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,


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







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

June Journeys

It’s been a minute since I’ve posted (end of March?!) and I wanted to sit and write a quick update for all of you that want to hear how I’ve been doing.

  1. I am IMMENSELY GRATEFUL for how God has provided work, friends, challenges, opportunities, support, and learning at exactly the times I need it. I have been consistently reminded as I share with new and old friends parts of my story — God has it all worked out even when you don’t feel it at the time. Focusing on the present and contentment has been a HUGE part of my journey and something I am still learning how to fine-tune every day. As I reflect on the last year it’s one of my biggest thematic areas.
  2. Grad school is in full swing (I sat down now to do some studying but decided to blog instead… :)). It’s going well and I’m surprised by how much I like the online delivery. I am in an awesome program and on this journey with people from/working all over the world. Truly diverse and inspiring.
  3. Work is absolutely crazy right now. But all good things. We’re working hard at Akola on a big deal in the works… stay tuned for more this fall! I recently traveled to Ghana and Kenya for work and I don’t even know how many hours I put in on that trip… I’m so grateful to have supporting, encouraging teammates and superiors who trust and believe in me. My first time in W Africa was great; I need to go back when I can spend a bit of leisure time!
  4. TRIP TO USA TOMORROW. About 3 weeks off traveling around visiting friends and family. Please hit me up if you can connect this month. 🙂
  5. Find pics below!

xo, LB




Hello Faithful Followers!

First please watch this awesome video about Akola Dallas.

I last wrote with an update on my Zanzibar, Kenya, and TZ travels. Today I am elated to give a brief recap of March, which held so much happiness my heart could burst. Taylor Daye Havins, aka my best friend and forever roomie, graced Uganda with her presence. We danced. We made friends. We journeyed far and wide. We ate local food. We danced. We fed children at a refugee camp. We hiked. WE DANCED, most importantly. Continue reading

Material Woman

*title derived from a nickname a very eccentric staff member at our hotel in Zanzibar unceremoniously bestowed upon me. But now very fitting in light of my new job title.

Hello Blog Followers! Aka my mommy! 🙂

Read along for an overdue life update from the past few months.

This month I am liaising with suppliers in Kampala, making urgent orders for a big jewelry deal in the works for Akola Project. This time last year I was creating content and working with partners to promote AIDS Walk New York in the big city. The year before that I was house hunting in Northern Uganda for my new boss’ arrival and planning a quarterly retreat for all International Justice Mission Gulu staff. The year before THAT I was holed up in my parents’ house finishing my undergraduate Art History thesis and preparing for my impending “10-12 month” move to Uganda, wondering what it would be like! God guides and covers me and I’m thankful for the opportunity to adapt and learn. Wonder what a year from now will hold… 🙂 Continue reading