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The Esuubi Team Blog

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By: Charlotte

25/07/2012: My second day at Ekiwumulo

Today myself and Phoebe woke up at about 7.30 and got ready for another day at Ekiwumulo. Yesterday I spent the day doing medical checks which cons...

By: Jayne

24/07/2012: Five things we forgot about Uganda - then remembered when we came back

Jayne and Nat have both been to Uganda with Esuubi before... here they reflect on a few things that they have remembered in their first few days ba...

By: Katja

24/07/2012: First Full Day

After arriving at Entebbe yesterday and arriving here in Mityana, today was the first full day working at the school and orphanage. Some of the gro...

By: Nilogini

24/07/2012: End of one journey, beginning of another

 It has been a privilege to be part of the Esuubi team and work with the children in Uganda. This trip has created ever-lasting memories that ...

By: Jonno

23/07/2012: Team 2 has arrived!

After a wonderful night of watching films on the plane and gentle drive through the rolling hills of Mityana, Team 2 has now arrived in Mityana. ...

By: Jonno

22/07/2012: A beginner's guide to raising 78k

Over the last week it has become apparent to us that an incredibly useful piece of land has become available for sale in Mityana. Positioned next...

By: Emaline

22/07/2012: Breaking new ground

  Going to Uganda with the Esuubi Trust was an amazing experience! I have been supporting the work of Kate and the Esuubi Trust for quite ...

By: Jonno

21/07/2012: Filling time

Without any team to occupy our time, Kate and I have been trying to get a few things done ready for team two's arrval in Uganda on Monday and t...

By: Ruby

21/07/2012: In reflection

After two evenings of discussing politics with one of our new-found Ugandan friends, I was kindly lent a Ugandan newspaper to read (thankfully writ...

By: Jonno

20/07/2012: That's It!

So, having spent two weeks in Uganda, Team 1 are on their way home. We woke them up bright and early this morning for a breakfast of pancakes (...

Post 41 to 50 of 79

Posted: 18:29:58 on 25/07/2012

My second day at Ekiwumulo

Today myself and Phoebe woke up at about 7.30 and got ready for another day at Ekiwumulo. Yesterday I spent the day doing medical checks which consisted of taking medical histories from the children and taking their temperatures, height, weight, checking their immunisations and coordination and eye sight. It was lovely getting to know the children and becoming friends with the translators.

Today I was assigned to 'Profiles' with Hope, together with the teachers of various classes we had to ask the new children about themselves and why they were at the orpahnage. I knew that it was going to be sad but it really shocked me. Being at an orphanage I knew that they would of obviously lost parents, but when they told us how they had died it was just horrible. Discovering that the reason for some of them being at Ekiwumulo was because they were HIV positive and then seeing a room full of children waiting for blood tests was also hard hitting.

We finished the profiles early so I spent the rest of the morning playing a game with groups from the holiday club. They found it hilarious being blindfolded, we spent the morining laughing and running about. I didn't think it was that hot, but now I am the prime example of why you should wear suncream. I have made a friend- one little girl who likes to lead me to different rooms of the orphanage when she really should be with her class. (her picture is the header).

After lunch, we continued painting the nursery. Even in two days the rooms have changed so much. We are now painting the 3rd coats! We have all got really messy whilst painting which makes the duration in the cold shower even longer. (Me and Phoebe have been screaming hysterically every time we step into it.)

We've just had dinner and are spending the evening preparing activities for the children and also having a bag sale, I'll have to one even though I have a dozen bags at home... I'm looking forward to doing more medical checks tomorrow.

Hello to everyone at home, miss you lots. I forgot my facebook password sorry! Love you, Lottie xxx

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Posted: 17:51:20 on 24/07/2012

Five things we forgot about Uganda - then remembered when we came back

Jayne and Nat have both been to Uganda with Esuubi before... here they reflect on a few things that they have remembered in their first few days back here:

1. Getting to sleep is an art

Your room needs fumigating from mozzies and once you get into bed and tuck the mozzie net in you just hope you don’t have to get out of bed again. And then the noise starts, music blares from surrounding shops and a Ugandan soap opera is on full blast just a few steps away. Someone pass the earplugs.

2. Marmite + chapattis + chai = good brekkie

After managing varying degrees of sleep the team meet for breakfast bright and early (ish) at 8am – some opt for a bit of extra sleep. Marmite and chapattis is a new discovery for some, to others it’s an old favourite. Lovely gingery chai is served again – apparently settles the stomach ‘that’s why old people eat slices of ginger’ Jayne wisely informs.

3. There are always more children

Expecting a maximum of 130 children, they came in their 200s (or about 200). Prayers with Scruffy the rabbit and NICK ???Mr Read; David and Goliath balloon heads and drama with Jayne and the Tortoise and the Hare story with Charlene and Godfrey - discovering themselves to be a fine double act in the process. Crafts and games took up the rest of the time.

4. You cannot save your painting clothes

Embrace the paint – there is no way you won’t end up covered in it – or at least one prime splotch on your jeans/t shirt/shoes you were trying to protect. Varnishing window sills proves marginally better on the clean front but there are always baby wipes to wipe off every conceivable stain.

5. It’s amazing what can be achieved – with the help of good friends

Coming back to Ekiwumilo is a great reminder of how wonderful the children are – they so eager to learn and welcoming. It’s great to see our Ugandan friends again and hear about their exciting plans to go to university and the work they are also doing with Esuubi. They’re also pretty handy with translating, carrying jerry cans mzungus can’t and sorting Ugandan sim cards.

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Posted: 15:50:24 on 24/07/2012

First Full Day

After arriving at Entebbe yesterday and arriving here in Mityana, today was the first full day working at the school and orphanage. Some of the group helped with the school holiday camp and Eve and I were hosting the relay races. Running with bean bags on heads was a popular variant on the traditional relay theme. Some of the younger children struggled with the instructions, but judging by the amount of laughter, it made no difference. After lunch we helped with the painting of the nursery. This is one of the newer buildings, which has 3 separate rooms. We've got the base coat down on all rooms and if we keep up this progress, all will be painted by the end of the week. It's been a great day and I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

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Posted: 10:51:25 on 24/07/2012

End of one journey, beginning of another

 It has been a privilege to be part of the Esuubi team and work with the children in Uganda. This trip has created ever-lasting memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Everywhere we go we were greeted by friendly smiles and welcoming hand shakes. The children from Ekiwumulo School had so much energy to run up and down those hills which we couldn’t even walk without running out of breath. It is easy to form attachment with the children, as they are willing to let you be part of their lives. The love and care shown by the teachers and the children to us is amazing. Everyday we were welcomed by happy faces of the children when we go to work.

It was a great pleasure to be part of the medical team doing basic clinical checks on their health. It was a new experience and thanks to Ruth I learnt new skills that are beneficial to my future.

 It is well rewarding to know that I have contributed to the work of Esuubi through painting the new houses, buying crafts and tasting the new cakes, which will be on sale at the Esuubi café. During my visit I had the opportunity to visit the maternity ward and the pediatric ward at Mityana hospital. Through the generosity of Dan (one of the doctor and a good friend of Kate) I had the chance to go into the labor ward where I saw some amazing procedures take place.

We also had the chance to go to the local church on Sunday that was a special day, as it was the children of Ekiwumulo who carried out the service. The church was full of dancing and singing, which brought tears of joy to my eyes.

Throughout our stay in Mityana we made friends with some lovely people who were so generous to give up their time to spend with us. They came everyday after dinner to play games and to talk to us about life in Uganda and their culture. I was delightful to be told some personal stories, which brought tears to my eyes.

 I do thank them for their patience while translating for us and for making this trip full of enjoyment.

 It does most certainly feel weird being home. Looking around I am grateful for the things I have been given and grateful for the things I did not get as now I realize I do not need them to live a happy life.

This trip has made me realize that no matter what situation we live in we have to be happy and grateful for everything we have.

I would like to say thank you to Kate and Jonno for giving me this experience. It certainly has giving me a more insight into the work of Esuubi and I am proud to be part of the work. I wish them all the success for their future plans in developing Ekiwumulo. I will definitely go and visit the children again and will continue supporting Esuubi.

I wish team 2 all the best and I am looking forward to reading their blog.

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Posted: 11:23:39 on 23/07/2012

Team 2 has arrived!

After a wonderful night of watching films on the plane and gentle drive through the rolling hills of Mityana, Team 2 has now arrived in Mityana.

They've had their first taste of Rolex, Mandazi and local pineapple, and will shortly be heading up to Ekiwumulo for a welcome from the children there.

A full update will be posted by an as yet unselected team member this evening.

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Posted: 19:43:53 on 22/07/2012

A beginner's guide to raising 78k

Over the last week it has become apparent to us that an incredibly useful piece of land has become available for sale in Mityana. Positioned next to Ekiwumulo Orphanage Village this land offers the perfect opportunity for us to increase the sustainability of our work in Mityana as part of a long-term strategy for the orphans and needy children of the area. Some of the key things that we would like to do there include:

  • Building a secondary school to expand and enhance the education that we are currently able to provide for the children in our care
  • Develop further vocational agricultural projects to ensure that every child in our care learns valuable life skills
  • Provide vital services for the very young orphans and abandoned babies in the local area

However, the sticking point at the moment is the small matter of an asking price of £78k – the price is high due to the crops and trees currently on the land. So as the person responsible for finances at Esuubi (don’t ask me why they trust me with that job!) I thought it might be useful to breakdown how we could raise the money for this land – don’t worry the maths isn’t very complicated…

Gift Aid – Currently we are able to claim 20/80 (i.e. 25%) gift aid on all donations by UK taxpayers, bringing the required total down to roughly £60k… Boom!

  1. Three very rich people give £20k each… We’re there – wicked!
  2. Sixty people each commit to raise £1000 each – there are 60 people on the Esuubi teams this summer… a weekend’s bag packing at Sainsbury’s can raise that much!
  3. 120 people each raising £500 – that’s the average number of people that have been reading this blog each day and £500 could be raised through a sponsored walk, run or cycle.
  4. 600 people each raising £100 – that’s the number of people that are viewing Facebook + Twitter snippets of this blog each week, and £100 could just be a cake sale…
  5. 6000 people each giving £10 – That’s less than half the people reached by each of these blog posts on Facebook each week… why not try encouraging friends, family members and Facebook friends to give a tenner each (it’s less than the cost of a DVD!)

So, if you could be one of the people above why not simply follow this link to contribute to this cause, get in touch via email or even just make a commitment to raise some money in a comment below. N.B. You don’t have to stick to those amounts.. they are just there as ideas!

Thanks so much for your support!

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Posted: 18:42:34 on 22/07/2012

Breaking new ground

 

Going to Uganda with the Esuubi Trust was an amazing experience! I have been supporting the work of Kate and the Esuubi Trust for quite a while now and my friends who have been on the previous trips have come back to England filled with so many stories of the country in general and in particular the work being done at Ekiwumulo. Going to Uganda myself this year was a must and I am so glad I did it. Knowing that this trip was awaiting us was the part of the driving force that got me through this stressful year and it certainly lived up to its expectations!

I remember the drive from Entebbe to Mityana and seeing Ekiwumulo for the first time, albeit from a distance! The red topped roofs looked like a small village embedded in the beautiful green scenery that covers most of Uganda. When we visited Ekiwumulo later that day it certainly was a small village, not only in a physical way, with a school and several homes for the orphans, but in a more non-tangible way as well. The love shared between children, teachers and mamas was evident from the offset and a real sense of community was in abundance. The image of the children’s smiling faces and their welcoming songs and dances showing that they genuinely enjoy their life at Ekiwumulo will never leave me.

I was unfortunate enough to break my toe on the first afternoon. The huge swelling and the vibrant purple colour meant that it was painful to put pressure on it and I, therefore, was advised not to paint and instead to rest it. This was extremely distressing for me as I wanted to embrace every aspect of the Esuubi project and found myself unable to fulfil the commitment that I had set out with at the beginning of my journey. I would like to thank Kate and Ruth for the care and understanding shown daily when changing my dressing and reassuring me when all I wanted to do was cry at my inability to participate fully with the team.

I have many long lasting memories of my time in Uganda and am certain that I will return at some point in the future to see the progress of the project. The work being done by Kate, Jonno and the Esuubi Trust is truly inspiring and I am already looking for ways that I can help in raising funds here at home and indeed I may have opened one door yesterday afternoon…!

I wish team 2 all the best but watch for the step on the “safe” route down from the school to the homes- you certainly don’t want a breakage (and neither does Kate!)

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Posted: 18:34:22 on 21/07/2012

Filling time

Without any team to occupy our time, Kate and I have been trying to get a few things done ready for team two's arrval in Uganda on Monday and to help move Esuubi Café along a bit.

Yesterday we spent most of the day trekking and biking around Kampala (the capital) finding various bits and pieces. In particular we spent a while negotiating over a rather large oven for Esuubi Café (it had to be large enough to fit lots and lots of muffins all at the same time. Having purchased the oven (together with a fridge-freezer and microwave, Bosco (one of our team in Uganda) was left with the unenviable task of transporting these items back to Mityana (using nothing but public transport - his decision not ours!) The picture on the right shows exactly how he managed it!

Today it was time for me to visit some of my closest relatives on Ngamba island... a bunch of Chimpanzees! Like me they eat a lot, make a lot of noise, but very little sense!

Following a quick trip to the supermarket (to buy chocolate so the Esuubi Café team can practise their brownie making skills) we set off back to the hotel which has been home for the last two nights to get some work done... yep that's right - unfortunately we both have to do real work once in a while.

Tomorrow's another working day, but we'll try and find the time to post some interesting photos and insights.

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Posted: 14:02:51 on 21/07/2012

In reflection

After two evenings of discussing politics with one of our new-found Ugandan friends, I was kindly lent a Ugandan newspaper to read (thankfully written in English). One interesting article talked of Spain's recent exclamation that, despite their economic problems, "Spain is not Uganda". This article discussed the differences between the two countries, and rightfully pointed out that while Spain may have more money, Uganda is not only "The pearl of Africa", but also a pearl of the world. In the west, there is money, but in Uganda, there is beauty, tradition, patriotism, faith and love. And, indeed, I certainly loved every minute spent in Uganda.

Although 2 weeks is really a short period of time, I am missing Uganda a lot. Having spent just over one week at the orphanage, I made some really good friends of the children and the Ugandan's who were so kind as to give up their time to translate for us and who spent time explaining Ugandan culture and lifestyle to us. One child I formed a particular attachment to was a girl in class P6, who wore my hat and thenseforth called herself the Queen.

After living out of the pockets of the team, I also feel quite an attachment to all those I travelled to Uganda with. There were some very interesting characters and I really enjoyed getting to know everyone.

My favorite day of the trip was the first Monday. I was assigned to a whole day of playing with the children. Although I was not fully climatised to the Ugandan sun at that point, I spent the whole day in it, and more to the point, running around in it. This led to my eyes watering a bit- especially considering the fact that the children loved wearing our sun glasses upside down. I taught the children favorite English games like "Whats the time Mr Wolf" and "Stuck in the Mud", and was taught favourite Ugandan games- which I was interested to find to be remarkably similar to English games. One such game was "Cat and mouse". This was similar to the English version (in that the Cat chases the mouse, and everyone else has to prevent it from doing so), but differed in that "everyone else" were in a circle, rather than lines. Another Ugandan game to which I was introduced, was similar in principle to many English games (like "Grandma's keys", for example) which require the guessing of who made a move. This game required someone to guard a cup. This cup would be hit by others, and the guard would guess who hit it. My afternoon with the children also included crawling on the floor, whith a child on my back, pretending to be a lion. This day was full of smiles, laughs and the forming good relationships with the children.

The most challenging part of the trip was taking a cold shower in the dark (on the nightds when we lost electricity). This was a challenge because our shower was next to our "toilet" (our hole), which made me scared that I would fall in. 

The most emotional part of the trip for me was the church service on Sunday. Tears were in my eyes at the beauty of the service, and the worshiper's faith. Tears were also in my eyes as I realised that I did not have much longer in Mityana- a place I really felt attached after just one week.

The most horrifying moment of the trip was being asked to sing in front of the secondary school. A problem I am pleased to say resolved itself when I chose a song that I knew the students all knew- and so asked them to help me sing. 

Although not subject to a particular category, other special moments of the trip are as follows... 

On the first Wednesday, I spent time making oragarmi hats, chatter box's and finger puppets with the children; which was really fun and what made it more so was the looks of enjoyment on the children's faces as it was obviously something they had not before done.

I enjoyed helping in the medical area on Friday as I felt like I was making a real difference to the children's lives. The children only recieve one medical check-up a year (when the Esuubi team visits) and so it was important to spot problems which need to be addressed in order to improve the comfort of the children. 

Being told the night before that the next day would be "hard-core painting" always brought a feeling of dread, but  I did, of course, also enjoy the painting. It was satisfying finishing areas, and imagining them being put to use.

 

 

All my thanks to Kate and Johno. I think your work in Uganda is fantastic and am so greatful to you for allowing me to be part of it.  As the bug bites fade, the memories of the trip will remain forever.

 

 

Now back in England, it is very strange adapting back into life here- for example by using tap water to brush my teeth. Looking around my house makes me sad to see the wasted money on material objects. I imagine the use of that money in the orphanage, or country in general (a country in which 70% are unemployed because the country is primarily green-land, and so perfect for agriculture, but people are not enticed to work as farmers because the capping of prices to prevent inflation means that farmers make little or no profit).

 

I wish team two all the best. I look forward to reading your blog, and imagining that I am still in the true "pearl" of a country, that is Uganda. 

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Posted: 06:56:08 on 20/07/2012

That's It!

So, having spent two weeks in Uganda, Team 1 are on their way home.

We woke them up bright and early this morning for a breakfast of pancakes (banana and pineapple), bacon eggs, and a lot more besides, then packed them off to the airport in good time for their flight home. Hopefully they'll soon be boarding and enjoying the in-flight entertainment (there were plenty of good films on the way out!)

One final excitement for the team involved Simba (the hotel dog) deciding to relieve itself over Ruth's hand luggage (see the image to the right)... thankfully she took it in good spirits (not sure my OCD would have allowed me to do the same!)

A massive thank you to the whole team for everything they've accomplished over the last two weeks - it's always really inspiring to see the energy and enthusiasm that the teams put into their work. Most of all thanks to the team for taking the time to build relationships with the children at Ekiwumulo - although it doesn't bring about immediate, tangible results, this more than anything is what we believe makes a long-term difference.

It's just the beginning

Whilst the team is leaving we are more conscious than ever that this is just the beginning of what we need to achieve to truly meet our Esuubi goals. I hope the time the team has spent here has helped them to recognise just a fraction of what we, as Esuubi, are trying to achieve.

Furthermore, we really hope that their time in Mityana has inspired them (and hopefully some of our readers in the UK and further afield) to get involved and support our work.

Some of the key things that we are currently looking for support for include:

  • Sponsorship of children in our care - this is particularly important as we look to open up a further five houses at Ekiwumulo over the next few months
  • Funding to finish off all elements of the café to the high quality that tourists expect

In addition, we have been informed this week that a 25 acre plot of land adjacent to Ekiwumulo has just become available for purchase. As part of our long-term strategy for providing sustainable care and for the orphans of Uganda we would dearly love to use this land for agricultural projects and a secondary school. However, this land is priced at £78k, hence we need funding specifically for this.

If you would like to contribute to any of the above please feel free to use the buttons below or the donaton buttons in the header and footer.

Many thanks for keeping in touch with Team 1 via the blog - keep your eyes open for further updates from Team 2, as well as reflections on their time in Mityana from Team 1.

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