Uganda, you’ve changed me❣


It all had to come to an end eventually, after all of the bumpy car journeys travelling Uganda, it was time to come home. Usually after this long I think I would have been ready to come home, but as we were loading our 19 bags into the vans there was defiantly something inside me wanting to stay. Even though I have struggled with eating the food, and pretty much whatever I ate was making me ill I really wanted to stay; I wanted to stay in a country where everyone is so friendly, accepting and welcoming. I stopped and thought to myself, how many people can say that when they come to England. 


Even though some of the people we met and saw had nothing in a materialistic world, they have each other. They have the support, kindness and strength of one another that get then through the hardest times. They appreciate absolutely everything, the things that we take for granted. It really makes me wish that I lived in a country that behaved this way, I will from now on never take anything for granted and be thankful for everything that comes my way. 

Whilst we were at the secondary school there were many quotes including 

“Be a needed person, not a needy person” 

“Ladies, remember you were not created to be a prostitute”

“Success is earnt, not given”

These are all strong quotes that defiantly made us stop and think, and I feel that’s what differentiates school in Uganda to school in England; everyone here appears to work as a team and supports each other, they truly care about their school work and show so much respect towards their teachers. The students here praise each other for their achievements. 

The way that music brings everyone together is the most incredible sight and leaves the most amazing feeling inside you. Even though they were strangers a month ago I feel that the time we spent signing and dancing together made a long lasting friendship that will never be broken. 


Being in Uganda really made me think, and although I didn’t have my phone with me I had access to the Internet to upload the blog posts each night and as I was online I received a few messages from people in England that were not supportive and kind of nasty. But it just made me realise how much I didn’t need people like that in my life. I will appreciate everything that little bit more and will make a conscious effort to make a difference in everything I do. I will keep the lessons and memories from Uganda forever with me and now I’ve been here. When I’m in Northampton; I will never completely feel at home again because a piece of my heart will always be elsewhere.


I would like to end my last post with a massive Thankyou to Dismas, Leonard, Beatrice, Udire, George and David who made our trip so amazing and I promise I’ll be back, I’ve already looked at flights back over and finally to anyone that hasn’t been to Africa, you must go, it’ll change your view on the world forever. 

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I feel so lucky to have met people that are so hard to say goodbye to…

So Today was our last day at the primary school, the place that we have called home since we got here; the place where the most amazing memories have been made and the most un breakable friendship bonds have been formed. We were picked up by Leonard and Dismas at 11.00am and headed for the school. As soon as we got to the school we put our finishing touches on the feature wall; Georgina wrote everyone’s name under each hand print.

We then headed to our favourite place… The nursery! Yet again Niz and Mitchell ran straight up to myself and Jayne and we held on to them for the rest of the time there. I never thought I would be so attached, but I was wrong. We took some balloons into the nursery and had hours of fun blowing them up and throwing them around. 

We then went back into the school and I spent a lot of time with Rebecca George and David, we were playing the drums and having a good chat.


 Everyone else was together in the library. Beatrice served us lunch, which was lovely as always and then it was time for our farewell ceremony. 

I wish you could all see how amazing it was, I can not put into words how amazing the band, music and perfomances were; I think we was all holding back the tears and being as strong as possible. The ceremony lasted for ages and then we spent a good hour dancing in the play ground with everyone. Niz was still clung onto me and wouldn’t let me put her down, she even took my Necker and sun glasses at one point. 


We were presented with certificates thanking us for our hard work; which meant so much and in return we presents presents to Dismas, Leonard, Beatrice and Udaya. It was soon time to leave the primary school and leave all of the amazing talented pupils there but taking every single memory with us. I can not begin to explain how different it is than England; I am so glad I got to spend so much time at Outspan Primary school. 


We ended the day with another big get together at speek restaurant and all enjoyed pizza!


Good Night, X

“The only people I envy are those who have not yet been to Africa; for they have so much to look forward to”

DAY 1 Another early start, the safari vans picked us up at 7.00am and we headed for Queen Elizabeth National Park. After roughly 2 hours we reached the Equator. It wasn’t really what I expected, though to be honest I don’t know what I was expecting. But it was literally a line across the road. 


After a short stop we continued driving for the next 6 hours until we reached Queen Elizabeth National Park. The views where breathtaking, so beautiful. On the way to the lodge we saw two Elephants which was amazing because we wasn’t expecting that. There were also many monkeys on the way too. We finally got to our Safari Lodge just after 3 and were greeted by the staff there, there was a bit of confusion about the beds but it was all quickly sorted out, we had all 4 tents so there was no one else at the lodge other than ourselves.We had lunch, me and Jayne have opted to be vegetarian but everyone else ate Beef. Soon after our very late lunch we were shown to our lodges. In one there is me, Jayne, Rebecca and Evonne and in another is Graham and Chris and the third is James, Joe and Sam and finally Georgina and Tony have the fourth lodge. They are all so beautiful, and so big. They each have a large balcony with the most amazing view. 


We got ready and headed off on our first game drive, at first we didn’t see anything and were just taking in the views, then we saw a Lioness and waited ages for it to move, as we were about to drive off the security man said we could go off road and we were able to drive right up close to it and a second lion. 


It was amazing to see, next we drove off quickly, we didn’t know why we was going so fast but we soon heard a leopard had been spotted, which is apparently so rare. We looked for ages and eventually we found it, it was a young leopard sitting so still in the grass and then it got up and moved into the bushes giving us all a good opportunity to see it clearly, it looked spectacular through binoculars. 


We also saw many other animals including Hippo, Dear, Water Hogs and Buffalo. Myself, Jayne and Rebecca were sitting on the back of the truck and James and Joe were on the front, we got an amazing view but the ride was bumpy and our clothes are covered in dust. Well worth it though.


We headed back to the lodge for a five course dinner which was so filling! 

We also only got wifi from 6pm until 6am Uganda time, due to the generator, the wifi was very poor when it was on and I was unable to upload any blog posts. We had to be escorted to our lodges after dark by a guard, they carried big guns and sat outside our lodge all night.

DAY 2 

We was woken up at 5.45 am and greeted with a hot drink before an early morning game drive at 6.15, as we left the lodge there was two hyena following our van and then we didn’t see much else until the drive started driving fast and loads of other vans were following us, after a lot of bumpy tracks and turning around we saw some more lioness.


 We arrived back at the lodge for breakfast, everyone had ordered bacon and egg but there was another mix up and they ran out of bacon much to Joe’s disappointment, however the porridge was lovely. 

After breakfast we went and showered as we were so dirty from sitting on the roof of the van during the game drive. 


The shower looks on to the lake, the whole bathroom has the most fantastic view, however it does not have private Windows so whatever you can see on the outside can see you as well. 

We had an earlier lunch than we were used to and then headed on an hour and half journey to Lake George where we went on a boat road down the channel. We saw lots of hippo and buffalo and then eventually we saw Elephant and was able to get right up close. 


The boat road lasted 2 hours and then we headed back to the lodge, on the route back we saw Baboons and the drive threw it his left overs from lunch. 


We drove back to the lodge and was able to have some chill time before dinner. For dinner was another five course meal and then we sat around the camp fire and then was escorted by the guard to our tents. As we were going to sleep we heard hippo noises, we went out on the balcony to look but it was too dark to see anything, but it was defiantly close. 


DAY 3

We was up at 5.45 again for our last early morning game drive. We saw elephants and hippos and lots of Kob which is Uganda’s national animal. We all enjoyed sitting on the roof of the van going over the bumpy tracks, and watching the van tip side wards as the driver tries to get up steep verges. 


we returned back to the lodge and had breakfast and then had 20 minutes to pack and leave; we thought this would be plenty of time but as I walked into the shower there was a big fat mouse sitting there, so I screamed and screamed and Jayne came but she was just screaming too so then James and Rebecca came and got it! started the long journey back to Kampala at 10am. At half one we stopped off at a motel for lunch. An hour later we were back on the road and headed for the equator. We reached the equator at 17.30 and everyone done a bit more shopping and we had a few pictures and then it was time to head to Kampala.


 The traffic had been okay, but it started building up as we got closer to Kampala. The journey is so long and the roads are so bumpy but we were all still happy because we’re in Africa and you just can’t be sad here!

We arrived back at Kolping hotel at 8pm; and were greeted by a pile of presents David had left us for our arrival, no idea how we are getting them all home, but we will!

Time to un pack and re pack,

good night X 

Travel brings power and love back into your life..


Today we headed back to the primary school, no one can keep us away! We spent the first half of the morning in the nursery. Niz ran out of her class and jumped straight up to me, it was the best feeling ever! She melts my heart, the first day I met her she didn’t speak to me, just clung on to my hand all day and by the third day she started speaking and now today I can’t get her to be quiet, she is full of confidence and such a little diva! I’m truly going to miss her when we leave.

I also gave her a bracelet that I had previously brought for her, she loved it and couldn’t stop touching it. We then gave all the donated cuddly toys out to the “baby class” and they spent the next couple of hours playing with them so happily, it was such an amazing feeling knowing we had made them smile th
at much.

There was one boy that didn’t way a toy, he stayed in the corner really shy, so I hope when we go back the teacher tells us that he took his toy after we left. The second half of the morning was spent being a bit arty farty. I suggested at the start of the project that we put our handprints on the wall we had painted and Georgina agreed with me; so we’ve spent the rest of the time convincing Tony and Graham that this was a good idea- at last today they agreed so we began by painting Chris’ hands purple and he hand printed the wall, it looked a bit dodgey and we debated scrapping the idea, but we carried on and we all took it in turn to hand print the wall and it actually looked so good after we had finished, everyone hand printed including Dismas, Leonard, Beatrice and Yudire.

We then left the school and went back to the hotel to freshen up as you can get so dirty at the primary school. Myself, James, Rebecca, Joe and Sam went into Kampala for a bit of shopping we got a taxi to the shopping centre and then we battled through the crazy traffic on foot and met David who took us around the craft markets and was getting all really good deals, making bargains with all the stool holders. James and Joe spent ages bartering with the stool holders over canvas paintings and eventually got the prices down. As we was walking back through the town there was no end of young children and toddlers begging for money, it broke all of our hearts, it is so horrible to see children with shoes that don’t fit or no shoes at all. However we put on a brave face and battled through the traffic to Java for some dinner. We were stopped by the police outside the restaurant as they remembered us and wanted a selfie.


Another fantastic day in Uganda, we don’t want it to end! 

Paint, Campfires and The Nile

Sunday

On Sunday it was time to re pack our cases and prepare for the secondary school. We packed a bag for the secondary school and left all of other things with the hotel staff, everyone is so friendly and offers to help with everything. We arranged to be picked up by Dismas and Leonard at 11.30 but as usual there was lots of traffic so they arrived after noon. We loaded up the buses with our bags, food and all of our donated items and started our journey for the secondary school. We stopped off on the way for fuel and drinks and then headed on to the secondary school. After 2 hours we reached and stopped off near by to a huge celebration of 30 weddings, we some home managed to draw all of the attention from the wedding onto our selves and a lot of the children were begging for money and trying to take our belongings so we didn’t stay too long, Dismas hoped to meet the Bishop but it was too busy and there was too much partying going on.

We headed along the bumpy dusty roads to the secondary school in Kaunga. They call the ride on the bumpy roads “the free bottom massage”. Once we arrived at the secondary school we were greeted by Beatrice with tea and cake and were then shown to our rooms, we were under the impression we would be camping but Dismas had arranged rooms for us. Graham was set the task of putting all of our mosquito nets up. Soon after we had arrived me and Rebecca went with Beatrice and George (Dismas’ son) to buy some shopping. We dropped Leonard off on the way as he was getting a taxi back to Kampala, we arrived at the supermarket on the side of a dusty road in Nazigo and stocked up on drinks. Me and Rebecca then went with Beatrice to find some hair bands. While we were gone Beatrice had sent George to the market to get some onions, so once we came out of the shop George and the bus were no where to be seen, we waited for ages for him whilst we were getting stopped by the men on the Boda- Boda bikes. Every single one that drove past was staring at me and Rebecca and Tony was laughing at the fact none of them were looking at the road and said we nearly caused a crash, all was okay as at quarter to 7, George finally came back and we headed back to the secondary school. On our way back to the school we came across a taxi stuck in the mud and there were children pushing it out in their bare feet.

It was dark by the time we arrived back at the school. Rebecca had the hair braided and then dinner was served. For dinner was chicken, rice and Irish; Irish is potato with a tomato sauce. After dinner we joined a campfire, and I must say English campfires have nothing on the ones in Uganda, we need to up our game! We danced all night long around the campfire listening to the band.

We also led a few songs and had everyone dancing. After the campfire we went to bed for our first night sleeping at the school; a little less luxurious compared to the hotel in Kampala, I woke up in the middle of the night freezing cold, and there was a light that outside that was solar charged and wouldn’t turn off, a bit of a reality check. Being at the secondary school has made us all realise how lucky we are, and no matter how little these student and teachers have or how hard their day is they are always laughing and smiling. 

  • the toilet was put in just for us they usually use drop holes 

Monday

We were scheduled to paint on Monday but the builders were still fitting the windows so instead we had a welcome from the school and the band. We was presented with t’shirts that read “proudly selfless” and we were then introduced to everyone. We then went to see Dismas’ favourite place called Kalaearla Falls just outside of Jinjia. 

It was absolutely beautiful, however there were people constantly asking us for money and following us; after lots of picture taking we headed to Jinja where we went to the source of the Nile; we headed for the water and had a boat ride which actually took us to the source of the Nile, the boat was made of wood and we was slightly worried as we saw the water slowly coming in, all part of the adventure though! We stayed on the boat for an hour and was taken around the area, we also got off by the source of the Nile onto a platform.

 After the boat trip we went to dinner at the black lantern which was a big surprise for all of us as when we turned up there was monkeys all around, they kept throwing their food at us, it was absolutely beautiful. 

It was also Georgina and Tony’s wedding anniversary so we presented them with a card and a bottle of wine at dinner; After dinner it was a long drive back to the secondary school, we was all fast asleep on the way home, a little squashed because we had Beatrice’s friend in our bus too. It’s the norm over here to cram as many people in a bus as you possibly can, we’ve been lucky really having the too buses driving us around. 

Tuesday

On Tuesday we was woken up at 6.15, ready for an early start on painting. We was prepared for the dormitory to be in a bad state as the builders had not finished properly and had left cement every where, so before we could start painting we had to scrape all the cement off and clean it up, our Dad’s would be proud! 


We then got painting straight away, We had some ladders made for us that wasn’t very safe so me and Jayne where holding the ladder James was on whilst painting the wall, multi tasking at its finest! It was such hard work, the walls were in an awful state and we had to lay the paint on thickly, it was still not covering very well, an a-level student came to help us we asked him he was meant to be in lesson and he just replied “not really” so I’m guessing he was but we were much more interesting.

 After we had painted it was time for a ‘bush wash’ I had two bowels of water and was washing my hair and my legs in the middle of the school field, felt so good to be clean and to have water! I was so thankful that I could wash my hair it didn’t bother me that it wasn’t hot. After school had finished we were invited to watch a football match but when we got there we were actually expected to play, so me Jayne and James played football, they all took it so seriously and it was getting rough, No one could have persuaded me to play football back home, but Uganda you’re slowly changing me. 


We walked back to the school and Graham and Chris were waiting for me to wash their hair so they got their bucket of water and I washed their hair in the school field. We sat ou on the grass for the remainder of the evening and as we were sitting talking, Graham was playing music on his speaker and girls from the school were coming over thanking us for bringing bras for them, they were so appreciative, so I take this opportunity to everyone who has donated their old bras for us all to bring out, it is such an importance to the girls out here. 

Dinner was served and we all had an early night. 

Wednesday

When Wednesday morning arrived we had another early start; Graham, Chris and Tony got straight to work on the dormitory and Jayne, Joe and Sam followed soon after. 

Evonne went to teach a GCSE Math class, I went to teach an A Level English class, James went to teach an A Level Math class and Rebecca observed a GCSE English class. I was particularly surprised that the A Level English students were reading Oliver Twist for their exam next month when they didn’t understand the London dialect so I spent a lot of the morning explaining that to them. Everyone found the lessons they were in very different to the lessons back in England because their way of teaching is so varied and they don’t tend to have much interaction from the students. 

inbetween teaching breakfast was served, Beatrice and Yudayah are really looking after us. 

The painters finished painting all they could as it was so difficult because all the girls beds were in the dormitory and the builders were putting in the glass windows, but they done a good job!

The paint brushes donated by travis perkins, Thankyou 

 After lunch, Dismas took us for a local tour and showed us some of the land that he grows food for the school on where he keeps his cattle. We was also given some corn on the cob which had been cooked for our arrival, it was very very dry but we appreciated it nevertheless. 

Dismas then took us to the Nile, him and George tried to take the buses down a footpath as much as we told them we were happy to walk, eventually the wheels were spinning and they had to let us walk. We arrived at a very calm and peaceful part of the Nile and Joe, Georgina and Evonne were quick to take their shoes off and paddle in the water. 


After a short time spent at the Nile, it was time to head back to the school, another very bumpy ride back past mud huts and families living with virtually nothing; yet the children looked so happy. 

As the sun set it was our turn to cook dinner for Dismas and the rest of the team. Everyone played their part in the meal prep, however some were a little more enthusiastic than others, dinner was served and it was a potato and veg concoction served with Tuna and/or Salmon. A little random, but it seemed to go down well, I think everyone was so hungry that night. Students in the day had told us they were organising a campfire for the weekend for us and didn’t realise we were leaving the next day so we spoke to Dismas and Dismas gave us all the clear to have a campfire on a school night. The fire was lit and the pupils came out of homework class and stopped their other jobs and joined the camp fire. There are not enough words to describe the atmosphere of a campfire in Uganda, especially Outspan school. The atmosphere was incredible and everyone was up dancing, they all went crazy when we danced with them, especially when James did. Even though James was asked if he was a “He or a She”. The campfire finished and it was time for the students to go to bed. We were all so tired that we went to bed not long after.

Thursday 

 There was no early start on Thursday so we could have a bit of a lay in, though it’s hard when the band are practicing and Graham is knocking on the window because he had been locked out. There was a big leaving ceremony put on by the school at 11am. We cut the ribbon to open the dormitory and uncovered the sign which read “lala salama” which is good night in Swahili.

As the celebrations out here are amazing. I think all of us were trying not to cry the entire way through. There was performances from different groups and speeches from the teachers which were amazing. We were all presented with presents, which was a lovely gesture to a very great experience that tested us all hugely.
Just before we left Ridvan who is a student at the school took me out on a teacher’s Boda Boda which is a motor bike. 

Otori Tours 

So today was a bit of a “chill day” for us all. We had a bit of lay in today which was nice after yesterday. We started the day with a short shopping spree, and then headed to the next door mall for a coffee and cake. We then went to visit some craft markets and Georgina was impressed by our “haggling” skills we brought loads of souveniers that we all can’t wait to bring home. 
Afterwards we went back to the hotel and was picked up by Leonard and Dismas and went on a tour. Dismas last name is Otori so that’s why we named it the Otori Tours. We first visited a museum and learnt about the culture and the history of Uganda. We also saw the presidents previous cars which were very interesting. 


We then moved on to The baha’I faith which was incredible, beautiful views and we saw three weddings that had stopped there to take photos. We went in to the main building and had to take our shoes off and remain quiet. We then had a competition to run down the hill, it was steeper than expected and Sam fell over, But all was okay. 


The next stop was Namugongo shrine, 


and we also saw a building that built last year for the popes visit, I didn’t know how I felt about this as Beatrice told us that the government money was used to build it and this shows why Uganda is such a corrupt country because there is so much poverty and there is so much struggle for clean water and electricity but yet they could afford to build this spectacular building.


We quickly moved on and drove back to the hotel, quickly got ready and went back out to a Italian restaurant and David met us there. Beatrice and Yudayah also came with us as well as Leonard and Dismis. The food was lovely and we all shared pizza and ice cream.



This is also the last day in civilisation, so that means the last blog post until Thursday as we are off to the secondary school. So please don’t worry about us we are all okay. Speak to you all on Thursday…

All of our love xxx

A Day on The Nile


Above photo:Taken from my go pro

I must start with my story of last night, after I had uploaded the blog post last night I had a present waiting for me at the reception of the hotel and it was a letter and 3 bracelets from one of the band members, who is an ex pupil. It was the most loveliest message and I’m so happy to be meeting new people and making friends for life.
We spent today white water rafting on the Nile. We were up at quarter to 6 and was picked up at 6.15, after a 2 hour bumpy off road journey we arrived in Jinja and breakfast was provided for us. We then had another 45 minute journey in a large open truck, very bumpy! 


We eventually arrived by the river and carried the rafts down to it; we had to walk bare foot and it was quite rough on our English feet. 

Once we got onto the water we practiced falling (jumping) out of the raft and pulling each other back in. In Raft 1 there was Myself, Jayne, Joe, James, Rebecca and 2 girls from Switzerland and in raft 2 there was Evonne, Sam, Chris and Graham. 


I think our instructor was purposely trying to tip our raft over because Raft 2 didn’t tip over once. We completed 4 rafts before lunch, the first one wasn’t successful as we got stuck on a rock straight away and had to evacuate on very slippy rocks, we could see the instructors panicking as they were getting us out, it was quite fun when we were safe in the safety boat and watched our raft come down the rapid with just Rebecca and the instructor, once we had eventually climbed back into our raft we continued onto rapid 2. Again as soon as we hit the first wave our boat tipped up and half of us fell out and we had to pull them back in while the instructor was shouting at us to paddle. 

We continued rapid 3 and 4 very well and no one fell out, we then got out and walked up some very steep steep steps and there was a lovely lunch awaiting us with wraps, fresh fruit, pasta and carrot cake. Luckily me and Rebecca told them we was vegetarians so we had a vegetable and cheese wraps. The view was fantastic…


After lunch we continued to on the river and completed another 4 Rapids, we did fall off a couple of times but the water was very refreshing and we did keep getting out to go for a swim.


Once we reached the end we carried our rafts to the large truck and had to get changed in a bush, what an experience. We also had our first experience of using long drop toilets which is literally just a whole in the floor. We got back into the bus and had another bumpy journey back to the hotel, very sunburnt and very tired! 

It was nice to have a shower and smother ourselves in after sun. We ate dinner in the hotel and then everyone sat around the table and played cards. 

We all heard the terrible news of the attack in France, our thoughts are with everyone affected! 

We send all of our love to our loved ones, we are all okay and we’re honestly having the time of our lives

              Good Night X