Students from Uganda studying at St. Edward's University after COVID restrictions lifted

Two students from Uganda are studying on the St. Edward's University campus this year after COVID travel restrictions were lifted.

After 32 hours of traveling, Shakiib Wauyo and Emmanuel Epau made it to Austin, Texas from Uganda in East Africa.

"The whole trip was hectic and tiresome," Epau said.

"It was really fun, getting to see how New York and getting to see how these buildings from the air, it was something very impressive at night," Wauyo said.

This was Wauyo's first time to fly, and he said he was excited to go to the United States and has dreamed about traveling here, especially because it is home to the person he admires the most. 

Shakiib Wauyo and Emmanuel Epau

"Obama comes from the U.S., so I love him so much," Wauyo said. "I may not get to see Obama physical and check him out because he’s a busy guy, but I just get to state that is close to where he stays, that will be it for me." 

Wauyo finally made it with Epau to St. Edward's University in Austin after having to study online in Uganda last year because of COVID travel restrictions.

"Back home it’s nine hours different," Epau said. "The time that a professor expects you to be fresh and ready to learn, you are really tired, you want to go to bed, so coming on campus is pretty much an exciting thing for me." 

The St. Edward's University community helped raise the funds to cover their education. Epau and Wauyo said this is an opportunity they won't take for granted.

"Personally, I’m here to basically like, do three things. I’m here to connect with people, I’m here to engage with people, and grow later on," Wauyo said. "We left home to change home, so we are here to change home, so listening to those stories is something that is more powerful that we have opened our minds to see what we can do for our people to come out of the poverty, to come to have some businesses, to engage youth." 

Epau is studying business administration and marketing. "It’s to literally explore all the businesses around to see how we can improve the businesses we’re already trying to start at home to create more jobs at home, so our people’s lives get better," Epau said.

Wauyo is studying accounting to be an entrepreneur. "How do we start-up businesses, how do we sustain businesses, so that I can go back and tell the young people back home because we have a lot of entrepreneurs," Wauyo said.

They have already started a couple of business in Uganda. They make liquid soap for bathrooms and spices for food sold at their high school. They're also working to provide free smartphones to people in rural areas of the country.

One business at a time, Wauyo and Epau hope to change Uganda for the better.