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The Esuubi Team Blog

Recent Posts

By: Jessica

15/07/2012: Sunday Fun

My usual Sunday morning routine is very different from the one I experienced today. My Weetabix was replaced by chapatti, banana and egg, accompani...

By: Jonno

15/07/2012: Team Insights

Since my last blog entry I have been asked by the team to do two things: Provide personal comments on each member of the team (including ad...

By: Jenny

14/07/2012: Lying in and having fun!

It's Saturday!! This meant we were able to have a beautiful lay in till 9 o'clock, we were able to set our alarm to an hour later. However,...

By: Peter Y

14/07/2012: Worth waiting for

This morning most of the things that were sorted and bagged yesterday were taken to the front of the hotel to be loaded, with some newly bought mat...

By: Biddy

13/07/2012: Deep and meaningful blog (DMB)

Since arriving back in Uganda and Ekiwumulo I have been overwhelmed by how much has changed here. When I first came to Uganda three years ago I was...

By: Ian

13/07/2012: Healthy Living

It's easy to lose track of time here: no TV or radio, though you can get vintage internet here (think 1999 slow). As such I've just had to ...

By: David

12/07/2012: Rolling On!

Today we have been on painting duties with the painting group - it is our fourth day of painting but there is a lot of painting to be done! Our wor...

By: Ursula

11/07/2012: P6 Memory Game

Today, Jade and I introduced the class P6 to a new game, "Memory" ! With the help of our interpreter Wilber, the 13 girls and boys learne...

By: Jonno

11/07/2012: Thoughts, feelings and emotions

Having now pestered a number of other people to provide their own personal thoughts, feelings and emotions on the trip, I thought that as I’m...

By: Promila

10/07/2012: A trip down memory lane

We had a wonderful presentation by the school children yesterday. They sang songs and did really nice dancing and drama. It took me back to my scho...

Post 61 to 70 of 79

Posted: 20:26:35 on 15/07/2012

Sunday Fun

My usual Sunday morning routine is very different from the one I experienced today. My Weetabix was replaced by chapatti, banana and egg, accompanied by some apple juice (brought from the UK of course). We were told to dress as smart as possible which I’m ashamed to say is not what I usually do when attending my church. Arriving at the church just before 10am meant we walked in on the end of the Bible study, completely packing out the remaining empty pews (wooden benches). The first of three treats today was about to begin, the “children’s day” at the church. We were delighted to see various dances and songs performed for us by the children, as well as 3 very brave preachers from Ekiwumulo each talking for about 15 minutes. I can barely make it to the stage of my church without my knees buckling from fear, so I give all credit to all the children who not only made it successfully to the stage but entertained us greatly for 2.5 hours.

A long wait for lunch was well rewarded with our second treat of the day, chips!!!  The first sign of western food for over a week was well devoured by all, and even more excitement emerged for the promise of such food at the Safari. Shortly after lunch we started on another bumpy ride, this time to Ebenezer secondary school to visit some more children sponsored by Esuubi. On arrival they had another treat in store for us, songs, dances, games, and a very strange poem recital – with our participation to title it. After a quick tour round the, very small(!), school and a few chats with the students we were back on the road to Kolping. A quick shower and a shockingly small portion of rice later and here I am writing this blog.

People want emotion from me to finish this off but expressing myself in words has never come easy to me and is not about to start to! However, I must admit I do love being here and I can guarantee that tears will come tomorrow when we have to say our final goodbye to the children. See ya ;) xoxox to all my readers.

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Posted: 06:03:58 on 15/07/2012

Team Insights

Since my last blog entry I have been asked by the team to do two things:

  1. Provide personal comments on each member of the team (including adults)
  2. Provide a response to Biddy’s comments in her recent post…

So, in order to hopefully kill both birds with one stone, here is a list of comments on each member of the team, which includes a few little pieces of gossip that I have picked up along the way (sometimes from my “little painting chats with Biddy”). It may end up being a long post, but hopefully it’ll be worth it and provide you with some valuable insight into life with Team 1 (we really need to think of a better name for it than Team 1)…

  • Amy – remarkably has managed to avoid my mockery… so far!
  • Andrea – MY MUM! Enough said…
  • Biddy – the most fun I’ve had winding someone up in a long time. Quivering at the sight of me by now. Arguably the most fancied (by the Ugandan young men) member of the team – “She’ll break a lot of hearts…” (Using phrases like that I sound like a proper old man!)
  • Darlene – Cracked wrist, no problem. She just soldiers on.
  • David – excellent with the paint rollers, and a keen fan of watching the lesser-spotted pigeons of Uganda. I can see a future in online publishing for this man…
  • Dot – struggling to come up with anything juicy here…
  • Elisha – Not really spoken to her very much yet, however, I am impressed by her fringe – it seems immovable, whatever the team is doing.
  • Emmaline – Despite the odd moment of clumsiness she has been awesome at helping out getting things ready for Esuubi Café, if you visit in the near future and buy something from there then the likelihood is that Emmaline will have written the price tag!
  • Georgina – finally cracked to the Ugandan experience yesterday in allowing Kate to take a photo of her while "she looked a mess"…
  • Ian – The go to man for carrying heavy boxes and things… boom!
  • Jade – currently doing a pretty decent job of withholding and skeletons in her closet that I might be able to exploit. Withstood a morning of painting / interrogation from me on Friday… impressive resolve!
  • Jenny – Can’t shake the thought of a 1950’s washer woman every time I see her in her very practical bow hair band!
  • Jess – my chats with other Cator (sorry HABR!) students have revealed there are facts I need to discover about this young lady in order to unleash the full potential for mockery… anyone care to help me out with an anonymous comment below? Beautiful photo of her to the right...
  • Lauren – my investigations at the school prom reveal her to be incredibly similar in personality to my wife. Yet to test the theory on this trip… need to find a particularly complicated and stressful task for her to do in order to continue my investigations.
  • Margaret – Was particularly proud of my investigative work getting one of the local lads to identify some of the local lesser-spotted pigeons for her recently.
  • Meagan – has a photo on her camera that I *really* need. Excellent source of information on her friends, but they still all miss her when she’s more than 5m away!
  • Nigel – MY DAD! Currently trying to work out the best way to disown me at the moment!
  • Nilo – Seems to have strange (selective) memory lapses about key things she told me the day before… might need to get Dr Ruth to look into that.
  • Pam – Now joining us in Uganda 11 months after originally planned, excellent to finally get her here. A shame there wasn’t room for her sister on the team too – I would’ve loved to see the two of them here together!
  • Peter S – Sun-cream in the evenings isn’t very useful out here (particularly as it gets dark at 7pm!)
  • Peter Y – He may be 8, but he uses every bit of that experience to apply paint to high places in the houses and library. I hope I’m going so strong when I’m 82!
  • Promila – delights in telling the local Ugandans about how she lived next door to me when I was titchy. Thankfully hasn’t revealed the mischief I used to get up to in her Sunday School classes yet!
  • Rachel – Seen surprisingly little of her this trip. She always seems to be at the other end of the dinner table… another few nights of this and I might start to take it personally! Has some rather sexy, bright orange ear plugs which I brought out for her… not sure why anyone would want to drown out my dulcet tones though!
  • Rosamund – Esuubi trips stalwart. Now on her fifth trip to Mityana with us… will JaJa Rose cope with another two and a half weeks of me though?!
  • Ruby – always fun to bring out the jokes about short people for another airing… textiles skills proving invaluable.
  • Ruth – The Dr on this team. She has this bottle of something that looks suspiciously like urine in her medical kit every day…
  • Ursula – did a mammoth piece of craft purchasing at “Esuubi Café” yesterday… thanks.

And there ends my blog – just enough time to say that yesterday we went for a lovely lunch in a local village (see photo above) and have experienced the first cakes from Esuubi Café as well as some of the great craft that will be on sale. It was great to see the team responding well and buying lots of “stuffs” (as our Ugandan team like to call the craft).

P.S. I may provide an update to these comments towards the end of the trip depending on future experiences…

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Posted: 20:42:46 on 14/07/2012

Lying in and having fun!

It's Saturday!! This meant we were able to have a beautiful lay in till 9 o'clock, we were able to set our alarm to an hour later. However, myself and Jessica forgot about this and overslept meaning we were late to breakfast. Today a different set of activities awaited us, at 10.30 we were meant to leave for Kiwumulo, but because this is Uganda we were picked up at 11.00 for another crowded and bumpy journey.

We were greeted by all the children, which was a surprise as we found out they attended school for a morning session of lessons, this would never ever happen in England. With us we brought along their toys and new clothes donated from England, their field was filled with children and the entire team playing all sorts of different games. Being here for the 3rd time is incredible as I am constantly being introduced to the new children and learning about the progress of the older children who I met on the first trip.

Leaving the children to play with their new toys, and enjoy the rest of their weekend, we all squashed into the taxi to visit the rural side of Uganda. Namulamba, the village home to Dan Douglas' family, a short drive from Mityana introduced the team to a different way of life to us once again. Greeted by excited children who sang and danced for us was a wonderful welcome, however the rain also wanted to hello, during our meal it poured meaning we were moved into the family home to shelter from the miserable skies.

Eventually the rain stopped and we were able to play with the children as they jumped and screamed as the bubbles came out. Sweeties were given out and there were smiles all round as they were able to enjoy what we enjoyed daily at home. Back at Kolping we were not able to rest for long as the Esuubi Cafe came to us, crafts and cakes exploded into our dining room. Lots of money was spent, I personally have nothing left - message to the Poole family, your relative needs money! There was so much to look at and beautiful paintings from the local community to admire, but a worry to be able to get home. Tonight is another night of playing cards and laughing.

Esuubi is doing such amazing work and coming back after two years and to see in person how much has happened in that period of time has truly shocked me. The children are constantly beaming, constantly loving to learn and enjoying life at Kiwumulo where they are happy to be.

Knowing that we are leaving Mityana in a few days is a sad prospect, but knowing that I can keep updated via the Esuubi website is brilliant. Thank you Kate and the team once again for an amazing trip, thank you thank you thank you!

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Posted: 19:40:12 on 14/07/2012

Worth waiting for

This morning most of the things that were sorted and bagged yesterday were taken to the front of the hotel to be loaded, with some newly bought mattresses, onto a truck; we waited for the truck, and waited, and waited....One thing that Africa teaches is patience. Eventually all arrived at Kimumolo and was offloaded to await distribution. There was a hectic time while the younger children , and some of the adults, amused themselves with balls, skippng ropes and other toys.  The pleasure the children got from these games with the visitors was great to see. Another lesson from Uganda is how much joy so little gives.

But the main part of the day came after we left the  project and set off along the track  which has  a surface that is as bad as anything Surrey County Council could maintain. Once on the main road we turned off down a minor road and drove for several miles through increasingly remote small settlements until we reached one, Mamalamba, where the grandmother of Daniel, one of our Uganda helpers, lives. Everyone turned out to meet us and made us welcome. The whole of the visiting party was seated on benches under a large awning with many children sitting to one side under a large tree where they sang to us. A number of the women who were not preparing food sat on the ground a little way off, whilst some men sat separately on benches to one side.  We were invited to take as many photographs as we wished

In due course we were called to eat;  a selection of African  dishes had been set out on tables for us to help ourselves. Unfortunately it rained which provided some entertainment for most of the party  when water that had collected on the canvas 'roof'' was tipped down a few unfortunate's necks; but then it was decided we should all shelter in  the crowded small front rooms of two of the houses which gave us an impression of what it is like to live there. On the walls of ours were some religious pictures and a photo of Daniel's Grandmother but also, incongrously, a couple of pictures of European scenes including a Swiss chalet.  After the rain stopped there was time for mingling. Innumerable digital photo's were taken as much for the pleasure of the children as that of the photogaphers. As well as the inevitable banana and maize in the area around the village we also noted two tea bushes on one of which the berries were ripening.

But soon it was time to leave and the unstinted Ugandan hospitality was the final thing the day's events had shown us.

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Posted: 19:55:52 on 13/07/2012

Deep and meaningful blog (DMB)

Since arriving back in Uganda and Ekiwumulo I have been overwhelmed by how much has changed here. When I first came to Uganda three years ago I was amazed by the work that Esuubi had achieved, returning the next year it continued to stun me. Now being here in 2012 I am completely (again) overwhelmed. There are classrooms, an assembly hall, and admin block and -nearly- nine completed houses to home to the beautiful children that stay at Ekiwumulo. I feel so lucky to be able to come back and see the progression of work that has been carried out.

Our team has completed a numerous amount of activities, such as medical check-ups, teaching and playing all sorts of games with the children. The children have thrown themselves into our strange new games and have seemed to completely love every moment of it. As much as they have learnt from us, we have learnt a great deal from them.

Sponsoring a child at Ekiwumulo makes this trip even more special. I am able to see this cheeky little boy (in the picture above) grow and develop into a kind, energetic and happy individual. I was able to surprise him with gifts to help his schooling and to play with.

So far the trip has been just as incredible as my previous two visits here.

I would like thank Jonno (through no influence from him *cough cough*) for our little painting chats.

P.S. Amy, Meagan and Georgina are here with me now and would like to mention their need for cheese and chocolate, also saying hi to everyone.

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Posted: 19:15:45 on 13/07/2012

Healthy Living

It's easy to lose track of time here: no TV or radio, though you can get vintage internet here (think 1999 slow). As such I've just had to count the days off on my fingers to work out how long we've been here: 6. Although unplugging from UK media might have stopped time for me personally, the Ekimuwulo projects have been surging forward, in some cases helped by our manual labour and the contribution of various talents from the group. 

My contribution has been very much on the manual side - see previous post on painting for details - but my wife (Dr) Ruth has been contributing in a far more specialist capacity. She's been organising medical checks for as many of the children as she can see this week, and when (Dr) Simon comes out next week the aim will be to continue and get the whole school seen and recorded: weight, height, eyes, ears, skin, chest, pulse, coordination, hairstyle, favourite colour, star sign, taste in music,  - all the usual checks (note: we may not have time to finish the whole list).

I helped Ruth with this process yesterday, and perhaps this is my own lack of knowledge but overall I was surprised by how healthy the children were given the tough start in life that many of them have had. Testament to Ekimuwulo's care for the orphans in particular, but perhaps also a reminder of how basic the basics are: food, clothing and shelter. That said, there were a couple of times when I saw who I believed to an 8-year old come through my 'station' (where I checked eyesight and coordination with an eye-chart and a ball respectively) only to read their form and realise that the child I was speaking to was actually 10 or 11 - one thing that is very noticeable is how small some of the children are for their age.

An ongoing project for Ekimuwulo is to chart the childrens' development and ongoing health concerns through checks like these; there's even a rumour that (Dr) Simon is looking to create an electronic database (so no pressure now I've mentioned it on the blog...) I'm glad that the children will get something more lasting out of the experience of being measured, weighed etc. than the stickers or paper crowns they were given as recompense, though if you asked any of the patients right now they'd probably ask you for another sticker.

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Posted: 19:05:06 on 12/07/2012

Rolling On!

Today we have been on painting duties with the painting group - it is our fourth day of painting but there is a lot of painting to be done! Our work has focused on painting the inside of the children's houses. They comprise two dormitories in each house, both being 'home' to ten children. There is also a 'Mama's' room and a large lobby or foyer. All walls receive three coats of paint and this a preceded by 'prepping' the rooms and afterwards, varnishing the woodwork. It is teamwork and 'it works'!  It has been a joy to be part of it, appreciated by the children, the Mama - and ourselves.

Yesterday morning Margaret and I, helped by Dot, were 'released' from painting duties to take a class. Our children were aged between 7 and 9 and totalled over twenty. We decided to tell them the story of 'Elmer the Elephant', and started by asking them to tell us all the animals they had seen that day, (and there were lots!) and then proceeding, via flash cards for all the colours in the story, and concluding with them drawing and colouring their own picture of Elmer - their pictures were wonderful and showed great flair and imagination. We finished by singing songs to them and then they sang theirs back to us. One of ours was 'a bear went over the mountain' only we substituted  'Elmer' for 'bear'! It was a truly moving time and experience and as we left the class the children were singing our song again and again and the strains could be heard slowly fading as we walked back down the hill to join the others.

The enthuiasm, politeness and obedience of the children was a joy to behold. They are so keen to learn and are so appreciative and responsive to everything that is done with them.

It is priviledge to be here sharing this time with them. So much has been achieved and yet there is still much to do. We shall never forget.

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Posted: 19:38:41 on 11/07/2012

P6 Memory Game

Today, Jade and I introduced the class P6 to a new game, "Memory" ! With the help of our interpreter Wilber, the 13 girls and boys learned to find matching pairs of cards. Unlike children in Switzerland, these kids do not need to stay inside during long winter afternoons and are not so used to play indoor games, but they caught on the game real quickly.

After this first introduction we brought out colors and wooden squares in order to create our own Memory. It was absolutely astonishing to see the creativity of these boys and girls of the age of 11 or 12, the choice of subjects and pictures, but also the patience and the determination. We saw flowers florishing, colorful birds being painted, helicopters designed, fantasy animals being created .... just absolutely astonishing! The teachers Joseph and Simon even gave up their own sessions in order to give the children more time to work on this game, and they even sat down to do a couple of matching pairs themselves.

Seeing the joy and the amusement and amazement in the faces of the children and the teachers was a very precious gift to receive today. After two hours of dedicated work, we had painted all 75 matching pairs and were able to set up a real exhibition on the blackboard. Everybody was very happy.

We brought the exhibiton back to our hotel for the whole group to see. The amazement and astonishment continued right on !!!!!

For me personally, it was a great experience of courage, inspiration and happiness! I am personally not a very artistic person, but to see the talented children, their open minds, their creativeness, ..... that was just amazing.

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Posted: 14:00:21 on 11/07/2012

Thoughts, feelings and emotions

Having now pestered a number of other people to provide their own personal thoughts, feelings and emotions on the trip, I thought that as I’m now in the air on my way to join the first team I should share a few of my own. So here are a few things that are going on in my head as I sit on my very delayed flight, covered in sweat and grime as a result of my fight through London Underground whilst carrying some pretty heavy bags!

Things I’m excited about…

The people - those joining us on the trips and our Ugandan friends who I haven’t seen for a few months.

Being married to a teacher can be a strange experience. Given how passionate Kate (my wife) is about her students I feel like they are a massive part of my life, which in many ways is strange as I have very rarely met them. Anyway, several of these students are joining us on this trip and I’m really quite excited about getting to know them as people – as opposed to hearing about what’s been going on in class through Kate.

I’m also incredibly excited about a lot of the new faces that are joining us for both of the trips. What particularly excites me is the range of backgrounds that they come from and the skills they are bringing – I’m keen to hear what they think (and of course read about it through their blog pieces).

My hopes for the trips…

Other than the obvious hopes of getting lots of new sponsors and supporters from the trips (feel free to support us using the buttons below), I’m also really hopeful for some of the new initiatives we’re instigating with the team this year.

I’m really keen to see what skills the team members bring to teach and share with the children at Ekiwumulo. To me their spending time with the children, showing they care, is so important but often gets overlooked when compared to the material things (e.g. painting a room or building a structure) – so I’m really keen to see how this initiative to spend more time with the children works out.

My fears about the trips…

As ever my biggest fear for the trips is that members of the team don’t really get what we’re trying to achieve in Mityana. It’s always a bit daunting taking new people to see some of the projects we’re running – as we’re always keen for them to get a proper understanding of what we’re trying to do rather than simply scratching the surface.

Anyway, that’s rather enough of my babbling for the time being – I promised Sacha I’d do some real work for him on this flight… I also promised him I’d mention him in the blog, so that’s two birds with one stone!

Never fear, having had a bit of a serious one from me - I’m sure you’ll get some suitably ridiculous post from me soon enough!

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Posted: 20:03:46 on 10/07/2012

A trip down memory lane

We had a wonderful presentation by the school children yesterday. They sang songs and did really nice dancing and drama. It took me back to my school years in India when we as school children did exactly similar kind of performance in English for the team of visitors who came from New Zealand to meet the students and teachers in the school. Our school was set up by the church of New Zealand some 100 years ago.

Coming to Esuubi and being here has brought back all those memories that I had no idea were still locked away somewhere! My being here has become even more meaningful because of my childhood days.

The team had jelled well and we are doing many interesting things.

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