Saturday 21st February - from everyone
Mackenzie - Happy Birthday to me! Being the first student on the trip awake makes no change, but I decided I wanted to watch the sun rise once again (one of my favourite ways to wake up now) Yesterday was incredibly hard to say goodbye to all of the children who I’ve grown to care for. But the excitement of coming home is just about enough to counteract the sadness. It has been an incredible, eye opening trip that will stay with me for ever, so I thank everyone involved in organising it. But now, just over 12 hours from leaving for the airport, all I need is a huge hug mum!
Jodie - I have really enjoyed my time here in Africa and I have found a passion that I really want to return and help the community that we as a team have been working with all week. The hardest thing for me was to say goodbye to the Acholi ladies last night especially Debbie who was the interpreter at the church I was in. I cannot wait to get back and see my family and give everyone a massive hug. Jodie x
Drew - I have enjoyed this trip so much. At the start of the trip I really started to miss home but once I had read your comments I knew that you were safe. I loved working with the children and teaching them new things it made me smile every time and the translators were so nice. I am ready to come home now to see you all and I can’t wait to go out for our family meal. Love you loads. Drew xx
Lewis - The trip has been amazing for me. It has been an extremely eye-opening experience that I will never forget. Working with the Acholi community and seeing the difference we have been making has made the trip better than I could have ever thought. The love and appreciation the children have shown for the mzungu’s is beyond anything we could have imagined. I know the trip has changed me as a person and I will view everyone and everything in a different light after seeing how they live out here. I love Uganda and hope that I can come back again sometime in the future. I’m just dreading the painful plane back now. Huge thanks are in order for those who made it possible for me to go on this trip and made it so good: the AfriDACA Team and staff, CRED Foundation, Helen and Lorna, John and Sophie Njendahayo for hosting us, Steven the world’s best bus driver (and a class ringtone), my family, in particular my Granddad Matt. Without his aid in raising all the funds for the trip I never would have been able to do it as I did so to him, thank you so much. I could stay here forever (no offence to the UK) and to be honest I don’t want to come back. This has been the best experience of my life and I will never forget it. See you all when we’re back to cold Manchester.
Nathan - The trip has really made me appreciate things that we have back home, I think we already take phones, food and other as we see them as normal things to have but we also take the smallest thing for granted too like having a secure home, a room to our selves, a good roof etc. when in fact over here they’d feel blessed to have any of those things. The hardest thing for me personally was seeing the kids we had taught within the week crying as they waved us off as it showed the impact we had made and really put it in perspective.
Danny - The whole experience from getting on the plane to going home has been amazing. When teaching in the Acholi quarter the children never failed to put a smile on my face, but brought a tear to my eye when leaving. The whole experience has made me reflect on my life back home, both family life and day to day. Whilst teaching the children it was great to see the difference we was making to their lives and the community. As a group I believe we’ve been strong, pulling together at the most difficult of times whilst still performing. I feel the trip has sparked some motivation for my future and definitely opened my eyes. Finally I would like to thank all of the AfriDACA team especially the CRED foundation, John and Sophie our hosts during our stay in Uganda and the staff for arranging the once in a life time opportunity I will surely never forget .Danny x
Vicky - This week has gone incredibly fast, from dancing in the church to teaching the Acholi community to a boat ride on Lake Victoria. The children inspired me; they smile and laugh at the littlest of things despite they are living in poverty. They are so grateful for education and I’m proud to say I have given them some education even if it was only for a week. We moan if we don’t like what’s for tea, how is that even a comparison when they might not even eat all day, it is no comparison. It has made me realise how much we actually take for granted and how you can still have a good time without your phone and internet. Couldn’t have asked for a better team to be with and if you ever get the opportunity to go on a similar trip, take it!! Leaving the children on Friday was a struggle, two little girls I have taught all week wrapped themselves around me and wouldn’t let go. I am still taking it all in but already it has made me appreciate more and I’m not ready to come home yet.
Carly - The trip really has been life changing and made me put my life into perspective. The Acholi community we worked in survived off the bare minimum and were still so happy to be alive and appreciate what they had. This has definitely made me appreciate everything I have and not take anything for granted. Teaching the children something new made me so proud and seeing them smiling was so heart-warming. Saying goodbye to them knowing we wouldn’t see them again was my biggest challenge but knowing that we have made a difference even though we were only there for a week is amazing. The team has been great and we’ve supported each other so well. Overall everything I have experienced has changed my life in its own little way and has inspired me to help others and do the best that I can possibly do
Joe - The first thing that I would like to say is thank you to DACA and the cred team for giving us the opportunity to experience some of the lives in Acholi. I am truly proud to be a part of this team and what we have achieved here, the lives of ourselves and the children will never be the same again. The friendships that have been created though the laughter and struggles will last a lifetime. I wish that I could wake up to the smiles and laughter of the Acholi children everyday but sadly this trip is coming to end wish saddens me greatly. The house visit was definitely an eye opener for me, seeing how little they survive on but are still some of the happiest and thankful people I have ever met. This trip has definitely changed me for the better; I will definitely be coming back to Uganda again to catch up with john, the cred team and all of the amazing Acholi community.
Jaden - I would like to thank all the parents back home for their continuing support, as you can imagine it has been greatly appreciated. Honestly I can’t explain in words how much I have enjoyed this week, its saddens me deeply that it has all come to an end. Not being able to see the smiles of the young kids I taught anymore will be heart breaking, I just hope in the near future I can return with such a brilliant and inspirational team. My aim was to come on this chance of a life time experience and make a difference to the Acholi community; I can proudly say that I have fulfilled this. Well done team.
Jack - Everyone is aware of the living conditions people have to endure in all slums around the world, but you can’t truly understand it until you have witnessed it for yourself. This week has been such an eye opening experience that we are all going to find difficult to explain to everyone back home. I’d like to thank all the staff involved at DACA and CRED for making this trip possible and providing us with a once in a lifetime experience. The entire team have performed to the very best of our abilities and made every day a fun one for the kids of Acholi. Being a member of the AfriDACA team is something I will remember for the rest of my life.
Mollie - WOW what an experience this has been! It is impossible to think about the past week without a thousand thoughts going through my mind but also without it putting a huge smile on my face. It has been a week of complete mixed emotions. This week has made me realise that I need to appreciate everything in life even the little things which go un-noticed like education. Being with the children and the ladies in Acholi quarters has been amazing, just to see the constant smiles on their faces makes you think; despite how little they have they are still smiling and having fun. I wish I could have that satisfaction. I wish I could help each and every one of the people here but that is an impossible task, I’ve started off with teaching the children of Acholi quarter for a short week but I hope the future will lead to more. Leaving the children was hard but rewarding knowing that we made that small difference to their lives. A huge thank you to Helen, CRED, Mr Earnshaw, the Acholi quarter and our hosts John and Sophie for this eye opening, once in a life time opportunity and also the BIGGEST thank you to Steven the driver, all of the incredible DACA staff and all of the AfriDACA students for helping to make this trip one that I’ll never forget.– Good job team. Mollie x
Tom - This has been a crazy eye opening week which I won’t forget; I have learnt not to take things for granted. We are lucky to live in such good conditions with more than one room that we don’t have to have share with 4 people and chickens. It’s great to see how happy all the kids are when they know they have little to eat and drink and are living to survive. Big thanks to CRED, ALL DACA staff, all family and friends, John, Sophie, Steven and the Acholi Quarter for making this trip happen. And of course the squad it’s self
Travis - It’s been a wild week that has no doubt physically and mentally drained everyone on the trip in their own ways but it has been one I will most likely never forget. It is truly amazing to see how happy many of those in the Acholi Quarter are despite their personal conditions and situations, and I can understand why many of us may feel annoyed when we return to Britain. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the trip and would do it all over again, given the chance. So I’d like to say a big thanks to all of those involved including the DACA staff, the Acholi Ladies, Lorna and Helen from CRED, John and Sophie, our hosts, and last but not least, Steven the bus driver!
John - This week has been no doubt one of the best weeks of my life and I would quite happily give up all my half terms including summer despite the heat to come to Uganda and make those children happy by teaching them. Everything you did for the children made them happy simply giving them rubbers they seemed so shocked and happy to be receiving something as little as a rubber it was simply amazing. The whole team has shocked me in a really good way seeing everyone weeks before I thought some people would really get on my nerves but the team has been brilliant and I’ve loved it. This whole trip will no doubt and has already I feel made me a better person I would like to say thanks to the; DACA team teachers and students, CRED , Helen and Lorna, The Acholi ladies, John and Sophie as well as their helper as well as the brilliant bus driver Steven
Toby - Hi all as of writing this we are travelling back from Jinja on the bus after a great day of shopping around craft shops and also after having a boat ride on the river Nile. I would like to thank CRED and DACA for having the chance to go on this once in a life time trip, I would also like to thank the amazing AfriDACA team as the trip would not have been the same without all of them and finally I would like to thank John and Sophie our wonderful hosts for being so welcoming and for providing us with a great place to stay and feeding us all lovely meals. This trip has definitely changed me as a person as I have learned to live for the simple things in life and always be happy just like the kids in the Acholi community. While on this trip I have really enjoyed myself and I would definitely love to come back as Uganda is probably one of my favourite places on earth right now. Thanks again to everyone involved in the trip for giving me this experience and making it one of the best if not the best experiences of my life, although I am really going to miss this place I am looking forward to going home and seeing all my family, I am a bit disappointed as I did not get a tan but this is an experience I will never forget and I wish I can come back and do it again.
Amy - This trip has made me realise how much I take for granted back in England. Whilst being out here I have been told so many different stories that have inspired me and made me realise that if you have a dream, you can make it happen if you put all your effort into it. If I was to say anything negative about this trip it would be that it has made me angry as people back in the UK moan about money and that they haven’t got enough of it and then there’s the individuals that live in Uganda who hardly have any money and they still manage to get on with their lives instead of staying at home and getting paid to do nothing. This week has been mentally and physically draining but all of the planning has been worth it and I will be coming away from the trip as a different individual who has different views on things. It has been such a life changing experience and I have learnt a lot about myself and I couldn’t have done that without all of the people that have been around me before the trip and during the trip. Big thanks to everyone!!!!
Rowan - I could not have imagined how much I would have enjoyed every single second of my first trip to Africa and the beautiful country of Uganda. This week has been filled with moments of laughter and pure joy but also with moments of overwhelming sadness. The spirit of the children and the people of the Acholi community is inspiring, they are full of hope and joy when many of their lives are full of pain and suffering. It will take me a while to process everything I have learned during this short but incredible trp. I hope I will continue to feel inspired when I am back at home and remember that the simple things in life often bring the most joy and above all to remain hopeful.
Lorna - What an amazing experience in Uganda the people are so warm and welcoming. I will never forget the cheer from the children in the Acholi community when we arrived on the first day to teach. Humbling and heart-warming, those that have the least are often the most generous. Thank you to staff and pupils from DACA what a fantastic team you are. I shall never forget my experiences in Uganda or the people I have met.
Becky - What an inspiring and unforgettable trip to Uganda. Never having been to Africa before it has been overwhelming to take in all the experiences I have had. From the children running from their houses to wave at us to visiting the Acholi ladies in their homes, this has been a huge eye-opener. I am very grateful to both the staff and students from DACA and CRED for making this experience so life-changing. It will take time to process everything we have experienced on this trip – so my blog is short and sweet.
Alan - This trip has been unique it has been absolutely inspirational on so many levels. The people of Acholi are just fantastic they have very little yet their faith and community spirit mean they can live with huge smiles on their faces. I feel very humbled and privileged to have been part of this experience. Seeing the Acholi children make huge progress in their education in such a short time and seeing our students develop so much is why I went into teaching. I would like to thank Helen and Lorna from CRED it has been magic working with you, also to the staff and students from DACA it has been a brilliant team effort. John and Sophie have been great hosts – and I have to mention the food (unlike me!!!!!!!!) it has been tops. It will take a long time to process all that we have seen and done but it has certainly had a profound effect on us all. I pray that the Acholi spirit can live with us and that we can continue to remember how fortunate we are in our lives back in England. Thanks Sayley
Paul - Wow! As I write, one journey (Afridaca Uganda 2015) is coming to an end, but so many more personal and meaningful ones are in the process of starting in the hearts and minds of the most amazing group of individuals that you could ever meet. For some it may take a little while to process all that they have experienced over the last few days in Kampala and in particular in the Acholi Quarter, but as they all do they will realise that they have grasped the opportunity that they have had with both hands and given it a massive shake. The ripple effects of their behaviour, actions and pure love that they have shown to everybody that they have worked with will be felt for a long time, and as they work out where their own journeys will take them I am certain that they will shape the future of so many more people in a positive way. It has been humbling and powerful to be the Group Leader with this team of DACA staff, students and CRED Leaders.
There are so many people to thank here in Uganda and to be honest the students and staff have covered them in detail above. The following are from me at a personal level. Helen as team Leader has not only guided us in the logistics of the trip but has provided opportunities for people to find where they are emotionally and spiritually and her actions have touched the hearts of the whole team. Lorna has given of her time freely, away from her own family, to share her expertise and passion with the students. The DACA staff -Sayley, Becky and Rowan – I knew you were all amazing, I just hadn’t realised quite how much. The work that you have done this week goes beyond anything anybody can ask from their staff and it shows in the respect that the students all have for each and every one of you. My final thank you on the blog is to all the families of the students and staff. Through the blog comments it feels like have been on this journey with us every single step of the way. I know you are all proud of the young person that you represent, but they are amazing because of where they have come from. Thank you for trusting in us and allowing them to share in this incredible process from the very start at the parents’ meeting to now as we plan the long flight home I know that you will to continue to support them as they journey on from this point in time.
AfriDACA 2017 – Who knows? The only thing that we can say for certain is that any future teams need to be aware that they have an amazingly high standard to live up to, the bar has been raised!!!
And finally, Helen – the easy comment to write here would be ditto to all of the above! This has been one very special trip, with some incredibly wonderful young people on it, as well as top class staff. Each and every person has been uniquely important in how this trip has turned out, and the team has been just perfect in every way. Thank you to all of you back home for letting them come – whether they are husband / wife / partner / daughter / son / brother / sister etc. Without them the Acholi children would have had a lesser experience this past week.
And thanks for some wonderful blog comments – they have been the highlight of breakfast each morning, and set us up for the day. I feel like I now know what everyone will be having for their homecoming dinner tomorrow, and am fully up to date on all things northern football!
Just one specific thanks on the team front and that is to Paul who has driven this trip from the DACA end so selflessly, and thanks to his family for supporting him in it all. I know the lead up to a trip can be a bumpy road, and Paul has been an absolute star in pulling everything together. Thanks from everyone Paul.
Now it is time for home, and I wish you all happy reunions. Please be patient with us all – lots has happened to reshape perspectives and views of life, and there will be some bumpy moments as we re-enter the old ways of life, but no longer the same people as we left them. Everyone responds to re-entry differently, and we have chatted about this as a group, including the support available at DACA. But if any of you want to chat to me at all, then do drop me a line or give me a call – Paul has all my contact details or they are on the cred website.
So, have lovely times getting your young people back, and on behalf of CRED thank you for them – you all ought to be incredibly proud of who they are and all that they have achieved. Here’s to the next trip!