Summer 2017



Street art in Alphabet City, Manhattan

This summer has been HECTIC and a whirlwind but in the absolute best way.

Highlights include:

2017 has been an up-and-down year and I’m kind of excited for it be winding down. What about you? What are you up to?

With love from Jinja,


LB on LinkedIn

Hey XO LB readers —

I’ve just published my first two articles on LinkedIn, one of which was a re-post from Development Intern’s blog. If you’re interested, please do check them out!


Help me do what is mine to do

“Once we can accept that God is in all situations, and that God can and will use even bad situations for good, then everything and everywhere becomes an occasion for good and an encounter with God.”

^Title and quote taken from this past week’s Richard Rohr meditation. I’ve been deeply contemplating change, transition, control, letting go, and actively seeking to embrace more trust, grace, and “que sera sera” in my life, lately.

I’ve repeatedly returned to this phrase – “help me do what is mine to do” – and find it anchors me to the present and what is set before me, whether it be a pleasant task or not. We often know in our spirits what is “ours to do”: have a hard conversation; fulfill a commitment; send someone love and encouragement; apologize; set boundaries to honor and protect ourselves; work to complete a task at our jobs; show up; make an impact.

If we only we had the courage to always do it, and do it well.

April & May ’17


It’s been a while since I last wrote to you… so much has gone on!

Awesome things have happened:

  • Trip to South Africa — time spent in Joburg, Pretoria, and a road trip to the Drakensberg where we stayed at the best lodge
  • Seeing Beau, Lauren, and Henry! Some USA friends from back in my 2013-4 Gulu days
  • First round Rotary scholarship reporting complete (WOO!)
  • Seeing Diplo
  • First year of grad school complete (!!!)
  • Volunteering with Kapadia — a USA foundation that offers university scholarships to students all over the world. I’ve been getting to meet with some students and it’s really inspiring to see 1) what they’ve overcome and 2) how they want to give back to their communities.
  • Kannagara — a personal development workshop I’m attending. I embarked on this 4 week journey last Sunday and am already amazed at the results I’ve seen.
  • Work humming along at a more manageable pace lately for all of us [though that’s subject to change as usual ;)]
  • Exciting growth at Akola! New staff, new roles, new Jinja office soon where I will move with the Cowhorn workshop
  • Pepperdine visiting Akola — got to host some Pepperdine E Africa study abroad participants and share about Akola and my work/journey in Uganda.

And some less awesome:

  • Saying “see ya later” to some of the expat friends in UG I’ve known the longest
  • Dead bird in my water tank causing all my water to reek of death….?!
  • Bed bugs……………..
  • Second iPhone theft since living in UG
  • Growing pains associated with above-mentioned growth (both personally and at work!)

What are you up to? Drop me a line anytime.

With love,

Mpola Mpola

*title = “Slowly by slowly” – a Luganda saying for sticking with something, even if the going is slow and hard (as it often is in Uganda).

First — do you know someone job hunting? Akola is hiring! Please direct them here! Woo!

I write from my favorite booth at the Jinja Java House watching a cotton candy sunset disappear too quickly (Sunday sunsets are never welcomed as it means the week is too soon starting!). I named this post Mpola Mpola as, to be completely honest, that’s how I’ve felt the last few months… in certain areas of my life, the going is slow and difficult. I am struggling to keep on top of my studies and balance; to be gracious toward myself during times when my work is not 100%-type-A-model-student-standard even if I’d love for it to be (/obsessively need it to be). My organization is undergoing massive growth and change (our Neiman’s sales are doing amazingly well!!!), which while exciting, also brings with it challenges both personal and professional. My personal relationships are ever-ebbing and flowing… it’s the result of normal life happenings, but sometimes feels heightened due to my “living abroad” state of being/flux that comes alongside this chosen, beloved lifestyle of mine.

Here’s a few quick updates on the past 2 months:

  • In February, my sister visited and it was amazing. We went on safari in Murchison and camped at Fort Patiko, amongst other things. This was the most time one-on-one we’d spent together in YEARS, and it was so so good for my heart.
  • I finally visited the Hairy Lemon
  • I attended IF: Uganda here in Jinja
  • I’m wrapping up my third class, Policy Analysis and Process (paper due in less than a month, crunch time!!!)
  • A few of my close friends from back in my 2013 UG days coming back to Uganda in the coming weeks. YAY.
  • I’m going to South Africa over Easter for vacation!
  • I’ve begun mentoring a fellow former IJM-er (she’s a current undergrad student) thanks to IJM creating the connection
  • Making efforts to devote more time to reading (non school/work), creating, connecting, spontaneity, time in nature, self-care activities, time with God and self, space for simply be-ing

What have you been up to? I’d love to hear, please drop me a note.

xo LB







Happy 2017!

Hello There,

Can you even believe it’s 2017?! Already Feb… Last I wrote was in early October (oopsie)… so I think I should start there! (sorry, no photos this time).


I had a crazy last full month in Jinja, working on school, with USA Akola staff visiting, and preparing for a month away. I did manage to sneak in a quick Thanksgiving trip to Lake Bunyonyi, which was even better the second time around. In Nov I also learned of my status as a Rotary Global Scholar. So grateful for the support of Rotary International, my sponsor club (HEB) and host club (Jinja) as I work on my master’s!


Had an amazing week at Impact Business Leaders Nairobi, then was off to TX for a few weeks’ holiday and catch up with friends and fam. Going home is always a uniquely perfect blessing. Texas’ open arms are always what I need.


The whole world felt chaotic in January. Hit the ground running back in office on 2 Jan, after spending NYE in a Dubai hotel, reflecting on 2016 and all the pain and joys and lessons in my year. Quickly production and procurement was on the move… the past month was a BLUR of work. Had a big paper due the first week of Jan and then after a quick two week break, started another class up. I did sneak in some fun Bujagali times but generally found it difficult to gain a sense of calm in the midst of everything.

Cheers to a bit more breathing room this month, taking care of ourselves and each other, and trusting the good that’s to come. Keep up the fight wherever you are — I know this year feels especially poignant and profound, doesn’t it?

Things I’m looking forward to…
My assistant’s arrival (YAY)
Logan visit (!!!)
Potential Easter getaway?
Continued learning at University of York and Akola
Whatever God has in store this year!

Thank you for reading, wherever you are!



Mama Bajaj

*title derived from my latest nickname. Bajaj = the make of my motorcycle.

Hello Faithful Reader(s?),

Greetings from the BRAND NEW JAVA HOUSE Jinja. My online grad student self is rejoicing to the heavens. Sorry I haven’t posted in a while… this year I’ve strayed a bit from my post-at-least-once-a-month goal (keep up with me on Insta or FB for more real-time updates). But it’s because I’ve BEEN BUSY!! Read along for an update of my past several months. (I dumped a bunch of pics on FB recently so check em out!).

NB: Please vote for Akola for our chance to win $100,000!


June found me journeying near and far across the USA. I got to go home for a few weeks of leave. Had a fun weekend in Austin, some down time in DFW, a weekend visiting Logan in Malibu/LA, and then a quick stop in NY on my way out.


If you know me, you know July means MY BIRTHDAY! I had such a great time running around Jinja with some special friends in town. I also was getting back in the groove of Jinja life as May and June were so busy — I was gone traveling for work or personal for about 5ish weeks total. Continue reading