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The Esuubi Team Blog

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By: Teya

20/07/2014: First steps in Uganda

The first blog post this year comes from our youngest team member*. At the age of just 11 months Teya has been acclimatising with Mum (Kate), Dad (...

By: Jonno

18/02/2014: Pathway to sustainability

As we progress with our development of Ekiwumulo, we are regularly asked about our “withdrawal plan”, “exit strategy” or &l...

By: Jonno

23/05/2013: Sponsorship – the good, the bad and the ugly…

As I’ve been doing my various tasks in Mityana this week, and been consistently astonished by the increases in the cost of living in Uganda, I&r...

By: Jonno

23/05/2013: Sponsorship – the good, the bad and the ugly…

As I’ve been doing my various tasks in Mityana this week, and been consistently astonished by the increases in the cost of living in Uganda, I&r...

By: Veronica

07/08/2012: Reflections on Ekiwumulo

I’ve been home for 3 days now, but I’m still desperately trying to cling on to my memories of the last 2 weeks and not fall back into t...

By: Henry

06/08/2012: Smiles

Wow. Only fifteen days ago, I faced a challenge that would change my life forever, a challenge that would bring a new view on life and how I t...

By: Jonno

02/08/2012: Leaving On A Jet Plane

  Sorry everyone, there hasn’t been a lot on the blog over the last few days, mainly due to the fact that the team have been out of ...

By: Jonno

30/07/2012: Lean On Me

As the team prepares to leave Mityana for the last time we said some emotional goodbyes.  However, during the week we've been lucky en...

By: Henry

30/07/2012: Final Farewells

Early start at 7:30 compared to the past two days, ready for our last day at Ekiwumulo, Looking forward to going on safari to rest after a long wee...

By: Hannah

30/07/2012: Fairwell Ekwumulo

An emotional last day at Ekwumulo as we said goodbye to the children before we head off tomorrow to the safari on an 8 hour drive. During our time ...

Post 21 to 30 of 79

Posted: 18:05:15 on 20/07/2014

First steps in Uganda

The first blog post this year comes from our youngest team member*. At the age of just 11 months Teya has been acclimatising with Mum (Kate), Dad (Jonno) and Granny (Andrea) for the last few days and getting to know some of the local Esuubi team.

This is my first time in Uganda, but Mummy and Daddy have told me a lot about it and I got to talk to Daddy on Skype when he was here to check up on things in February – he showed me what Mityana looked like.

The journey here was fun and I got to make lots of friends with all the people on the aeroplane. Mummy wanted me to have lots of sleep, but I walked up and down the aisles and played with the fun toys that Granny brought with her (including a book with an Alligator puppet). When we arrived it was 1am, I was very tired and went to sleep until 8 o’clock the next morning.

In Mityana we did lots of things and met lots of people. We went to visit Esuubi Café which is nearly ready but needs some finishing touches – sadly the grass hasn’t grown because there hasn’t been much rain, and the furniture needs finishing (I told them how tall to make the shelves – just a bit bigger than Daddy). I also made friends with the carpenter’s son who is 18 months old – he wanted to touch my hair and my hands (Mummy says it was because he had never seen a baby like me – I’m not quite sure what she meant by that).

Teya meets some of the children at EkiwumuloNext we went to visit Ekiwumulo Orphanage Village and School. Daddy told me what orphans are and why Esuubi helps them. I liked the children there – some were very little and others were a bit bigger – but they were all just like me and liked playing fun games and learning new things. I met some people called teachers – Mummy says they work very hard to help the children learn and give them hope of a future… I just liked them because they tickled my tummy!

Overall, I have liked Uganda a lot so far. My favourite things are the people – they are very friendly and they smile at me a lot. I can’t wait until next week when we are going to play lots of fun games at the Holiday Club that the team will be running at Ekiwumulo.

* As written by her father

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Posted: 15:31:37 on 18/02/2014

Pathway to sustainability

As we progress with our development of Ekiwumulo, we are regularly asked about our “withdrawal plan”, “exit strategy” or “plan for ongoing sustainability”, so we thought it might be interesting to explain something of our approach.

Our aim with Ekiwumulo is to develop a community which understands the values of family, friendship and care that are central to Ugandan culture. Our vision is that these values will flow into an enduring bond between the individual and the community, which in turn enables future ventures. In short, each generation is keen to help the next.

However, we recognise that these great visions require sustainable sources of funding in order to succeed. So, we have therefore put in place a number of projects to provide for the financial needs.

  • Esuubi Café – we will shortly be opening a tourist café and craft shop on one of Uganda’s busiest tourist routes. All proceeds will be going directly to our work at Ekiwumulo and on conservative estimates we believe it will fund all our work there within three years.
  • Eucalyptus plantation – Esuubi has recently invested in a large plot of land, upon which a number of Eucalyptus trees are growing. These trees can be sold for large profits and regrow quickly to provide ongoing funds.
  • Agricultural programme – our team has just begun developing several acres of farmland to provide sustainable food for all of the children and staff at Ekiwumulo

If the potential for these projects excites you as much as it excites us why not help the vision become a reality by making a donation.

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Posted: 19:11:09 on 23/05/2013

Sponsorship – the good, the bad and the ugly…

As I’ve been doing my various tasks in Mityana this week, and been consistently astonished by the increases in the cost of living in Uganda, I’ve been thinking a lot about sponsorship and how crucial it is to our ongoing running costs. This got me thinking about an article that I came across on the BBC website recently. In it they examine a piece of research that has been done into the pros and cons of child sponsorship, exploring the impacts on the children sponsored and their wider community.

Child sponsorship as a method of enabling development has been a topic of debate for some time. However, for the first time this research attempted to investigate the actual results of sponsorship programmes. And the results were pretty positive; they showed that Ugandan children who are sponsored are 42% more likely to complete secondary education than their counterparts and 83% more likely to complete university.

However, I’m not sure this tells the whole story. At Esuubi, we believe that supporting children is about more than grades and a traditional view of success. The love, care and support shown to each individual child can be just as beneficial as fantastic grades. I therefore found the psychological part of the article far more interesting than the statistical studies – and the coverage the article gave that disappointed me a bit.

From our experience child sponsorship is about more than simply offering financial support, but the emotional benefits of a child knowing that someone on the other side of the world cares for them can be massive. However, this needs to be carefully managed to make sure that the sponsorship programme does not distort the community by discriminating between different children – one of the criticisms that is often levelled at child sponsorship programmes.

This is the reason why we have set up our sponsorship programme to ensure that it not only benefits individual children, but the community in which they live as a whole. The money raised from sponsoring a child through Esuubi gives an opportunity to not just for that individual child but every child in the local area, as we work closely with the local community, providing valuable resources to everyone (sponsored and no-sponsored). Through the kind donations of our sponsors we are able to educate children from the local community, as well as those that stay at our orphanage, providing hope of a better future to the wider society.

We believe that this offers the best solution for the wider community, as it helps to ensure that the children sponsored through Esuubi are not raised above the rest of the community, but integrated into it, allowing the community as a whole to flourish.

I’m not saying we’ve got it perfect – we are as aware as anyone of our own shortcomings, but we do believe that we have seen the benefits of our programme over the last eight years. Children have grown up and achieved more than just great grades (though they have those as well) – they understand the value of the community and are often willing to give back to it.

There will always be a debate about best way of providing support (and rightly so), but as a result of our sponsorship programme we are able to show measurable improvements in the lives of those we impact, both sponsored children and those who are indirectly supported by our projects. And we are incredibly grateful to our supporters for making that possible.


Our ongoing work relies on the generous contributions of our sponsors, particularly at times such as this when the cost of living is increasing dramatically in Uganda. If you would like to provide an ongoing contribution to Esuubi to help support a child and the wider community you can find out more and set up a direct debit on the sponsorship page.

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Posted: 19:05:14 on 23/05/2013

Sponsorship – the good, the bad and the ugly…

As I’ve been doing my various tasks in Mityana this week, and been consistently astonished by the increases in the cost of living in Uganda, I’ve been thinking a lot about sponsorship and how crucial it is to our ongoing running costs. This got me thinking about an article that I came across on the BBC website recently. In it they examine a piece of research that has been done into the pros and cons of child sponsorship, exploring the impacts on the children sponsored and their wider community.

Child sponsorship as a method of enabling development has been a topic of debate for some time. However, for the first time this research attempted to investigate the actual results of sponsorship programmes. And the results were pretty positive; they showed that Ugandan children who are sponsored are 42% more likely to complete secondary education than their counterparts and 83% more likely to complete university.

However, I’m not sure this tells the whole story. At Esuubi, we believe that supporting children is about more than grades and a traditional view of success. The love, care and support shown to each individual child can be just as beneficial as fantastic grades. I therefore found the psychological part of the article far more interesting than the statistical studies – and the coverage the article gave that disappointed me a bit.

From our experience child sponsorship is about more than simply offering financial support, but the emotional benefits of a child knowing that someone on the other side of the world cares for them can be massive. However, this needs to be carefully managed to make sure that the sponsorship programme does not distort the community by discriminating between different children – one of the criticisms that is often levelled at child sponsorship programmes.

This is the reason why we have set up our sponsorship programme to ensure that it not only benefits individual children, but the community in which they live as a whole. The money raised from sponsoring a child through Esuubi gives an opportunity to not just for that individual child but every child in the local area, as we work closely with the local community, providing valuable resources to everyone (sponsored and no-sponsored). Through the kind donations of our sponsors we are able to educate children from the local community, as well as those that stay at our orphanage, providing hope of a better future to the wider society.

We believe that this offers the best solution for the wider community, as it helps to ensure that the children sponsored through Esuubi are not raised above the rest of the community, but integrated into it, allowing the community as a whole to flourish.

I’m not saying we’ve got it perfect – we are as aware as anyone of our own shortcomings, but we do believe that we have seen the benefits of our programme over the last eight years. Children have grown up and achieved more than just great grades (though they have those as well) – they understand the value of the community and are often willing to give back to it.

There will always be a debate about best way of providing support (and rightly so), but as a result of our sponsorship programme we are able to show measurable improvements in the lives of those we impact, both sponsored children and those who are indirectly supported by our projects. And we are incredibly grateful to our supporters for making that possible.


Our ongoing work relies on the generous contributions of our sponsors, particularly at times such as this when the cost of living is increasing dramatically in Uganda. If you would like to provide an ongoing contribution to Esuubi to help support a child and the wider community you can find out more and set up a direct debit on the sponsorship page.

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Posted: 13:03:29 on 07/08/2012

Reflections on Ekiwumulo

I’ve been home for 3 days now, but I’m still desperately trying to cling on to my memories of the last 2 weeks and not fall back into the hustle and bustle of life back in the UK. My first reaction at being back home is the amount of material things that we have and the choices that we have. On my first visit to Sainsbury’s I found myself staring at the rows of clothes and food, looking at the wide variety and asking myself if we really needed all this! My husband remarked that it looked like Maddy and I had never been in a supermarket before! In some ways I miss the simplicity of the food and surprisingly I don’t find myself longing for chocolate or a curry! Instead I’m enjoying pineapple (and even rice!).

So how has by trip to Uganda and the time at Ekiwumulo affected me? Ekiwumulo is an amazing place, it is a place that receives broken hearts and lives and mends them. The children there are happy and content with what little they have and are one big family. They all look after each other and are very accepting and loving of one another and others. It was wonderful to arrive at Ekiwumulo each morning and be greeted by a child slipping their hand into yours or wanting to be picked up. It was an honour to be able to spend time with them and give and receive love. These children are not deterred by the lack of clean water and electricity; they do not need mobile phones and electronic games. They are content with what they have and never complain. There is some wonderful work going on at Ekiwumulo – teaching, learning, playing, growing, caring, life skills, healthcare – a future for the children. These children are educated through primary school at Ekiwumulo, onto secondary school and some through university. Ekiwumulo cares for orphans and other abandoned and vulnerable children and offers them a future.

I was particularly amazed at what Kate (and trustees) have achieved at Ekiwumulo and the extent of the work. A school, nursery classrooms, dormitories, an assembly hall, kitchen, admin block, library, etc…. the building work is on-going and there is always growth and work to be done! I was involved in the painting and decorating of some of the nursery classrooms and it was great to see the undecorated classrooms transformed within a matter of days, and the delight on the children’s faces when they saw the completed classrooms!

So now I’m left thinking about what I can do now I’m back home! Esuubi is seeking to have a sustainable future and the completion of the Café on the tourist route between Mityana and Mubende will not only provide funding for Ekiwumulo, but also employment and work experience for some of the children. A much bigger challenge is the purchasing of land next to Ekiwumulo village for £70K which in the long-term will increase the sustainability of the work of Esuubi. The additional land would enable the building of a secondary school, further vocational agricultural projects and other vital services. My challenge is to look at ways in which I can fundraise. My challenge to you is to think about what you have, what you could do without and what you could donate to Esuubi!

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Posted: 12:13:49 on 06/08/2012

Smiles

Wow. Only fifteen days ago, I faced a challenge that would change my life forever, a challenge that would bring a new view on life and how I treat it. fifteen days ago I left for a country that would look visibly different to the UK, I left for a country that had no clean running water and experienced frequent power cuts, something that to many people here in Great Britain would be devastating, no electricity means no laptop, no TV, no computer games, complete sadness. When I visited Uganda, I saw smiles on every face, joy in every home and love in every town. Not sadness and dispute due to the lack of power and water, but happiness due to the power and strength that every Ugandan carries.

I worked closely with the school choir that were excited when we planned to record their amazing voices but when power became an issue and we stopped working, faces didn't drop, smiles didn't frown. Instead they rose, all the more time to sing, everywhere I saw members of the group, they would be singing with smiles all around.

A song the choir sang to us was called, 'Shine Africa',  part of the song talks about hearing fighting and killing but replies with, "We must love one another," regardless what happens to the people of Uganda, they will get back up again and carry on, only with greater power and strength and happiness and joy.

I now look back on my experiences, I look at how my life has changed, I look at how I will take everyday and shake it by the shoulders ensuring I make the most of all it offers, I look around my life and I see luxuries like a TV, computer, clean water, access to all my friends and family by the press of a few buttons. Then I look at Uganda, there’s no need for TV, a computer, immediate access to everyone known, but a country that can work around anything that may harm or prevent them from reaching their goals, a country that does not know the meaning of sadness and therefore makes the most of every day, pushing their power, strength, happiness, love and faith to its highest potential to achieve eternal joy.

Thank you again, Kate and Jonno for an amazing two weeks and all the hard work you have put into making the trip productive and successful and thank you to the rest of the team for making an unforgettable two weeks that have changed many lives.

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Posted: 21:49:05 on 02/08/2012

Leaving On A Jet Plane

 

Sorry everyone, there hasn’t been a lot on the blog over the last few days, mainly due to the fact that the team have been out of decent mobile signal for a few days but also down to my forgetting to post my reflections (as written during my flight home on Wednesday)!

Having watched 58 people say their tearful goodbyes to the children at Ekiwumulo, on Tuesday it was my turn… don’t worry, I didn’t cry at the time (I saved that for when I was alone in a small, dark room!)

So as I sit on a plane, having had a hot shower in Entebe, done a fruitless search through the wood shop for a birthday present for Kate and bought the obligatory bag of Haribo for the flight, here are my final thoughts on the trip and the teams:

  • We are lucky enough to know some thoroughly amazing people in Uganda and I am so proud to call them friends. Their capacity to love, care, serve and forgive is absolutely astonishing and thoroughly inspiring.
  • Being in different surroundings can cause even the most sane people to say the weirdest things – for example a lady we encountered who asked “What’s the difference between tomato soup and vegetable soup?” (Team members - Feel free to name and shame other team members who are guilty of other such lines in the comments section below!)
  • I find it incredibly difficult when Ugandans (particularly the Esuubi team in Uganda) say thank you for the work we are doing. I think this partly relates to the feeling that there is so much more that can and should be done, but also the role that our Western culture (in which we all play a part) plays in stopping the change that is really required becoming a reality.
  • Chips and English cake are tasty, but I miss Uganda

The blog will carry on with more thoughts and feedback on the trip as well as general Esuubi news, so please do keep checking it out. We will also post some of the best photos from both trips on our Facebook page – so make sure you “like” that so you can see everything that we got up to. Team members – feel free to add your own photos to the page as well.

Thank you to everyone that took part in the teams and followed the blogs – your support is really appreciated. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the thoughts feelings and emotions of the two teams, if you’ve been inspired to join us on a future trip feel free to get in touch.

P.S. In case anyone’s wondering why the main bulk of the team hasn’t blogged for a few days, that will be to do with the horrendous journey they had out to Queen Elisabeth National Park (suffice to say it started at 7.30am when the company providing the safari vehicles informed us that they had booked the vehicles for the wrong day and didn’t improve much from there!) and the lack of mobile internet signal over the last few days.

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Posted: 19:30:42 on 30/07/2012

Lean On Me


As the team prepares to leave Mityana for the last time we said some emotional goodbyes. 

However, during the week we've been lucky enough to have a couple of very talented guys doings some recording for a CD. So we have something to remember the kids by... take a listen to the rough mix of one of the tracks above.

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Posted: 18:52:52 on 30/07/2012

Final Farewells

Early start at 7:30 compared to the past two days, ready for our last day at Ekiwumulo, Looking forward to going on safari to rest after a long week but dreading the bus journey home from the school.

Arriving at the school, we were greeted by the kids waving frantically ready for another day of play and hands to hold. Starting with a litter pick around the school and orphanage gave me an insight into how much they care for the site, everyone running about, working together to sustain a clean and beautiful place where hearts can be repaired and be given a future.

Before lunch all of us including the children were seated in a classroom for a good bye presentation that was to be a series of un-expected events that would make such a day unforgettable. To start of the show, the choir danced for us, and then when they were done, three of the team were invited to join in un-expectedly, Charlene giving it all, matching what the choir had given. Not long before Teacher Anne called upon me to sing a song...

With the aid of the Doctor, we sang, 'Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.' not the greatest highlight of the day but luckily we were soon joined by the choir again and others to dance to a Ugandan pop song.

Before lunch we were also dazzled by Ann's rendition of Noah's Ark that with the use of a magic cloth, the children were amazed but would also be by nicks magic trick incorporating how Ekiwumulo fixes broken hearts and makes them whole again.

We arrived back at Kolping Hotel to begin packing ready to head off to the safari park early in the morning, ending a magnificent week that I will never forget.

Thank you to Kate and Jonno for an amazing and unforgettable week that has changed the way I will think about others and life.

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Posted: 16:49:34 on 30/07/2012

Fairwell Ekwumulo

An emotional last day at Ekwumulo as we said goodbye to the children before we head off tomorrow to the safari on an 8 hour drive. During our time at the orphanage the nursery has been completed as well as a couple of dorms. However there was to be no slacking this morning as the administration block still was unfinished so we all set about painting,sanding and varnishing. The children had prepared a  presentation of poetry, dance and songs to say goodbye. Some unlucky few were dragged into the entertainment including myself where I truly discovered how much rhythm i lacked. The finale ended with the whole school dancing to various Ugandan songs.

After lunch Liz and I did another face painting session after the success of the one earlier this week. One of the older girls has been making me bracelets and been giving them to me throughout my stay. Today i was able to repay her with one i had made last night with other members of the team. It was great to give it to her but also hard to say goodbye.

We set off earlier than usual to organize our packing for tomorrow and set off in a bumpy bus ride one last time before the more luxurious jeeps (in comparison) that will take us on Safari tomorrow. Greatly looking forward to warm showers and seeing the animals in their natural habitat.
Missing you all at home and can't wait to see you all later this week.

Hannah and Eve xxx

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