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Uganda Blog 2015

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Ninth annual trip to Uganda- April 2015

Our ninth trip to Kabale in Uganda took place at Easter. As always, it was an adventure for those embarking on it for the first time, and a chance for those who have been before to reconnect with some familiar faces.

The group landed in Entebbe where Brian our long term bus driver met us with his wonderful handle bar moustache and bright smile and we proceeded to our backpackers and then wiled away the evening dipping our toes in the beautiful waters of Lake Victoria. Some of the students took the opportunity to kick a ball around with some Ugandan teenagers on the sand, a much needed break for all after a hectic term!

We headed to Kabale the next day, where we have long standing ties with Ugandan educational institutions and where our sustainable development work takes place. It was a long trip, eased by fresh bananas, lunch at the equator and the obligatory sing alongs. Our work in Kabale took us back to Kigezi High School, Pentagon School, Wise Parents and Blessed Academy, as well as Educate a Child, the street children’s centre. We were welcomed with a warmth equal to that of the African sun, with children running at us with open arms ready for hugs and some wonderful singing and dancing. Our staff engaged in the observation and teaching of lessons at Kigezi and Pentagon as well as some work with the teacher training college. This included some whiteboard training and a wonderful Young Enterprise project. Our staff members were also involved in preparing the children at Educate a Child for a talent showcase at the end of the week. We were given a tour of Kigezi which encompassed everything from the kitchens and dormitories to classrooms and Robert’s intriguing vegetable sack garden. Of course our students embraced the exceptional opportunity.

Suweyda, who recently became student trustee on the board of All Our Children, ran an art printing project at New Foundation. Among many other things our students helped out with Maths and English lessons at the street children centre, spent some evenings playing basketball at Kigezi, observed and helped out in lessons, as well as visiting Ndorwa school, a new link we have established through a very dear Ugandan friend of ours. One highlight of the trip was the Showcase at Pentagon, the first of its kind, which drew together three different institutions with the intention of fostering closer links between both staff and students. The day was a huge success, in particular for the children from Educate a Child, whose inclusion in mainstream activities is fundamental to their growth as individuals, and they did a great job singing and dancing. Our staff also participated as did our students.

This year we were also joined by teachers from Coombeshead in Devon and we managed to get to know them as our paths crossed on a number of occasions. It was great to see the links expanding further. We worked hard and it was, as always, incredibly meaningful to do so. We did slip in a visit to Arcadia and spent a night at Lake Bunyoni, an eco-resort where we swam and enjoyed an extended jam session in the evening after dinner. As always it was difficult to say goodbye to the wonderful people at Green Hills hotel who took care of us in Kabale. It was equally hard to bid farewell to all our partners and we ended it on a high note with dinner and speeches.

We returned via Rwanda, where we visited the genocide museum. It was a sobering and thoughtful end to the trip, but we kept our spirits intact, knowing that if we continue to engage with the world around us, with people far and wide, we do, in some small way make it a better place. Next year is the tenth year anniversary of the link and we are already working on plans to celebrate our success so far. We look forward to bringing new students and staff on this fascinating adventure.