And so it ends..

It was the 18th of August and our final day was upon us, we had blinked and a month had flown by. We spent this final morning doing a project review and saying goodbye to the children at the S.A.L.V.E land.

We discussed what kind of a lasting impact the project had left in the community and for S.A.L.V.E. We also gave ideas on what could be done to make the project even better for next years group. We finished off the review by writing about p skills we had seen in others over the course of the project, it was a good positive way to end the session.

Then came the tough goodbyes, although we only had a week of being fully at the end the saying goodbye to the S.A.L.V.E children was tough. We had to say goodbye to the children who we had grown to know, such talented children who had welcomed us into their lives and country. There were some tears, but we all wished the children the best for the future and hope that they can continue their development with the help of S.A.L.V.E.

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The 2017 project has come to an end. It was four weeks ago when we met the Ugandan volunteers and staff. Thee team have done some brilliant work which we hope will positively  impact S.A.L.V.E. and the Ugandan communities we went into. We were privileged to be able to see the amazing work S.A.L.V.E. International do, we hope that this continues and that they continue the good work they are doing.

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A big thank you to Amy and Emma for all their hard work in helping the country in all the stages of team Uganda right from the training days, to our time in uganda and getting us back home safely. Also thank you to the rest of the e UK and Ugandan team for being such an amazing group of people to work with. I’d also like to thank S.A.L.V.E. International for welcoming us so warmly into the S.A.L.V.E. family and being so cooperative, allowing for some really great work to be completed.

Finally, thank you to the generous donors who make Team Uganda possible.

Until Next Year

Michael A

 

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treasure hunts, talent shows, El Classico, and bonfires

For our second last day in Uganda, we were blessed with a lie in, not travelling to the S.A.L.V.E. land until the afternoon. Craving home comforts, the majority of us went to the local café for lunch that wasn’t rice or beans, and topped it off with milkshakes.

 

Despite the lazy start, everyone was excited to get to the land and see the kids, who had been preparing their talents for the talent show later that day. This including a lot of dancing, a reading from the bible and an eating competition, some slightly more talented than others.

All this fun soon ended when we found out what was to follow, El classico, the staff vs kids football match, which no one wanted to lose. Despite poor goalkeeping, some dodgy refereeing decisions and a somewhat sloped pitch, the volunteers and staff managed a hard fought 4-3 win.

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We ended the night with a bonfire and an African rave, started expertly by Toria, finally finding a use for her disco ball speakers. A few burnt marshmallows later it was time to leave, and we all had an early night to prepare for our final day.

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T minus 2 days…

Hi everyone!

So today was one of our last days at the holiday camp, and none of us can quite believe that we’ll be making our way home in just 2 days!

We started off the day making our way up the slippery and muddy hill (that our fundraising will turn into a road very soon) which leads to the S.A.L.V.E land, in the pouring rain with thunder and lightning in the distance. However, the weather did not stop two of the boys from running down the hill barefoot to greet us – as they have done every morning that we have been here.

Today’s main activities were run by Victoria, which included making dream catchers and worry dolls with the children. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the sentiment behind these crafts and the boys had fun creating their own wall of dream catchers.

 

Just before lunch a lucky few of us were taken aside by Destiny (one of the older girls in SALVES sponsorship program) and taught how to make the famous passion fruit juice that we drink every day we are at the land. Destiny put us all too shame, for every cup we made she made 5! It has fast become a team favourite.

Later on in the evening the culinary lessons continued. Maureen and Sam (two members of the SALVE family) taught another group of us how to prepare and cook a typical Ugandan meal which included fried cabbage, yummy greens and Irish potatoes. I think the team who cooked really enjoyed getting the opportunity to learn how to prepare a meal that we have had almost every day whilst we have been here.

We can’t wait to come home with a taste of Uganda and prepare a meal for all of you at home!

Thanks for reading and see you all soon! Ella xxx

Day 24 – 16th Aug

Today was our last full day at the holiday camp- Sad! The kids, ably led by Qiarna, started off by completing their paper mache creations from yesterday. Arts and crafts always have a slightly (very) hectic feel at the holiday camp, but if we’re measuring success by the amount of glue and paper everywhere then the activity was definitely a success.

Maureen, one of the Ugandan volunteers, then ran a demonstration of liquid soap-making using a succession of chemicals that I’m sure aren’t available in the UK without a license. But we persevered with Ugandan health and safety measures, and I’m sure Zeeshan will regain the use of his left eye any day now. The soap making is nice because, like the briquette project running at the centre, it’s a possible source of income for the kids, which is another step towards them returning to full time education and their families.

A brief return to crafts with paper-plate-mask-making, with the normal mess returning. There always seems to be at least one kid who will make something phenomenally creepy, and the images of some of the masks will stay with me forever. I was hoping that someone would make me a mask to match my new moniker- the kids have been calling me Mr Bean for a few days for, as far as I can tell, no good reason- but I guess my face already looks sufficiently Bean-like.

After another hearty lunch, chaos resumed, and loud bangs echoed disturbingly across the hills as the kids took it in turns to make couches from balloons. This went almost exactly how you’d expect.

Meanwhile, Ella and Kemba ran an obstacle course indoors- we’d hoped to use some of the huge expanse of the land, but rain in the morning had turned it into something which was apparently too close to a deathtrap for even Ugandan sensibilities- and these people ride motorbikes side saddle. Once all the kids (and some of the volunteers) had had their turn racing around the obstacle course, it was outside again to watch Joe C perform magic. The kids constructed and decorated paper volcanos, and then we shepherded them outside to enjoy the ritual adding of vinegar to baking soda inside them. This got a satisfyingly hysterical reaction from some of the kids, although some of them seemed more interested in drinking the vinegar.

Overall it was another really fun day the holiday camp, if tinged with a hint of sadness that this was our last full day- we have evaluations and packing to look forward to over the next few days, although hopefully we’ll continue to cram in some more games of football and give the Ugandans a chance to come back from their devastating 7-1 defeat. There’s nothing like smashing the ball past some eight year olds to make me feel good about myself, and I hope the opportunity will come again.

Love to all back home- and see you soon.

Joe P

Final week begins

It’s the first day of the last week! Three weeks have flown by!

The holiday camp is now in full swing and back to back activities are keeping us as engaged as week one. The first activity of the day was paper mache, led by Qiarna. The kids loved layering up balloons with old newspapers and clumping it together with PVA glue, even the Ugandan volunteers got stuck in! It was a new activity for the kids – they learnt some crafts skills, as well as patience and concentration. To keep the kids on their toes, we went out to play volleyball whilst the paper mache was drying.

For lunch we had the standard rice and bean – can’t go wrong! A few of us had fun making the passion juice too!

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Next up was dodgeball, another new game for the kids, along with some other fun games. This tested teamwork and communication. Everyone got more and more competitive as we went through the rounds, some more than others (cough cough * Joe p *).

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After a long day in the scorching sun, we headed back to the guest house to rest up ready for another busy day.

 

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Campfires and communities

Today started abruptly at 7am when the teams from Walukuba East and Walukuba West came together to show our presentations of final research to the community. This consisted of Diya, Faye, Mahesh and Michael J from The University of Manchester, with Ugandan volunteer Moureen and a lot of organisation and work put in by the wonderful Amy. Sadly after much time preparing, Ruth was unable to make the presentation due to personal reasons and was sadly missed. Our presentation consisted of detailed speeches from Alfred from S.A.L.V.E., the findings from our research and a closing speech from the LC of Walukuba. We had a great turn out which added to the atmosphere starting off a great day.

The community was hugely interactive responding to our questions which has given us a lot to think about which we can hopefully put to good use. To wrap up, the children from the resilience programme showed off their brilliant dance moves and rapping which impressed our visitors and left everyone with a huge smile on their face, seeing the potential of the street connected children.

After a busy morning presenting, the group from Walukuba went to join the rest of the team at the S.A.L.V.E. land, who had made over 150 burgers, for a night of great food and campfire songs. The children enjoyed our company and games with laughter well into the night. Following the long but lovely day it was eventually time to leave the kids and return to the Busoga guest house where we all crashed for an early night, ready for the next day of shenanigans.

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Two hour taxi waits and ‘The Secret’ – my two weeks in Mafubira

Mafubira is as you’d expect; chirpy locals, dozens of Bodas and enough Rolex to make you never want to look at an omelette or chapatti again. Me, Qiarna and Joshua took west Mafubira while Toes (Victoria), Ella and Tabisa took the east. The days spanned out like this; get in the 14 seater taxi and wait till 18 people filled the cramp van (which being six foot two didn’t bode well, even if it did give the locals something to laugh at), get out at ‘The Secret’ (more to come later) and then head off to start the day. Josh would usually lead the interviews with me and Qiarna trying our best to keep up with the laughter and flow, however when the situation arose and someone spoke English we would crack on. The community would go above and beyond to welcome us in, with one elderly lady (who was partially blind) offering me lunch and another insistent on giving me tea. We interviewed a shop keeper/local prince and I met many children who were fascinated by my ghostly complexion.

 

All in all, we received an amazing response in Mafubira. The people answered all our questions in full, with some interviews exceeding an hour, they gave us lengthy and detailed answers. When it came to writing up our data, east and west come together and met at ‘The Secret’. This infamous and somewhat secluded spot served the best avocado salad and ‘chippy chips’ Jinja had to offer. It became a regular occurrence, we would meet, eat and watch Indian soap operas while discussing our days work and writing up our responses. All in all, my time in the suburbs of Jinja were eye opening; I got to see a community what felt like worlds apart from Wigan but homely nonetheless.

But as one journey ends another begins. The summer camps took off today. The children loved building musical instruments, playing capture the flag (Tabisa proved herself a hidden gladiator) and generally playing easy games. I’m looking forward to the week ahead, however I’m dreading returning to rainy Fallowfield. I would like to thank the Alumni for their amazing support in this project, I have cherished every moment even the cold showers and carb heavy meals.

Peace and love.

Miss you Mum.

Emma UoM we love you.

Mzungu out. xxx

Day 18- Mafubira Presentation Day!

The day we had been preparing for had arrived.  We woke up early for the final push, report printing and presentation practice.

The day felt extremely sentimental as we knew this was the last day we had in Mafubira, a place we had got to know well over the past fortnight.

 

After a final team lunch we got into our last cramped taxi (that I may not miss as much). We arrived at Dignity to Africa, set up our stuff and waited nervously for the community to arrive. We even saw some familiar faces, including the gorgeous baby Ethel!

A welcome by Alfred set us into our presentation. We then spoke about how we had been out in Mafubira, asking community members what they knew about children on the streets, their attitudes and what they think is causing children running to the streets and how this could be addressed. Joshua and Tabisa were wonderful translators and definitely put the U.K. team at ease. Everyone seemed enthusiastic when our shiny fresh reports were handed out.

Brian, a boy from the S.A.L.V.E. land bravely stood up and told the community his story. The crowd sat and listened and many had some good points during feedback at the end, hopefully all useful for S.A.L.V.E. We ended with a performance of “Never give up which was a lovely and upbeat way to end the presentation especially with the songs important message.

Our goal was to raise awareness of the issues of children on the street and get the community to think about their role in preventing which we hope this presentation was successful in doing.

I am very thankful for my Mafubira team, working together to create something we can all be proud of and making the hot days in the community go so quick. I am grateful to our Ugandan volunteers, Tabisa and Joshua, for looking after us and making everyday a joy. I will thoroughly miss spots such as the Secret and the tasty samosa stall.

Finally, I am thankful for the Alumni donors for making this whole experience possible.

-Victoria

 

Presentations begin…

An 8am start this morning for the Walukuba mapping group’s presentation. With the booklet containing the 19 institutions interviewed over the past two weeks, printed and ready to go, all that was left was, to present the information gathered back to the community members.

Due to local timings, the presentation started at 10.30 and began with an introduction from Walukuba’s Community Leader as well as Alfred from the S.A.L.V.E team. The presentation was a great opportunity for S.A.L.V.E to increase awareness of their work in the community but also to thank all of the community members who had given us their time to be interviewed and the chance to feedback to the community and give them a copy of the booklet we created.

The community event was also a great opportunity not just for S.A.L.V.E, but also for the schools, vocational training centres and organisations to network, in the hope of integrating the services and resources for the future benefit of young people within the local community.

The presentation also gave Paul from S.A.L.V.E with the opportunity to promote their social enterprise venture in briquettes, a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to coal fuel. The community members, some of whom are involved in the running of vocational training centres and entrepreneurial based organisations expressed an interest in the venture. This builds on the work of Team Uganda 2016 who helped to research the viability of the briquette enterprise and overall shows the durability of the business and its potential to grow in the future.

Overall, the high turnout at the presentation has shown how important the work to map the area of Walukuba has been. The community event has been the culmination of the past two weeks and we hope will be the beginning of greater co-operation between institutions operating in the area to work towards empowering young people and their families whether it be through education, skills or assistance and maintain their ties within the community.

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-Emma

Day 17 – prep day

Preparation for the presentations is in full swing with all teams working on their reports and presentations.

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The teams headed to various cafes in Jinja to use their super fast broadband and peaceful ambience for optimal report writing conditions.

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Laptops broke, heavy rain had groups stranded and soaked, brains wore tired but the teams persevered. It was great to see all the teams working together so well and encouraging each other through these busy days. Amy has been working extremely hard reading through everyone’s reports and trying to support them in preparing for their presentations.

A few groups finalised their presentations. With an 8 am start looming for some tomorrow it was a quick trip for Indian before getting.

 

After 2 and a half weeks of advocacy and mapping research, presentation of results comes tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing all the teams hard work and to beginning the holiday camp.

 

Michael A