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The Esuubi Team Blog

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By: Ruby

19/07/2012: The Final Drive

  The majority of us have spent today sleeping in the car, and rightfully so- following the reluctant wake-up at 5.45AM- but the day has a...

By: Emaline

18/07/2012: The Luxury Lifestyle

After an 11 hour journey yesterday last night’s sleep felt like the best night ever for everyone (except Jess who got really hot and couldn&r...

By: Ruth

18/07/2012: Safari-time! Rock or lion, log or crocodile.

Murchison Falls has been quite a change in lifestyle to what was an incredible, but not always relaxing experience in Mityana.  After an event...

By: Jonno

18/07/2012: Travelling to Murchison

Having left Mityana bright and early yesterday morning we spent a large portion of the day driving through some beautiful Ugandan countryside. I lo...

By: Meagan

16/07/2012: See You Soon!

Today started like every other- the usual rush to get tto breakfast on time for me and Amy (greeted by the fact that we were late despite our frant...

By: Georgina

16/07/2012: Emotional, Inspiring and Unforgettable

Firstly I'd like to say a big hi to everyone at home! This is my first trip out with Esuubi and so far it has been emotional, inspiring and...

By: Dot

16/07/2012: Last day in Mityana

Today we have spent our last day working in the children's village. Things got a bit chaotic in the end with numerous paint rollers on long pol...

By: Jonno

16/07/2012: Things people do not want posted

For your entertainment here are a couple of pics that team members simply didn't want you to see: You can definitely see why the loc...

By: Nigel

15/07/2012: Bitten by the bug

Hard to know where to start - others have spoken about the work at the school and the orphanage but today was a great day for sharing, after yester...

By: Jade

15/07/2012: What did we do

As this is my first time in Uganda I feel the need to try every opportunity offered to me, in order to gain the best Ugandan experience possible. ...

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Posted: 16:50:08 on 19/07/2012

The Final Drive

 

The majority of us have spent today sleeping in the car, and rightfully so- following the reluctant wake-up at 5.45AM- but the day has also included some indescribable beauty. Breakfast consisted of a variety of English options, including a cooked breakfast, waffles and toast. Despite such luxury, however, the highlight of the day was the sceneric view at Murchison falls. 

On the drive there, we spotted a few monkeys, hippos and birds- most amusingly the diving ones which appeared to fail on every attempt to catch a fish. 

On reaching the falls, the splash of the forceful water and the awe of the sight woke us up, temporarily. The water appeared cloud-like and looked stunning as it hit the rocks. This, especialliy against the background of greenery and unpolluted sky, created an image like no other. 

Following this excitement, we loaded back into our veichles to catch some more sleep. This was disrupted by the breaking down of one such veichle several times- which led to the comical sight of the other drivers attempting to push the car up the hills, and eventually the piling of the passengers into the other cars. 

The toilet breaks of the journey were interesting. One consisted of a a very dark and smelly hole, in a cubical which locked from the outside. The other, an even smellier and darker hole in a cubical, which was shared with bugs. 

The packed lunch was also interesting. The cake was the best part of the apple heavy box (mine included apple juce and 2 apples) and of the lunch which also included a "vegatable quiche" which was more pie-like, and a strange pie at that. 

As already mentioned, the rest of the journey was occupied by sleep- something which didn't go unnoticed by the driver who commented that we were tired today. But I also enjoyed the free time to think and to just look out of the window.

As mentioned in my last blog (at the beginning of the trip), the country is beautiful. It is very green and has a very friendly atmosphere- something I think is the consequence of the lack of wealth. Unlike the UK, shops are small (the Butcher, the Baker and the Candle stick-maker still exist here) and shops are not bleached and impersonal. People wander beside the roads and greet each other, they do not run to the train station and not avoid eye contact from one and other. I love watching the excitement and intrigue on the children's faces as they spot us from the side of the road and wave frantically, shouting "Mazunga" (white person). Although I will be pleased to see my family and friends in England, I am sad to leave this beautiful country.

This trip has been the best time of my life. As described, the country is not wealthy in terms of money, but is wealthy in love and happiness. Living in such a different enviroment, even for such a short period of time, has taught me a lot. First and foremost, I have been inspired to travel a lot more. There are some places I would definately like to visit- including China and Russia- but Uganda was not a place I would have sought to visit before the trip arised- making me want to travel the world to descover more less obvious places of beauty and wonder. But this trip has also stimulated me to think about my lifestyle in England. I will endeavour to reduce the stress in my life- to spend time strolling and taking in my surroundings. seeing the wonderous work of Kate, in setting up the orphanage; in creating smiling faces and well-educated children, has also inspired me to dedicate more time to helping others. Perhaps starting with volunteering at a soup kitchen near my home. This trip has also made me think more about what I would like to do as a career. The main problems in the country lie with people not being able to afford healthcare or education. This is the consequence of corruption in government and poor organisation. I therefore think I would like to work as some form of a political ambassador or representitive abroad.

In all, I am very sad to leave. But good things have to end because life would not be exciting without change and progress. And with this trip completed, progress in my life is most definitely on the cards.

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Posted: 19:10:50 on 18/07/2012

The Luxury Lifestyle

After an 11 hour journey yesterday last night’s sleep felt like the best night ever for everyone (except Jess who got really hot and couldn’t sleep!) The 5.30am alarm came as a shock this morning but we reluctantly got up for a nice big buffet breakfast with only a few being late! We promptly left at 6.45am for the first 3 hour safari. On the very bumpy road we saw all sorts of animals including warthogs, antelope, elephants and giraffes. Someone spotted a large group of vultures feeding on a body which got us all on the lookout for a lion! Time passed and we got up close and personal with a group of giraffes, some sleeping hippos and many birds. We also saw fresh lion paw prints and three more sets of vultures but still no lion! In fact we didn’t find the lion at all which upset Kate!

Back at Paraa Lodge we tucked into a 3 course lunch buffet with many of us having two plates of main followed by delicious ‘chocolate balls!’ Then it was time for our second 3 hour safari- this time on the river! The river we were on is the source of the River Nile so technically we have been on the River Nile which is very exciting. Whilst on the river we saw so many hippos and quite a few crocodiles (one being a massive 4m!) We arrived at Murchison Falls which was very pretty and impressive. We couldn’t get too close, unfortunately, as the boat was too heavy and the current too strong. After the journey back when some of us almost fell asleep, we were greeted once again by the most comfortable beds ever and a nice hot shower. Dinner was once again delicious and we are all completely full up! We are currently sat by candlelight in the warm temperature having a chat but will be off to bed soon no doubt as there is another very early get up awaiting us in the morning!

Paraa Lodge offers a completely different lifestyle to Kolping House providing us with two different experiences! I’m sure most of us could easily get used to the luxury here- 3 course meals for lunch and dinner, a turning down service every night and the bathroom cleaned thoroughly for us every morning! If only we had this to look forward to next year at university- we can dream!!!

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Posted: 19:08:33 on 18/07/2012

Safari-time! Rock or lion, log or crocodile.

Murchison Falls has been quite a change in lifestyle to what was an incredible, but not always relaxing experience in Mityana.  After an eventful journey yesterday, we finished the day with a hot shower (have not appreciated hot water so much for a long time), buffet meal (with a sad lack of chapattis – have become slightly addicted), and a much awaited gin and tonic!  Today, we had an early breakfast and were out in our jeeps to see some animals!  With the tops of the vehicles up and our keen faces looking out eagerly, we drove into the depths of the Ugandan jungle (well, very green bountiful savannah!)

Armed with cameras, and what seemed like the most excellent game idea – is it a rock or lion, log or crocodile, rock or monkey, tree or giraffe? More difficult than initially thought …. Saw all of the latter three, but sadly only the lion prints as the lions were a wee bit reticent in making their presence known in the long grass.  The animals we did see were absolutely incredible – with the elephant with her baby, and multitudes of indignant warthogs being my personal favourites.

We returned to the lodge for another lovely buffet lunch, and to shower off the ingrained dirt from our faces, then out on the boat for a safari with hippos, crocodiles and lots of birds, culminating in the beautiful falls, then a gentle ride back home for a further couple of G&Ts and a lovely dinner and chat.  All in all, an excellent end to what has been an incredible experience in Uganda – bring on the next one!

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Posted: 10:40:20 on 18/07/2012

Travelling to Murchison

Having left Mityana bright and early yesterday morning we spent a large portion of the day driving through some beautiful Ugandan countryside. I love the sights and sounds that you hear as you drive across Uganda. The sights, sounds and smells never cease to intrigue me.

In addition we had the extra excitement of four lovely young ladies in our vehicle… here’s how they spent some of their day:

The aim was to reach Murchison National Park nice and early, giving us time to see the stunning waterfalls, prior to heading on to our accommodation for the next two nights. However, this didn’t work out as one of the vehicles in our convoy decided to break down and then the heavens opened and a massive thunderstorm engulfed us.

Upon arrival we were greeted by the site below:

In luxury surroundings and (as Ruth loves to point out) a swim-up bar our current surroundings are certainly different to Kolping, but is a great way to say thank you to the team for all their hard work over the last ten days, as well as giving them time to reflect on their time in Uganda.

Hopefully we’ll get some nice reflections and animal photos on the blog in the next few days.

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Posted: 20:25:13 on 16/07/2012

See You Soon!

Today started like every other- the usual rush to get tto breakfast on time for me and Amy (greeted by the fact that we were late despite our frantic pulling on of clothes,) chapatti and banana and off to Ekiwumolo. However as we got there, we were reminded of the fact that it was indeed our last day there. So along with what we have come to know as 'normal' came a need to hug every child just a little tighter and a little longer with the knowledge we won't be seeing them again for a while. As I've been before, this wasn't exactly a foreign emotion but once again, it was still just as difficult as before.

We started the day painting the new library but I found myself progressively slacking off to go and run around with the children, to spend as much time as I possibly could learning (or trying to learn) their Ugandan chants and songs and teaching them a few of ours. I didn't take any p.hotos today (sorry Mum!) as I found myself wanting to just take it all in myself and not via a camera screen. Those children I met three years ago have miraculously developed into amazing young individuals with so much to teach the world.

After recieving some unpleasant news and having a good cry, I looked around to find myself appreciating life even more. Despite the cliche of being in these types sitations and coming out claiming to 'appreciate', it's absolutely true. The light and potential in these children is far greater than any darkness that can be found, to an extent of me filled with so much hope and unconditional love for not only the children but for Esuubi as well, that the dreaded goodbyes of today become less dreaded and I began to view them as more of ''see you soon"'s.

The work of Esuubi can be described with no other words than amazing, fantastic and inspiring. It may seem extreme to say that one week can change your life forever, but it is not at all. One week here can teach you enough than most people learn in a life time. Even when returning after already experiencing such revelations, it nails in the lessons learnt and there is no doubt you will alwayd return a more humble, appreciative and thankful person. I am so grateful for everything Esuubi has done for me as they have taught me things I am positive I would have never learnt in a classroom or from life in England but all I can really say is thank you. Thank you to Esuubi and to every child and person that allowed me to grow and mature into the person I am now- I don't think I'll ever preach enough about you guys!

Without any doubt, I am returning to Uganda with Esuubi. This is definitely not a goodbye but just a "see you soon!" And I eagerly await returning to find the children and people I adore so much have grown even more and continuously teaching visitors and each other the most valuable life lessons anyone could ever dream of recieving. See you soon!

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Posted: 19:48:54 on 16/07/2012

Emotional, Inspiring and Unforgettable

Firstly I'd like to say a big hi to everyone at home!

This is my first trip out with Esuubi and so far it has been emotional, inspiring and unforgettable. The charity is doing such fantastic work out here and it is evident from the wonderful children that I have been lucky to meet and work with over the last week. It has surprised me just how attached you can become with someone in such a short space of time.

Today we spent our last full day working at ekiwumulo; people were again split into teaching, painting and medical activity groups. I was fortunate enough to spend the morning teaching the children where we played some unique games of hangman, heads down thumbs up and pictionary. After lunch we all prepared for some hard core painting. Finishing the library this afternoon felt like a proud accomplishment and a great way to fiinish our work at the orphanage. Our goodbye to the children was hard, the friendships that I have made personally will never leave me. The acceptance and warmth that the children gave us all from day one made my experince all the more memorable. The work we have carried out made our farewells that little bit easier, knowing it will help them all so much.

Throughout this trip we've had some hilarious times crammed into overcrowned taxis and i don't think the memories will ever leave me. We are all missing our little home comforts but I dont think I'll ever want a hot shower more that I do now, I think this might be a general feeling amoung everyone though! Also missing cheese and chocolate, oh and a nice cuppa!

Missing everyone at home loads, cant wait to see everyone! Lots of love xxxxx

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Posted: 18:47:31 on 16/07/2012

Last day in Mityana

Today we have spent our last day working in the children's village. Things got a bit chaotic in the end with numerous paint rollers on long poles trying to cover the remaining unpainted wall in the last of the children's houses we were working on.  This resulted in trying to avoid being painted yourself,  ducking & diving through the poles, brushes & painters - we had our first & only paint spill!        

Much has already been said about what we have been up to in our time here.  It has been a privilege to see this vision developing and to be a very small part of it. Now tomorrow we move on, taking with us many memories both to treasure & to challenge us in the future. 

This is an absolutely outstanding project, please consider how you could support this work in the future.

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Posted: 05:33:38 on 16/07/2012

Things people do not want posted

For your entertainment here are a couple of pics that team members simply didn't want you to see:

You can definitely see why the local young men have taken them to heart...

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Posted: 20:48:48 on 15/07/2012

Bitten by the bug

Hard to know where to start - others have spoken about the work at the school and the orphanage but today was a great day for sharing, after yesterday's village visit and moving hospitality. This morning's worship at Mityana Baptist Church was intensely moving - it is always a great experience sharing with our friends who are the key local people running Esuubi's operations on the ground. Today was extra special as the service was largely led by children and young people - the exuberance of the singing and dancing wowed us all and even I was seen moving (nearly) in time to the music.

Andrea and I met our new sponsored teenager yesterday and it was very touching to find that he was one of three teenagers preaching with great sincerity and maturity (each was given a ten minute time limit). Despite squeezing onto pews and benches, and children sitting on adult's knees, the congregation spilled out onto adjoining streets and some children had to be called in when it was their turn to participate.

Not all the offering was in money - one lady bought a large sack of jackfruit which was converted into cash through an inpromptu auction and the fruit was then given to to the children to rejuvenate theam after their efforts in the service. We'd also spent time yesterday evening making a fitting on the wall to hang a banner created by the ladies fro our home church and given to our hosts during the service as a gift from our congregation to theirs.

As if that were not fulfilling enough for one day, we visited Ebenezer Secondary School this afternoon where about 40 children sponsored by Esuubi attend. We were treated to a presentation by their pupils and then had to make our grey cells work, with a competition for us to think of an appropriate title for a poem written by the headmaster - and we had to give a reason. Jonno wisely volunteered to judge the contest, saving himself the pain of thinking up a title, and then delegated the decision to a democratic vote, absolving himself of direct responsibility.

A real joy on the way back was to overhear two of our first-timers regretting that they only had one more day in Mityana - they've been bitten by the Esuubi bug!

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Posted: 20:32:09 on 15/07/2012

What did we do

As this is my first time in Uganda I feel the need to try every opportunity offered to me, in order to gain the best Ugandan experience possible.

The day began rather spectacularly with the group’s first visit to the local church. I am not a regular church visitor back in England; however I was intrigued to see what a typical Ugandan service included. Today was a special day as it was children’s day which meant that the service was filled with fabulous musical pieces from the children. I absolutely adore the children’s performances from their beautiful hair raising singing to their intricate dance routines. Despite the fact the service was mainly in Ugandan, there was a translator so that we visitors could follow and listen to the preaches made by the children. The preaches were particularly impressive, with messages such as ‘respecting your elders’ conveyed clearly and passionately by the children. Overall my experience of the day was brilliant, and one that I will remember forever.

Then came lunch (which is usually my favourite part of the day), and we all returned back to the Kolping dinner hall. We were all seated long before the food arrived so by time it came out all diners were eagerly watching as each and every pan of food came out. The usual delicacy at Kolping is rice, beans and vegetables; however we were all surprised when we were served chips for the first time. My excitement was evident, and the chips were a delightfully delicious surprise for us all.

Once lunch was over it was time for me and a small group to visit the Mitiyana hospital. Before the visit occurred we were all warned that the experience may be unpleasant, however I don’t think anyone was prepared for the actual thing. When we arrived at the hospital we were greeted by a room full of people waiting to see the doctor. The comparison between the hospitals in Uganda and the UK began immediately, with the exterior of the hospital looking a lot smaller than those found back home. During our visit we went to the maternity ward and the children’s ward. Both were equally distressing but in very different ways. The maternity ward was small and crowded, and I couldn’t believe just how hot it was in there. The children’s ward was even more difficult, and the cries of children somewhat gnawed at me. The only relief was found when giving out the clothes to the expecting mothers, and the sweets to the sick children. The opportunity to visit other areas of the hospital arose, however the shock of what I had previously seen kept me from venturing any further. Instead I did the only thing I could do, which was to leave and try to compose myself. Once I was back at Kolping the feeling of upset didn’t waver. The only way I could feel any better was by talking to someone. I spoke to Kate and Meagan and suddenly certain concepts and ideas started to sink into place. My reaction at the hospital is similar to that of many people in the UK. When faced with a situation of helplessness and sorrow we escape by just ignoring the problem. This is done by either changing the channel whenever a distressing appeal appears on the television or going into denial and refusing to accept the conditions some people have to go through.

I feel my experience at the hospital has changed me forever, and instead of running away from places that distress me I should experience them, so that I can see the positives hidden within. Positives such as the hospital provides vital care to all who need it, that the people of Mitiyana have caring, dedicated doctors and nurses willing to give them the best care possible.

Overall my day was a mixture of highs and lows, but I have learnt a valuable lesson, which is that all experiences good and bad can shape your view of life, and that even the most distressing of places have a silver lining.

Thank you for reading and I love you all

Jade xxx

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