Ms Maher’s Uganda Blog
[12/12 ] We arrived in the early hours but found a lovely welcoming breakfast awaiting us on our arrival at Busoga Guest house. After a quick nap we wandered into Jinja town and savoured passion fruit smoothies in The Source Cafe. The first of many pairs of African pants – to become our ‘uniform’ over the next 10 days – were purchased.
[14/12] After a sunny & very warm three days everyone is already chilled and getting used to ‘African ‘ time. This means that you do not expect anything to arrive, happen or turn up until at least 30 minutes after the arranged time!
[14/12] We were up and out very early to start on the playground at Small Steps Nursery. Funds raised by our group had been used to purchase the land in advance of our arrival and today we built a tyre playground for the children there. Our job was to paint it all – very tiring in the sun.
Covered in various shades of paint we came back to shower, change and witness the sun set at the sailing club. Well we would have done so had not the bus driver been on African time – consequently it was a warm glow by the time we got there! Excellent meals were enjoyed by all which rejuvenated us for our labours at the playground the next day.
Then we spent the afternoon in a new venture – a streetboys sanctuary – Jinja Connexion. Boys can go to Jinja Connexion from the streets & in the morning they can shower, have breakfast & spend the rest of the time playing or attending lessons. After lunch there are more classes – life skills as well as crafts & sport. Then at 4 the boys leave – sadly to return to their street existence. It is quite difficult to accept that youngsters can live and exist in such a tragic way.
Dirty & dusty we took advantage of the washing facilities at Bujagali Falls backpackers before embarking on our sunset cruise on the Nile. This did not disappoint. It was idyllic. Back on dry land we had time for a drink and to discover United had won 3-0. Perfection!!
[15/12] We walked into Jinja for some retail Christmas shopping. We had lunch in The Keep which does THE most amazing smoothies especially Kit Kat and Island Delight.
[16/12] Jane Maher: Today we spent the day at GI ASCO – Get involved with Street Children organisation. This is the organisation was established former Withington pupils Liberty Bridge & Olivia O’Malley. Had a great day, doing crafts and took them all out for a drink at a local hotel.
We ended day with milkshakes, smoothies & the most delicious brownies.
[17/12] Today we set off for a bjt of a chilling day at Wildwaters Lodge. It’s a beautiful place accessed by little boats. Some ventured into the rocky pool others sat and caught some rays. After lunch we sauntered along to see the rapids which were spectacular!
[18/12] We set off for Sunrise Baby Home. This is where orphaned children are lodged. Girls thoroughly involved themselves in bathing, changing, playing and loving these gorgeous little children.
After lunch we did our last souvenir shopping before dinner watching the sun set at Jinja Sailing Club.
[19/12] Today was our last day in Jinja and we had an early start with a 9am visit to the Home of Hope. This is a home for severely disabled children – many of whom had been abandoned for a variety of reasons such as families who could not cope or parental deaths. The home was quite a shock for the girls but they quickly got fully involved – playing with the children and distributing all the toys and stimulating items we had taken with us. Bubbles were a particular favourite! Emotional goodbyes were taken as we boarded the bus to go to the opening ceremony for the playground.
Arriving at Glory Be Nursery we were met by many children who had come especially for the day along with some very dark stormy clouds! Subsequently these developed into a huge downpour with raindrops the like we had never seen. Dust quickly became a red muddy quagmire so we had to postpone the opening and reorganise the day! We organised crafts with the children and when we realised there was not going to be any let up from the rain we had the speeches inside followed by sodas and chapattis.
Parents and many village ‘notables’ arrived so there were about 200 altogether. We were able to let the children loose on the playground at last when the rain finally stopped. Our flip flops were totally sodden – so heavy with clay – like mud!
Back at the guesthouse, we were all revived by wonderful showers – ready for our last meal at Two Friends café.
[20/12] Saturday was departure time and 3 hours later we arrived at Cassia Lodge, outside Kampala. The views and rooms were amazing, which were like arriving in heaven. The afternoon was spent in various ways but many ventured (including myself and Mrs Collard) to the pool.
[21/12] Today we went to Ngamba Island which was quite an adventure in itself! The island houses a chimp sanctuary and has to be accessed by boat. Luckily we all proved strong sailing types and managed the hour-long journey without incident. The island itself has been set up as a conservation area with all sorts of flora and exotic duck and bird life around – as well trillions of annoying lake flies! After a really fascinating talk by our guide – Bruce – we were taken to the platform to observe one of the four feeding times for the 47 chimps living there. It was amazing to watch them emerge and how they sat eating the fruit and vegetables tossed over by the guides.
After lunch in a nearby mall we returned to pack, have our last meal together before trying to get some sleep before we depart for the airport – at 1.30am!