For our trip to Uganda this September, we had 8 of us from the U.K. visit Kyazanga village in Lwengo district. (L to R) Andrew Farrell, Heather Belcher, Charlie Belcher, Kevin Belcher, Hayley Carr, Sue Cannon, Ellie Hindley (at the back) and Joseph Lukwago. After sorting a couple of lost bags, our first day was spent with the family with the best welcome you could ask for!
After sleeping off the flight, we went straight to action to support the medical camp that was organised at Kyazanga Modern Primary School.
These medical camps are solely serving humanity by taking care of the sick children and adults and giving them healthcare services for free. We had two medical professionals who worked with the local doctors whilst the rest of the team helped the organisation. On this day we were able to treat 530 people and test 80 people for HIV. These camps that are run three times a year are many of the locals only access to medical care with some walking hours to get to the camp.
The day afterwards was a Sunday, so the group went to the local church. We all felt extremely welcome with performances from the choir and school dance group. Our Joy For Humanity Chairman Kevin preached to the congregation and was even awarded a certificate of appreciation for all the work he has done for the church! We then had a lovely meal with the congregation and ate at the pastors home.
Our Monday was spent visiting the local families that Joy for Humanity supports by mentoring them individually to help them eradicate generational poverty. One of the best things about this experience was seeing some families who had been transformed since our last visit. One case for example, upon the first visit in September 2017 the father was bed-bound and unable to work, and the mother was lost as to how to help him and her five children. Since this, the father has been given the medication he needed and has been able to build an extension on the house, attend to his land and now some of his children currently attend Kyazanga Modern Primary School. They also now have a goat that can provide them with a living, the happiness of the family was infectious.
After these visits, we met with Rural Education and Action for Development (READ) leaders to discuss the progress of the initial chicken project. We also discovered that the teachers of the school have been breeding pigs in the same area with great success, so we have also found a potential to develop the project further for the benefit of the community.
Tuesday was a back to school day! There is nothing quite like the welcome of 600 smiling, laughing and cheering children. We were treated to performances from their dance group as well as the brass band. We teamed up into pairs and taught lessons to 2 different classes each, all utilising our experience from back home. We also had a workshop with the brilliant teachers to discuss ways of working with children as well as in a team. And of course, we can’t forget the football match of 2018 (no not the World Cup!), the visitors and students vs the teachers. The visitor/student team won 3:2 much to the delight of the students!
Wednesday to Friday we were lucky enough to go for a safari at queen Elizabeth national park. On our way, we visited Kitagata Hot Springs, saw tree-climbing Lions, Uganda Kob, Elephants, Buffaloes, lots of hippos, Crocodiles, Waterbucks, Warthogs and a range of beautiful birds. Whilst we were in the beauty of Ugandan nature, this was a perfect time to reflect on what we had seen and how we could move forward as an organisation in the future.
When we returned on Friday, we had a lovely dinner with the teachers of Kyazanga Modern Primary School which was a perfect time to get to know them better. Our final day on Saturday we spent discussing plans for the future with the Joy for Humanity team members and getting their opinions on what our priorities should be. We then spent the afternoon with the women’s group and saw the lovely craftwork that they create as well as the children of the community who were playing games not seen in the U.K.!
Our last evening was a great time spent with the family. We said goodbye to one of the aforementioned pigs…but it made a very tasty meal!
Although I have summed up what we actually did this week, it’s extremely hard to express the emotions triggered into words. The kindness and welcome of the family truly cannot be described, they indeed are our family away from home. As well as this, it was nothing other than heartbreaking to witness the effect of poverty on the people of the area. But then, on the other hand, it was a privilege to meet the families that have been transformed by the work done by Joy for Humanity. All we need to do is keep going, and the success stories will multiply and tragedies only become fewer.
September 2018 Mission and Pleasure Trip blog by Joy for Humanity Ambassador Ellie Hindley.