Today has been our final full day in Uganda. This time tomorrow we will be on a plane destination UK (via Addis Ababa for a 5 hour stopover).
We’ve spent the day partly at St Joseph’s school, doing the same activities as yesterday, but switching classes, so that by the end of our time there all the children had had a couple of sessions with the team. Tie – dye continues to be a big hit, and I have a feeling it won’t be the last time it features on a CRED Trip activity list!
And then in the afternoon we split and half of the team painted the kitchen that they had helped plaster last week. This kitchen was built by a previous team, and its existence doubles the living space of the family who live next to the Maya clinic. Their house is a single room structure, and the addition of a kitchen means that they have somewhere sheltered to cook when it rains, and somewhere weatherproof to store any foodstuffs that they grow. Such a basic thing, and one we would expect to automatically have within any place we live, but definitely not the norm for so many living in poverty out here.
The other half of the team returned to Acholi Quarters for a final afternoon, to do some activities with the children there and to give Helen and John the chance to chat with Harriet and her team about a few issues relating to supporting some of the children with educational assistance. After the chaos of the previous time we had been there, it was lovely to just have a bit of time to hang out with some of the children in a more relaxed environment.
The final evening is being celebrated by a meal out at Café Java – a chance to reflect on all we have achieved, on the laughs and tears we have shared, and on the new insights into so much of life that we have gained. It also means that Sophie and Annette, who have been cooking such wonderful meals for us since we got here, can have the night off and enjoy their favourite soaps that happen to be on TV on a Thursday!
Before I finish with my final thoughts about this trip, and the team, here is a sentence or short paragraph from each of the team members, summing up their thoughts about the trip:
Bails- I think Uganda is in extreme poverty but at the same time it is very very beautiful.
Joe-what an amazing but at the same time shocking experience, real eye opener and stunning country! So proud of the team as a whole.
Jess- such a great country, fantastic experience yet at times overwhelming, brilliant team, loved every minute. Especially david J
Nassar – such an inspiring trip, great people, amazing projects and an extremely worthwhile opportunity. The team as whole should be proud.
Liam – A life changing experience. It really made me think about my future and the future of others. I have loved the trip and the team; proud of us all.
Titch – I enjoyed the experience of the team of the painting and with the children aswell im so pround of the team
Leonie – How can a country of such beauty hold so much sadness and poverty. An experience I will never forget. It will not be the last time I visit you Uganda J
Adam – my eyes have been opened so much by seeing the beauty of Uganda in the people and children we have met, I feel very lucky they let us into their lives and help change them and in the same way my life views being changed so much too.
David – Uganda: a place full of beauty, just not enough to hide the sadness and pain. This has been an experience that I’m sure I will never forget. I will look back with such pride at what the team have accomplished within these two weeks. I am truly thankful of Leonie for inviting me on this trip, because I honestly think that this has changed me for the better. The trip has truly opened my eyes to endless amounts of possibilities and plans that I have for the future. Goodbye for now Uganda.
Dan – That feeling of arriving here feeling like ages ago, yet it’s all gone so quickly! Amazing to meet so many amazing people and visit such inspiring projects. All made possible through the hospitality of our incredible hosts with the support of their team and Helen, with her heart for the people, the place, and the team members. If it weren’t for my family at home, I wish I could have stayed. Proud of what the group has achieved, within themselves as much as anything else.
Helen – as team leader, and blog uploader I have the privilege of going last on this bit, and being able to say a few sentences to round the trip off.
Firstly I must say what an incredible team it has been my joy to lead. Given the massive diversity in personalities, backgrounds, and previous experiences, and given some of the tensions that were present during the pre-trip period, everyone has worked together brilliantly well. There has been no hierarchy, no selfish attitudes, no sub-groups forming – everyone has mucked in, taken their turns as leader or assistant, supported each other, laughed together, cried together, and just been there for each other. They have given of themselves, for the sake of the children in the projects we at CRED are proud to call our partners, and they have given of themselves selflessly, to make a difference to others.
The personal development that has been evident in each of the team members has been really lovely to see; from realising that they can stand up in front of a class and lead a session, to coping with the creepy-crawlies that were rather daunting at first, to chatting about their new perspectives on life as a result of what they’ve seen, heard and experienced. This is part of what we always hope will happen on a CRED Team Trip – that the participants will be changed, as they give of themselves to others, in new ways, in a new environment, as part of a team. And this trip has seen those changes, in each of the individuals, in different ways, and I hope that you will see the changes as well, when they get home
Just a warning on the home-coming: please be gentle with them – there is a lot of processing going on still, and the return to UK culture can often be hard. Things that were previously taken for granted now have a new perspective, habits that were previously the norm now can grate slightly as they are compared to the poverty and hardship that we have seen in Uganda.
Everyone reacts differently when they get home – some say a lot, some say not much, some find it easy, some find it hard. Thank you for being there for them, as they adjust back to life in the UK – living in the same routine as before, but no longer the same person as before.
Be proud of your loved one – they have all achieved so much. I hope that reading the blog has been an inspirational and special time for you, and that you have gained an insight into what we have been involved with. If you have been inspired, can I ask you to consider one simple action. The team didn’t quite manage to raise all their funds before coming away, and so still have that hanging over them. If everyone that reads this blog feels able to donate just £10 each it will wipe out their debt, and the team can then focus on doing fundraising efforts for the projects instead.
If you would like to make such a donation please go to www.justgiving.com/UK2Uganda. I know many of you have already been very generous, so please don’t feel obliged, and any money raised above the amount they still owe will go to support the projects we have been involved in. How lovely it would be for the team if they got home and found that they had inspired enough people to put their hands in the pockets and pay that final amount.
Enough from me – thank you to all of you for your wonderful young people, and for the joy and happiness that they have brought to others. Have a lovely reunion with them, and enjoy hearing the stories as they emerge.
Blessings to you