It’s up for grabs whether Churchill was the first to give Uganda its nickname. Whether him or another, Uganda has earned its reputation among the beautiful places in Africa to visit.
For magnificence, for variety of form and color, for profusion of brilliant life—bird, insect, reptile, beast—for vast scale—Uganda is truly “the Pearl of Africa.” – Winston Churchill
Thirty-three and a member of Parliament, in 1907 Winston Churchill journeyed through Mombasa, Kisumu, and Jinja by train, boat, carriage, bicycle, and foot to visit the British Protectorate of Uganda. Later he published his writings about his adventure in My African Journey.
Uganda is an oasis of green, plus hot sun, red dirt, mountain gorillas, and of course lush landscapes. Did I mention impressive hospitality?
I visited Uganda a century after Churchill, yet its beauty seemed unblemished from then. My itinerary took me to African Hospitality Institute, or AHI, a nonprofit that trains young people to work in hospitality. Being Africa’s pearl means tourism. In 2015, travel and tourism created over 1.1 million jobs in Uganda, 7.8% of the total employment.
Maggie started AHI with a heart to open up employment opportunities and create job security for young people through teaching the art and craft of hospitality. Several of her students have been whisked off by top resorts even before graduation.
But there are and have been ripe opportunities outside tourism and hospitality as well. Kohl, Stewart, and Travis, for example, founders of Krochet Kids international, were attracted to Uganda for similar reasons as Maggie, the beauty and opportunity they found to give back and make a difference.
As high school mates they started crocheting, not your typical male behavior. But it all makes sense since warm beanies were a must for winters on the slopes.
They started selling their creations and word reached a local newspaper. It dubbed them the “Krochet Kids.” Apparently the name stuck.
Years later, separated by three different colleges, each started traveling the globe, volunteering with organizations in developing countries, and realizing the blessed lives they’d lived growing up in Spokane, Washington. Notably, Stewart spent a summer in Uganda.
He brought back stories. Uganda’s civil war and its trail of devastation would pull him back, this time with Kohl and Travis to teach a group of local women how to crochet. Weirdly enough, the “Krochet Kids” were back, but with an incredibly more profound mission.
KKi hasn’t left Uganda. Though they have expanded to Peru.
Currently, there are over 150 people in Uganda and Peru not only knitting, but receiving education and breaking out of poverty. The fine gentlemen behind KKi aren’t satisfied with knit goods and fair wages, as celebratory as these are. They’re working for holistic freedom and social change rooted in love. Go ahead and read that sentence again… It’s so good! I sincerely hope KKi’s impact becomes a legacy.
You’ll find the Drifter atop my head any given day of the week, to tame bedhead and cruise in with style. I’ll chill with it in the summer months, too, around the house; maybe I’ll check the mail with it. Why not? When fall hits my wife may be surprised to even see my head because it’ll be covered with the knits of Krochet Kids international.
Their website has a rad feature to send a Thank You message to the woman who made your hat. Beatriz Tucta from Peru made mine. I’ll be thanking her shortly. She knit masterfully.
Lastly, every man needs a basic white tee, like the Krochet Kids Standard White Tee. It’s an essential wardrobe piece. All the classic gentlemen of old agree. And this one has all the right elements: comfort, simplicity, and style. Make some room on your shelf. The Standard White Tee is callin’.
People over profits. That’s what I’m about. As is Krochet Kids.
Note: Thank you to Krochet Kids for gifting us the Standard White Tee and Drifter Beanie. For the sake of transparency, we were not compensated for this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own!