Our summer teams are having great time in Uganda solidily engaged on our community and wildlife conservation project work.West Hill School brings up the update…….
The journey has been safe. Our two flights were punctual and comfortable whilst fun and enjoyable. A sense of anticipation, nerves and excitement grew as we got closer to what can only be described as one of the most fascinating, diverse and beautiful countries in the world. We were greeted by a thorough and concise security check. We felt an instant sense of safeness and security, and were warmly welcomed by the people of Uganda.
On day one, we received the privilege of visiting Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary, an experience we will treasure and it will not be forgotten. We received a tour, a delightful lunch and we had the opportunity to observe the fascinating, somewhat humorous, behavior of the chimpanzees through the time of feeding. The group even pooled together some money to adopt a chimpanzee named ‘Eddie’, named after one of our expedition members. Day two carried with it a 3 am wake up call, to undergo a four hour journey to ‘Nile River Explorers’ in Jinja, the rafting rendezvous. Throughout the rafting session, the group undertook 8 rapids.
This experience will not go unforgotten by many, including those whose raft flipped. We were then treated to a delicious, meat-filled BBQ style lunch, followed by a pleasant walk to the boat for Camp Hairy Lemon. After a 2 minute boat ride, the paradise of Hairy Lemon Island was revealed. Scenic with a unique biodiversity, this camp stood out as a treasure, masked by rich scenery. Hospitality was second to none; the host Nikki is one of the kindest people one would hope to meet. The many insects failed to drive us into despair, and we were quickly accustomed to one another. This isolated location offered a tremendous view of the magnificent stars at night. Following a 40 minute walk to project, we began the task in question: Constructing the foundations of a new classroom and starting to build up the walls.
As a group,The Head teacher, Patrick, was extremely selfless and somewhat benevolent to us as a group and similarly to his community, as were his staff. We were always welcomed with open arms and big smiles by the community, particularly the local children.
Each task brought its own individual difficulty during the intense equatorial heat. Patrick was overwhelmed with all the work we had done. We were said to have completed the task with great commitment and efficiency, whilst all of the team remained completely motivated, enthusiastic and connected to the project.The children often insisted on holding hands to and from projects and some took to playing musical games during the walk.
On the final day of the project (Saturday), we played football, netball and basketball after a hard mornings graft, as England vs Uganda. Throughout the whole project, tasks included water collecting from a local well, brick making using mud, soil digging and cement making, in order to construct a solid foundation and the classroom walls.We had the opportunity to teach in groups of three, including subjects including maths and science.
This was thoroughly enjoyable, both for us as “teachers” and for the pupils of Primary 6 and Primary 7. On Sunday, we had the first, much-deserved R&R day. We undertook a two hour open top kayaking session on the Nile River, including a tour of the lovely islands surrounding Hairy Lemon. Our time so far has already been unforgettable, completely life-changing and thought-provoking: we may be richer in wealth, but the local people in Uganda are far wealthier than us concerning the sense of community present everywhere.
Blog by West Hill