We‰’ve just had our summer team in Uganda and all our volunteers‰ had a great experience from our community project work, wildlife conservation, adventure and cultural activities.Here is just but a summary of their amazing expedition…………………………………………………………………..‰………………………..

Our 2014 Expedition Team arrived into Entebbe and as a gentle introduction to Uganda,they spent the first day at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.An island that is located 23km‰’s out into Lake Victoria.Visiting the cheeky chimps was a wonderful experience and educational too, learning about the rescue and rehabilitation programme of man‰’s closest relative!!

Our next stop was the stunning Mount Elgon region, the village of Budadiri.  Our Team received a very warm welcome from the children of the Sironko Demonstration School, where we had built them a classroom in 2013.  This year we came to add the finishing touches to the classroom, which included plastering and painting the walls, reconstructing a giant blackboard and beginning to landscape the school grounds to assist drainage.

It was all hands on deck as already waiting for us was a few tonnes of sand which needed sieving and moving inside the classroom.  Once this job had been done then the fun part of mixing cement could begin.

Once again it was a mucky job and the slapping process proved quite hilarious as the splash back from the wall also very nicely plastered our Team!

As well as the manual work, it was exam time for the P7 (Primary Year 7) students and they needed help with the revision.  Revision classes were set up and the students enjoyed the assistance.

Outside in the playground, a huge pile of homemade bricks had been baked, once this had cooled off then the bricks needed relocating to another area of the school, another human chain sprung into action and the bricks were on the move.

Part of the Expedition is a 4 day/3 night climb of Mount Elgon.  On the day of departure our Team were transported up to the Bumasola Trading Centre where they were to begin the climb.  This year metal ladders had been built at the Mudange Cliff to replace the scramble over the slippery rocks; this proved a huge advantage to the climbers.The Mountain Trek is stunning, passing through villages and many different levels of vegetation to reach the summit at 4,321m, Wagagai Peak.

Dan, the Mountain Leader did an amazing job of safely leading the group to the peak and back.

Although hard work and exhausting everyone agreed that it was a lifetime achievement and the experience was second to none. Waiting back in Camp for their return was a huge BBQ and spit roast, this was devoured after a long awaited shower and a sleep in was planned for the next morning.

Before we left Budadiri we had a fun day with the local Mamas, the morning started off with a lesson in Lugisu, the local dialect in Budadiri, then once everyone had learnt a few basic greetings it was off to the market with a shopping list and a budget for the traditional Ugandan dishes they were going to be making.

Once the ingredients were bought then back to camp and everyone set about shelling beans, peeling green bananas, kneading chapati dough and chopping and dicing vegetable.

Once this had been done the fun part of learning how to cook the local way!!

The outcome was a magnificent feast that fed the whole campsite.  Our traditional day was finished off by some drumming and dancing with a little local band and the Mamas, plus a surprise visit from the school children who put on a short performance to bid everyone a fond farewell.

Our next stop was Jinja, some souvenir shopping, and a relaxing lunch cruise on the Nile River before a visit to Hairy Lemon Island for some R & R.

Everyone loved the Hairy Lemon and enjoyed the relaxation in the hammocks and comfy cushions, catching up on their diaries as well as playing Frisbee and football on the green lawns.

Camp Ziwa had some very exciting activities waiting for us and first on the list was the rhino monitoring.  Essential data is collected during this activity to help protect and understand this endangered species.

As well as the rhinos, there are also other animals on the sanctuary and often a bushbuck or some cheeky monkeys can be seen around camp.

There are some important duties that need doing at Ziwa and here our Team are getting stuck into the Fence repair and maintenance duties.

Murchison Falls National Park on safari was a final highlight of the trip, we saw so much Wildlife on the game drive and boat cruise to the Murchison Falls, cameras were snapping away, many batteries flattened!

We headed back to Entebbe after an epic adventure, a lot of fun, a lot of banter, some craziness and most importantly after really making a huge impact to the daily lives of the people and wildlife in Uganda.

 

TUGENDE UGANDA (Let‰’s Go)

 

Blog written by Steph Kagen