A few years ago I got my first job as an Executive Assistant. For me, it was a step up from being a Receptionist and I got to yield somebody else’s credit card, which I loved. It was a pretty traditional corporate admin job; I answered the phone, collected the mail and ordered catering for meetings. I booked events and travel and collected coffee, catering, office supplies, milk, my boss’ suits from the dry cleaners…. etc, etc. Lots of people screwed their noses up at those bits but I figured there was plenty worse I could be doing. Once I watched his kids for the afternoon and they taught me how to use an iPad (they were brand new at that time.) I really liked working there most of the time. We kept a drinks fridge stocked, just in case, with juice, sparking water, Coke and Diet Coke and, here’s the best bit, levels of champagne relevant to the level of success: Moet, Veuve, Louis Roederer. I have never otherwise purchased Louis Roederer, and I have never tasted it, so I felt pretty damn swanky getting to order it.
The best thing about my time working in a big glass building in the big shiny city was meeting my friend Annabelle. Her boss had a little penchant for ordering books online, but very little regard for filling in necessary details in the shipping address. Our office suites shared a floor, and the mail distributors in our building would frequently place her boss’ parcels in our mailbox. I would to take them over to her until one day when Annabelle discovered that we kept a lolly jar in reception and would pop over every afternoon just to check if any parcels had come. Cheeky little blighter.
We would exchange pleasantries and eventually learned more and more about each other. She told me about a charity she had co-founded called United Future Foundation. At that time it was in it’s infancy, but I remember being absolutely captivated by her vision and commitment. When the contract I had was wrapping up, she was heading off to Uganda on a three week trip to see her business partner Dave and participate in UFF on the ground. She stayed longer than anticipated and we never chatted over that lolly jar ever again but we have stayed in contact and I am honoured to count her among my friends.
Since those early days UFF has become School for Life and opened it’s first school in the Mpigi district of Uganda. The School is called Katuuso Primary and Vocational School and The Designer even created the School’s logo! SFL is a non government organisation, not politically or religiously funded, and focused on providing high quality education in rural or disadvantaged areas of Uganda.
Last Thursday The Designer and I attended SFL’s annual Christmas party, and our first Christmas Party of the season. We had a wonderful time catching up with Annabelle and Dave and all that is going on with Katuuso and School for Life. I have just made our online donation to SFL’s Christmas Appeal; after much consideration The Designer and I have chosen to donate sports equipment to the School. It is great, at Christmastime especially, to give something back. And then to see how donations are directly being actioned at Katuuso. I eagerly follow the School’s progress on Facebook and Twitter, and each time there’s an update I am once again impressed and humbled by the hard work and infinite generosity of SFL.
In April 2013 Annabelle and Dave will be celebrating all that they, and all the volunteers involved with SFL, have achieved with an official opening launch of Katuuso. Sadly, The Designer and I are lacking the funding necessary for a trip to Uganda to celebrate this momentous occasion but I know that i will be raising a glass in their honour on the day and we’re already looking forward to next year’s Barefoot and Black Tie Ball, a big event on the SFL calendar.
And to think, I owe this whole friendship to that little lolly jar.
Please click here if you would like to know more about School for Life or would like to donate to their Christmas Appeal. Every little bit counts. This is not a paid or sponsored post; I am doing it because I want to. And because I believe in School for Life. x