from this culture and I am completely humbled by their generosity and respect.

The day that the harsh reality hit me was at our first clinic in a local village school. This school had around 500 kids and only a few teachers. Most children don’t learn to read or write by the time they leave school as some classes have 150 students to 1 teacher. I watched hundreds of kids line up in hopes to end their pain and receive a pair of shoes. This would be the first pair of shoes most have ever had. They are excited, but also very nervous. Sole Hope comes in to clean their feet, remove jiggers, and give children shoes to prevent further infestation.

I have had alot of people ask what a jigger is and what it does to a human body. I have described it like a chigger or a flea, but it does not come out of the body on its own. The jigger lays eggs that multiply and cause infections and other illnesses. A jigger is severely painful as it kills tissue and causes swelling. They are very common in the feet since they live in the ground, however, many children also have jiggers in their hands which are a much more sensitive area. I saw several cases where the jigger entered the finger tip and laid eggs under the finger nail. In this situation much of the tissue has to be cut away to remove all the eggs. Most of the time, children have dozens in their bodies some have hundreds. It is painful to have them removed, but once they are gone, the kids start to feel better quickly. We photographed and filmed dozens of staff and volunteers sit in the hot sun and remove jiggers for hours. There were many times I had to walk away and re-group as the sobbing and tears from the children in pain broke my heart. Pain medication doesn’t exist in third world countries.The other reality was when the school took a break for lunch. Instead of going home for lunch a couple hundred children huddled around our clinic. It was in that instant I realized that these children had no food to eat for lunch. Most of them probably didn’t have breakfast.

I mostly share happy images on my blog, but I wanted to show you what we experienced in Uganda and the reality of what some deal with everyday.We should be thankful of all our blessings, even the little ones like shoes on our feet and clothing on our backs. Most of us couldn’t bear the pain of walking if we had jiggers. These children walk to school everyday and still find the joy to run and play with friends despite their pain. The happy ending comes when all removal is finished and the child can finally heal. I am happy to be home, but it is bittersweet, as all I can think about are friends I met through Sole Hope and the people I left behind in Uganda. It’s true, this country and its people have stolen a piece of my heart. Know that I am thinking and praying for you all. I look forward to the day I can put my feet back in the red dirt and hug everyone. XOXOXO

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Hunter, our youngest advocate, washing feet before removal. He is one awesome kid!

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So happy I met and became friends with Jess and Mikey; they are incredible people!

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This little guy had almost 100 jiggers in his body. They worked on him for almost 4 hours.

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After removal it is all smiles! She loved her new shoes!

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2014 Adventure – Africa Or Bust

Uncategorized 9 . 9 . 14

We are officially at the eve of embarking on a large and exciting trip; Nick and I head out for Africa tomorrow! We are going to Jinja, Uganda to work with a charity called Sole Hope.   Sole Hope offers hope, healthier lives, and freedom from foot related diseases through education, jobs, and medical relief. This amazing opportunity came up earlier this year when talking with a friend who also runs the state side operations for the charity. We are going to be working on a couple of video marketing projects as well as capturing photos.  We are traveling with a team that will hold medic days in the villages to remove jiggers and provide shoes for children.  We are grateful for the friendships and new relationships we will be making, and excited to step into life and soak up a new culture.

On our way back, we are going to make a little pit stop in Eurpoe to relax and hopefully catch up with one of my childhood friends.  I will return to the office September 25th; thank you for being patient as I may be slower at responding to emails and phone calls. As long as we have electricity, I should be able to connect to the internet. The best way to contact me over the course of the next two weeks will be by email:

The best way to follow our adventure will be my Instagram and Facebook account. Thanks for everyone who is helping out with our home and business while we are away; we love you! We also appreciate all the prayers and well wishes as we travel to the other side of the world. Can’t wait to share our story!

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Sole Hope Internship

Uncategorized 1 . 31 . 14

I was chatting with a friend from high school this morning, Ashley, and she told me about this awesome opportunity for a creative person. Ashley is the Chief Ambassador & Shoe Party Specialist for an organization called Sole Hope.  I have heard about this organization through a couple friends on social  media, but didn’t realize everything that they did. I feel so inspired to share this with you. To learn a little bit about their company read below or visit their website here. They are looking to bring on a photography or video intern for 3-6 months in Uganda, Africa. If I didn’t have the business to run, I would drop everything I was doing and take advantage of this awesome opportunity! I thought this would be perfect for someone right of school looking to build their portfolio. What amazing images and video you would have to share from this experience.

“Sole Hope started to provide closed toe shoes to African children; this is still our heart’s desire. But as we got to know the wonderful Ugandan and Zambian people, we realized we could do more. And when we returned to the U.S. after our initial working trip to Africa, we realized we could help adults across the world—that’s why we also serve our shoemakers. But to really make the whole thing work, we need shoe buyers, not just in Africa, but everywhere. And so we’re serving buyers too. We think everyone should have the chance to wear the really cool shoes and give back at the same time.”

The contact information for Sole Hope is at the bottom of this image. Feel free to share this opportunity with other creatives!


fine art wedding and destination photographer based in central missouri serving jefferson city, columbia, st. louis, kansas city, springfield, and chicago.

available for travel worldwide