Running for a Reason: UWP 5K

13 April 2012

Ugandan Water Project 5KI don’t like running. Going for a run means getting up, going outside and running in a circle to get back to where I was. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Some people find pleasure in running, but I don’t. I know this sounds funny coming from a soccer player, but it really isn’t. When I’m on the pitch, I’m running for a reason. My running has purpose.

That’s why I’ve been running lately. I found a pretty good purpose to getting out and running, water. On Saturday, April 21, I’m going to be running in the Ugandan Water Project 5K to raise money to bring clean water to more people in Uganda. UWP places rainwater collection tanks in communities to provide a safe, clean source of water.

Of course, I want to raise as much as I can for the cause, and I could use your support. If you want to join me in bringing clean water to more people in Uganda, checks can be made out to Ugandan Water Project or sponsor me online. Just put my name in the donation comments.

Contact me for any questions or my address. Thanks for joining the world changers team.


Tipping the Scale: Coffee for Water

29 October 2010

In September I was introduced to Three Avacados Coffee through my friend James at Ugandan Water Project. Knowing my love for Uganda and raving lunatic coffee fanaticism, he thought I’d love Three Avocados. He was right. Order three bags right away, and I love the coffee. But, even more, I love what Three Avocados is doing for clean water in the UG.

Joe Koenig, the man behind Three Avacados, travelled to Uganda last January and was so struck by the people he met and the need for clean water that he decided to do something to help. Rather than just give money, Joe had a truly innovative idea that would help bring clean water and support sustainability in Uganda. He started a coffee company.

The idea is pretty simple. Three Avocados buys coffee grown at 6,200 feet on the slopes of Mt. Elgon in eastern Uganda. They sell it online at and in some regional grocery markets. Since they pay a fair price, they’re are helping to encourage and sustain local Ugandan agriculture. Plus the Uganda Bugisu is seriously good coffee.

“Ok, that sounds great, but what about the clean water thing? Where does that come in?” you ask.

I’m getting to that part. The twist here is that Three Avocados is a non-profit coffee company. “Wait, what? A coffee company that’s designed NOT to make money? What’s the point in that?” Well, it’s not that they don’t make money. It’s just that they send 100% of the profits back to Uganda to provide clean water. It’s genius! They aren’t just sending money from Uncle America! The money comes back to Uganda as the result of a product of Uganda.

Business is growing. They just got an order for 300 bags of coffee. Wow! And the vision is to expand beyond Uganda. People in other coffee growing countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Hondurus and Peru need clean water too. To help them expand the project and their reach, Three Avocados has partnered with to fund new equipment and an advertising budget.

The idea behind Tipping Bucket is to allow individuals to help fund worthy endeavors by giving as little as a dollar to the cause. I love the whole crowd sourcing concept. You can head over to Tipping Bucket to read more about the Three Avocados project and support what they are doing.

And since you’re probably wondering what Three Avocados has to do with coffee or Uganda, head over to to read the story. And while you’re there, buy some coffee. You won’t be sorry you did, and helping never tasted so good.

You can follow Three Avocados on Twitter at

Update from Uganda

14 February 2010

It’s late Sunday night here. We’ve traveled all over Uganda and met some amazing people. Words and pictures won’t be able to really capture things, but I’ll do my best after I get home.

The places I’ve been able to leave soccer balls have been truly thankful. In Mityana, a small village deep into the bush, I met Ivan, a young man who has assembled the young kids into a team and is teaching them the game. He saw the ball before I’d pumped it up and said, “That is a football.” It was a great thing.

In one village even deeper into the bush, a man gave us a goat because he was so thankful for the tank his village received and because we’d traveled so far to visit them. This was really a big deal. While he owns land and has about 100 cattle and 50 goats, giving someone a goat is a great honor. We were humbled by that realization.

I’ve talked with beth and the kids twice since we’ve been in Uganda. I was really glad to talk with them for Valentine’s Day.

Tomorrow we’ll be spending the day in Kivulu slum, and we’ve been challenged to a football match. Looking forward to it. I have to sign off. James and I are hanging out with Jess who works in Kivulu, but I think it’s time for bed.

Thanks for your support and prayers. You are changing the world.

On to Uganda

6 February 2010

I’m heading to Uganda tomorrow, and I want to say thanks to everyone who has supported me thus far. Now the hard part begins. I really need your prayers more than ever, both for me and for my family. Thank you for standing with us.

I won’t have much internet access. James tells me I’ll need a Twitter Patch to get me though. I plan to write 140 character messages on post-its and toss them to the wind. Every so often I’ll just hand one to James and ask him to retweet it. It’s the closest I expect to get to the real thing.

I hope to talk with Beth at least once, and I’ll have her post an update here or at the Facebook group if I can. As I told my dad, if you don’t hear anything about me for two weeks, I’m all right. If you do hear something, it’s fifty/fifty I’m in trouble.

Seriously, I am very grateful for the all of the people who have contributed to my trip and offered encouragement and support. I wouldn’t be doing this with out you. We are changing the world one water tank at a time. Grace and peace for the journey.

Quick update

22 January 2010

A downpour fills a 10,000 gallon tank

10,000 gallon tank in the rain

Greetings, fellow travelers. I just wanted to post a quick update. I’ll post something more substantial soon. Good news is that our friend Whitney, who is studying in Australia, will be in Uganda until February 21, so I should get a chance to connect with her while I’m there. It’ll be nice to “run into” some one from home.

I got my shots yesterday. My arms are sore from five different injections, but I haven’t had any of the potential side effects I was warned about. Between the vaccines and the anti-malarial drugs we’re talking $600. Hopefully my insurance will cover all or most of the cost. Now I need to find the time to do some trip shopping in the next two weeks.

The really big news to share is that we’ve surpassed my support goal. I’m totally floored by that. When I decided to go I was most concerned about the funding. We knew we couldn’t afford it ourselves, but in about a month and a half we raised $4000. There were a few large donations, but most of it was small donations from a wide range of people. Thank you.

A Ugandan boy fills a jug with clean water

This is why

If you meant to send a donation but haven’t yet, you’re not too late. You can still send donations to Ugandan Water Project at Ugandan Water Project, 1748 Rochester St, Lima, NY 14485. Donations will be used for special projects while we’re in Uganda and to help any team members who are short on their support.

You can also make donations to me directly by clicking the “Donate” button on the support page or in the column to the right. This money will go towards my extra expenses and supplies I need for the trip.

If you’d like to donate a soccer ball, I’m looking for either new or good condition size 5 soccer balls. Contact me if you want to donate a ball or two or ten. You can also send me a donation online or give it to me in person. Just note that it’s for soccer balls.

Matthew Paul Turner has been in Uganda this week with World Vision, and he’s posted some great reflections and video from his trip. You should read his Uganda Week posts.

As I said, I’ll post a more detailed update in the next few days. Thank you for your support and prayers. The next two weeks are crucial. There’s a lot to do to get ready and the stress and pressure will be high. If you pray, I’d appreciate if you’d remember me, my family and the team.

We’re changing the world people.

Uganda Week

7 January 2010

You probably already realize that Matthew Paul Turner is one of my favorite authors. I read his blog and follow him on Twitter as well, which can be a lot of fun. He likes to live tweet televised awards shows, and his appreciation for Carrie Underwood is unrivaled (and easily forgiven). Matthew is witty, challenging, wry, snarky, often edging on inappropriate but with good intentions and just laugh out loud funny.

Matthew is going to Uganda with World Vision, and he’ll be blogging the trip. Follow Uganda Week You can follow him during Uganda Week starting January 17.

Since I’m going to Uganda in a month, I’m really looking forward to following his trip, reading his thoughts and seeing how he handles being away from his wife and young son for a couple weeks. I always appreciate his insights on life and culture, so I’m thrilled at the chance to “see” Uganda through his eyes.

Matthew is part of the Ugandan convergence I discovered when I first announced I was going. I found so many people through my extended network of friends and family who have been to Uganda or are going to Uganda soon. I took it as confirmation that I made the right decision to go there now.

I highly recommend following Matthew’s journey during Uganda Week at his blog beginning January 17. You can help spread the word by posting a link to his blog on your Facebook page, adding a Uganda Week button to your blog or tweeting or retweeting links to the posts using the #UgandaWeek and #WorldVision hash tags.

Whatever you do, follow Uganda Week starting January 17.

Going to Uganda 2010

5 January 2010

Happy new year. I’m hitting the ground running (for my life) with lots to do at home, at work and for the trip. Thought I’d post a quick update on the trip.

So my overall goal is to raise $4000, and I’m 75% of the way there, thanks in large part to many of you. I am very grateful for your support. I’ve had everything from large donations to a nickel dropped in my donation bucket. Cool, huh?!

If you have been planning to support me financially, you still can. Checks made out to Ugandan Water Project can be given to me directly or sent to Ugandan Water Project, 1748 Rochester St, Lima, NY 14485. You can also donate online. It’s easy and secure. Make sure to reference that you are donating towards my trip.

The whole rainwater collection tank idea is taking off. A couple weeks before Christmas, a hair salon in Rochester decided to fund a tank. That gives our team the chance to celebrate with the village that will get the tank. Since then, three more tanks have been funded. That is just incredible.

To end on a Uganda related note, author/blogger Matthew Paul Turner is going to Uganda with World Vision. He’s leaving January 14 and will be blogging the trip beginning January 17. You can follow his trip at his blog Jesus Needs New PR. Matthew is one of my favorite writers and cultural critics. Reading his Twitter feed during televised awards shows is side-splitting. I highly recommend Matthew’s book Churched, and I’m very confident that the follow up, Hear No Evil, will be stellar as well. Please be aware that his stuff is NSFPN (not safe for preconceived notions).

Thank you for supporting me and Ugandan Water Project. We’re changing the world, people.