Mother and grandmother and now semi-retired, Ann McCarthy first went to Ruhanga in south-west Uganda in 2005 when she was invited by her safari driver Mr Denis Aheirwe (below). He took her to see his compound – the family land given by his father – and immediately saw its potential. It is right on the main road that runs from Kampala to Rwanda and the home of the mountain gorillas, but it was in a rural area where passing visitors had no reason to stop.
Denis’s dream was to build a Guest House so tourists would stay awhile and thus he could provide employment for his local village people. He was already employing men to make bricks, as the clay there is very good quality. Some bricks he sold and some he used to begin building his house. He introduced Ann to his family and friends in the village and she found them all so friendly and welcoming despite their poverty, that she was bowled over – all the rest of her spending money was soon gone in the local hardware shop buying cement, nails and iron sheets.
Denis and Ann talked over new ideas of how together they could even further help to raise the income levels of some of these impoverished farmers and the many orphans in the area. After returning to the UK, Ann did some fund-raising, and put in money of her own and was out there again after a few months