Guest Blog- Larry Kesslin

It has been over a year since Ilise and I sponsored Armstrong to come to the United States to obtain a commercial pilots license. Armstrong has worked extremely hard since coming to the US and is well on his way to completing his dream. He has over 150 hours of flight time (he needs at least 190 hours to complete his certification), has obtained his private pilots license and has started his instrument rating. His instrument rating allows him to fly in any weather conditions and is one of the most critical steps in Armstrong’s journey to obtaining his FAA commercial license. He has had numerous challenges along this journey, but our current challenge is raising more money for him to complete his training.

Armstrong has had a profound effect on my life, teaching me what struggle really means. I have been doing so much soul searching over the past few years and continue to have distinctions between first world problems and 3rd world problems. Armstrong has been my greatest teacher in this area. All of my first world problems pale in comparison to what he has endured in his life. In addition, the young man is so smart, but as the 9th of 10 kids born to a migrant farming family in Uganda he could never achieve his dream without support from people like us. I can’t tell you how many conversations we have had about so many different topics and he is always thinking. He is determined to change his own life and then the lives of his countrymen back home. We went into this with the best of intentions, but this has been harder than we ever imagined.

Before my family and I decided to travel globally we had a decision to make regarding Armstrong and our family trip. Since I was shutting down 4-Profit, and no longer going to have ongoing income, we could not afford the trip and to fund his training. We discussed this with Armstrong and our family and Armstrong told us that we needed to go. From the outset we planned to raise the funds to pay for Armstrong’s training. To date we have only been able to raise a bit over $15,000, that we are very thankful for. We have personally invested over $30,000 of our own funds, and that is all we can do for him at this point. Armstrong is so thankful for all we have done for him, but we still need more funds. We have been pursuing other methods to help Armstrong complete his training and the flight school has been generous with some flight time and instructor time. But, we still need help to raise another $25,000 for Armstrong to complete his training.

We’ve been told by so many donors that they would rather invest in a group of kids rather than one person. The average person in Armstrong’s community earns about $250/month. With this training Armstrong can earn 20 times that amount, or somewhere around $5,000/month. Armstrong plans to take the extra funds and invest them back in his community. Once he completes his training he will return to Uganda to effect change, hopefully start an aviation business and employ his fellow Ugandans.

If you or anyone you know can assist in obtaining funds or support his flight training that would be very helpful. Your support and/or introductions will make all the difference in helping Armstrong achieve his dream.

To a life well lived!

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A Priceless Soul – Guest Blog

I was recently introduced to Armstrong from a mutual friend that we have, Larry Kesslin.

Larry told me how he met Armstrong in Africa over a year a go and immediately knew that this young man was extraordinary. He had many ideas and dreams that could not go unnoticed; the first being that Armstrong wanted to become a Commercial Pilot to put his dreams into action.

Larry and his family decided to invest in Armstrong, their time, money and world wide awareness to help get him started.

It is now about a year and a half later and miraculously Armstrong made his way to California and has accomplished over 150 hours of flight time and training. Despite what he has been through and where he has come from, this is astonishing in itself.

When I talk to Armstrong he has a deep desire and passion to create the difference he can make back in his home land, Uganda. He understands that he may just be one person but all it takes is one person to start everlasting change for the better.

His dream is to become a Pilot, but what he will do as a Pilot is what this desire is all about.

Armstrong’s Soul is Priceless in itself, but unfortunately it costs a whole lot of money just to put his big heart into action.

He is so close, and just needs our help to accomplish the first step to be able to soar. This is history in the making, lets be apart of it.

One flight at a time,

Karissa Hannum

#PilotArmstrong

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My coming to the United States

This is my first blog post  since I came to this wonderful country almost 4 months ago. I want to appreciate the Kesslin family for setting up a blog on WordPress. From now on I’m going to share my experience of my journey and training in the United States.

On February 5th, 2014, I got on the airplane in Entebbe, Uganda for a new country I had dreamed of for long time; like most young African men and women. This country was the United States of America. While I was  still in Uganda I kept trying to imagine what I was going to see. To me it was a state of total  confusion but I was confident to accept whatever my eyes were going to see. At exactly 6 PM Uganda time the Qatar jet took off with me on board for Qatar on my long journey to the country which many call the land of opportunity.

After about 6 hours in flight we got to Qatar and that is the country I first saw what is called advanced development of cities. For the first time I was able to see so many people traveling. The following morning I got on a plane and flew for over 10 hours in the sky from Doha to New York, when the flight crew announced we are close to land at JFK Airport. I remembered my old high school geography lesson about New York. This story was now coming true.

When I landed in New york I saw snow for the first time but I did not feel it because I did not leave the Airport, I was transiting to San Diego, California to start a new life for over a year in flight school.

I got my first American reality when I got out of Charles Lindbergh Airport in San Diego. I was riding in my sponsors state of the art Audi car on very clean multiple lane highway, with lights everywhere. When we got home I was so tired that I just slept, when I woke up the following morning I was in the new world.

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Night Flights Begin

This week Armstrong completed his first night flights. Over the next few weeks he will continue to fly at night as we are nearing completion of his Private Pilots credentials!

In addition, San Diego Flight Training International has asked Armstrong to stay an additional 4-5 months once he completes his commercial pilots license to be an intern. His internship will be as a flight instructor! This will provide Armstrong with full flight training credentials and an additional 250 hours of flight time. This should prove to be extremely valuable to Armstrong when he returns to East Africa to begin working.

To a life well lived!

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Del Mar Times Article Published!

Today we received a link to a new article that was published by the Del Mar Times, the Solona Beach Sun and the Carmel Valley News at http://bit.ly/1iXqf5K.

Please check it out!

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San Diego Jewish Journal Article

The press really enjoys Armstrong’s story. He is the link to the article written by the SD Jewish Journal: http://sdjewishjournal.com/site/6370/laying-the-foundation-stones/.

Seems like Armstrong has resonated with so many, but we still have so much work to do. We need to raise about $65,000 and we have raised a bit under $10,000 to date. Any support you can provide is greatly appreciated.

To a life well lived!

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Armstrong Arrives in San Diego

Gidongo Armstrong has come to the United States to become a professional airline pilot. He arrived around 9:30 PM PST on February 6th and started his journey to fulfilling his dream, his dream to become a commercial pilot.

We are proud to be supporting his journey and helping this young man achieve his dream. Once he achieves his dream he is committed to returning to his home country and making a significant impact on his homeland, that is his commitment to me.

We are certain that with the proper training Armstrong will be become a wonderful pilot and take those skills home. Once he is back in Uganda he will obtain a well paying job that will allow him to live a decent life and use most of his earnings to impact his community. That includes building new schools and helping his people get better healthcare. Armstrong has seen too many people needlessly die because of lack of access to proper medicine.

We can’t imagine what it was like to grow up like Armstrong did, but we can imagine the good that he will do when he returns to his homeland. That is what motivates our family to make the investment and we hope you will support Armstrong as well.

To a life well lived!

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