My trip to Uganda

Posted on: 05/11/2019

In October half-term from Saturday to Sunday, I and 16 others went to Uganda on a charity trip on behalf of a charity supported by the school, Edukid. I think it’s fair to say that the experience changed my life and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done and will be hard to challenge.

 

On the Sunday we had an early get up for breakfast as we were meeting the drivers and started our journey North by driving to Murchison Falls for a river safari on the Nile. We saw Hippos, crocodiles and also a giraffe and an elephant on the river bank. Despite the jet lag it was a great way to begin the trip.

 

To begin the Monday we had another early start as we were going to another safari but on land this time. This was one of the highlights of my trip as the one thing I wanted to see on the safari was lions however I was told it would be unlikely to see them as they hide in the tall grass when they sense movement. Despite what I was told, we managed to see a pack of them, they walked within metres of our vans and it was just amazing. We also got to see more elephants and giraffes along the hunt for lions. Apart from the numerous knocks on the head from potholes, it was unreal. In the afternoon we arrived at Kirombe School to an insane welcome, I felt like a celebrity. There were  dances, songs, never-ending speeches and ‘interesting’ food to say the least. This was followed by the part which I was most excited by. The famous England Vs Uganda football match. Unfortunately for me I wasn’t feeling great as a result from trying to be polite and trying all of the food they offered so I couldn’t play my best game resulting in a substitution request and feeling a bit rough for a while. The game ended in a 2-1 win to the Ugandans who played barefoot however the English were named the best team they’ve ever played against.

 

On Tuesday morning we returned to Kirombe and I, along with a biology teacher from Bideford College and some sixth formers, conducted a range of science experiments. The kids loved them and it was amazing to see how hyped they could get over some simple science experiments. Afterwards, my family got the chance to meet the boy we sponsor, Julius. When my brother and dad went last time he was very serious but this time he was smiling all of the time as we handed him our box of things we bought for him, from toys to toothpaste. It was then time to go and we said our goodbyes to Kirombe School. We then drove to two students homes in two groups, my group went to the home of a mother, her young daughter and toddler son. They were living in a leaking mud hut with little room and bare materials for cooking, washing and sleeping. The daughter also seemed like she had a type of autism which added to everyone’s dying need to help them out and make change.

 

The next day we visited another school called Koch Goma, there were more speeches, dances and songs and I managed to play it safe with the food by only eating rice. We got a tour of the school and then I got the chance to redeem myself in another match of football. We lost 5-0 I think as I began to stop keeping score but aside from a few dodgy decisions made by a Koch Goma student referee it was a great experience especially when the thunder and lightning begun, it added to the tension of having around 200 kids watching you play. I’m hoping I redeemed myself with an average game but that’s up to the others to decide. We then made our way to a market where we got the opportunity to get tailor made clothes so majority of the lads got wack shirts. It was too good an opportunity to miss.

 

On Thursday, we came back to Koch Goma and did more science experiments and I met the kid GTS sponsor, Brian. He was such a chill guy and we played football for the next hour with a group of other lads from the school. We then rounded off our visit to Koch Goma and headed to Christine’s house, a home where girls who have been raped can go to bring up their babies safely. This was the lowest point of my trip as there were girls who had been abused when they were as young as 11 and were now bringing up twins. It really was sad and I don’t think it will leave any of us for the rest of our lives.

 

To pick ourselves back up from the emotionally straining day on Thursday, we revisited the homes which we went to on Tuesday. We had bought them a variety of things ranging from school supplies to clothes for the family. We also agreed to pay their rent for a while and buy them a new tarpaulin for the roof to stop the leaks. They were so grateful and this is when Jack, Alice and Tom decided they wanted to sponsor Diplo, the young boy, to go to school when he is old enough as they made a real connection with him and couldn’t let him miss out on school. After we left the family we visited the tailoring project which was where under-privileged people went to learn a trade like sewing so they could make money. We then went back to the market for a wander round where I picked up a couple of Uganda football shirts and others did too. To round off the day, we went to Darwinton's, who ran the trip from Uganda along with my dad from England, to try all sorts of fruits and say goodbye to him, his wife and Ronald. Ronald was the up there with the nicest guys I’ve ever met, he had a dying passion for Liverpool (everyone has their faults) and he played sixth division Ugandan football along with working for another charity out in Uganda who Edukid work with.

 

On our final day in Uganda we had a long drive back to Entebbe where we found out England had beaten the All Blacks and Exeter had destroyed Plymouth and when we arrived got to have a swim in the hotel pool we’d be hanging out around. They had some diving boards which kept the students entertained for ages. We then got ready for our evening flight home and arrived back in Heathrow on Sunday morning.

 

To round up the trip it was unreal and I’m hoping to go back in a couple of years and take some mates with me. To anyone who’s thinking of going I would massively recommend it, if you get a chance don’t hang about on it and just go, you won’t regret it.

 

- Callum Duhig

 

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