Holiday Camp Fun!

After completing our research into the different types of organisations, vocational centres and schools in the Iganga community last week, the Community Mapping Team began their holiday camp on Monday.

The team and 11 street-connected children at the camp have began what is already set to be an exciting week of educational, resilience and sport activities.

The first order of the day was voting for which child should be Chair Person, Welfare Officer and Time keeper. These roles are to ensure everyone is getting involved, keeping to time and that their welfare needs are being met. Six children were put forward for these roles and each candidate did a speech. After we voted and the posts were filled, the Chair Person was sworn in. The team went through the expectations of the camp and ground rules were set out for everyone. Some of the expectations put forward were respecting one another, having fun and myself being a goalkeeper in a game of football!


The first activity of the day was a language game led by Tariq. The group was split into 3 teams and had the chance to learn some words in French, Swahili or Portuguese. After some time to get our heads around these new words, each group presented what they had learnt. I was very impressed by how well the children picked up these new words. We even made a song using some French words in my team!


Not only did this activity give the children the opportunity to immerse themselves in a different language, it also enabled the volunteers to develop their teaching and facilitating skills.

After having some lunch and a break it was time for football. Everyone enjoyed a friendly staff vs students game. Despite the heat and a brewing storm, it was a fun game that resulted in 5-2 to the staff! We won! Although the kids played very well, we had Martin, the star striker on our team.





After an enjoyable first day, we said goodbye to the kids and that we would see them for the second day of camp tomorrow. Everyone had left knowing at least a new word in a different language and with a sense of holiday camp spirit. The Community Mapping team are all looking forward to this week of fun, games and learning as well as our Community Mapping event next week.






The Morning After…

After a long weekend at Slippy* Falls, both teams were as fresh as they could be to start working again. The long journey back from Mbale tired everyone out although some had a cosy nap on the way back -you know who you are;)

The morning after consisted of a switch up on the daily routine. Community mapping had the privilege of waking up later than usual whilst social enterprise had the struggle of being ready by 8am! 8am struck on the non existent clock in the guesthouse & those who were ready waited for Moses (our driver) to arrive in his geared out van (we’ve got a speaker & AUX!) We did have some latecomers  but I’m happy to say that wasn’t me! Eventually, the 10 of us toppled into the van & we set off for our long day ahead at the holiday camp.

As we drove up the bumpy path to SALVE land, heads collided & bopped to the rocky beat. Cameron was prepared with his helmet & managed to protect his tiny brain(only joking “darlin'”). We finally reached the top & Moses parked the van under the jackfruit tree as we excitedly rushed out to be greeted by the children. The constant repetition of “hello Aunty” just reminded me of my newborn baby niece waiting back at home for me (shout out to my sister, thinking of you!)

A few moments later, the children & the team gathered at the roundhouse for the new introductions & new faces. At first we didn’t know how well they would adapt to the second half of Team Uganda as they were used to the community mapping team. However, they quickly grew fond of us & started learning our names-who knew my name was that hard to pronounce?!

9am & it was time to start the activities! Up first was myself with my hula hoop clock game. Unfortunately, I couldnt carry 6 hula hoops with me even though some would say my suitcase was “massive”. Instead, I cut some string & each team created their own clock face with sticks & chalk. The aim of my activity was to get the children to have fun & learn about time at the same time.


Here are some pictures of the children running to change the time as I read out the questions! There was some cheating (ahem, Jess) but Apples came out on top! We finished off my activity with some chaotic rounds of “whats the time Mr wolf?”


After my crazy game, the children needed an activity to calm down & Natalie had the perfect one; the children had to create a flag which represents how they view SALVE. We were all amazed at the artistic skills these children have! Here are some pictures below of just a few of the fantastic flags!



After our tea break & the constant nagging of how many sugars I have in my tea, Cameron carried out his “create your own country” activity. The aim was to come up with a fantasy country, draw what the flag & country shape would look like & write up a set of rules. Some of them were hilarious but all of them showed what the children valued most which was lovely to see.

As the day continued, we had lunch which was the usual rice, posho & beans, carried out more activities & danced with the help of Raven. The day was coming to an end but we could not leave the land without a good football game! So, we headed down to the pitch, split the team into staff vs children & played the craziest, most competitive game I have ever seen! After a victory of 6-4 to the children, we walked back with our heads hanging in shame, said our goodbyes for the day & hopped back into the van to make our way back to the house!


Week 2 holiday camp has just began…Until tomorrow, where the day starts again at 8am…rise & shine my wheelies 😉


*Sippi Falls




Fire in the market?

To kick-start Tuesday morning, Laura’s voice was projected throughout the guest house. “The local Musana market has burnt down!” Waking up to the unsettling news alongside yet another power cut meant that the morning was, one could say, quite a unique one.

Without a functioning toaster or kettle, Cameron and I decided that we should head down to Space Cafe for some Ugandan pancakes. Tuesday, as instructed by Laura was a full day of report writing for the social enterprise team. Luckily, team Briqueen were half way through and only the financial analysis awaited completion. Cameron, being the impressive mathematician he is, spent several hours working incredibly hard on the breakeven analysis and capital budgeting for our stove-making social enterprise. Whilst he focused on the mathematical side, I worked on the theoretical side and market/industry analysis.


Feeling content with the progress of our report, we made our way back to the guest house at 6pm. The remaining hours of the evening were spent with the team, enjoying our Gorilos watching Mr and Mrs. Smith, an absolute classic!




The Midway Point

Today (Friday) was a long day. Starting at 9am with debriefs to working over the grill late at night, Friday was a busy day to say the least. The day ended on a great buzz. Let’s start from the beginning though.

In the early morning, we started with a group debrief. “What did each group do?”, “What were your highlights of the week?” and “What were your challenges?” There were some laughs as we went around the group, along with the odd grimace. We all shared our individual projects which was interesting. Most importantly, everything is on track and we are excited to start for the holiday camps.

After our debrief, we worked on reports. I finished up my report for SALVE and the university while overseeing the groups working on their own reports. The problem was… we had been without power all morning. Usually don’t exceptions aren’t made it comes to report writing. However, without power or internet it was practically impossible to continue working.

Whilst I left them to work,  I left with Ali. Having been promoted recently, (WELL DONE ALI!) he had to crack on with his holiday camp schedule. He had done a good job getting activities off his Ugandan volunteers and we managed to knock out a plan in a couple of hours. After this we went to oversee some of our teams who were taking advantage of the power and internet at a local cafe.

We clocked off around half 4 to go get supplies. It was bbq time. Stocked up with more veg and meat than 3 people should carry, we set off back to the guest house. Still without power the race was on against the setting sun to prep as much as possible. About 60 skewers, several burgers and several pots of marinated meats later we had to light the fire. We had chosen to support SALVE and buy their briquettes. Shameless pitch for SALVE who are providing smokeless fuel for the people of Jinja, better for their health and their wallet. We struggled at first though, as we had forgotten to ask how to light them. We had them part lit but we were struggling. Then arrived the briquette man, Paul. In a flash he had them roaring. I was struggling with the heat. It was intense.


With no power everyone spontaneously migrated to the garden. The party was in full swing with music, strobes, fire and food. First the food for the veggies, then all the halal before finishing up with food for the rest. We had a great selection that night.


This was one of the best evenings so far for me. I learned a lot about some great people. Even better, this was the first time we had invited all our Ugandan volunteers over after work. We danced. We laughed. We were merry. The night ended with our Ugandans having to get home. As soon as I heard they were all home safe my head hit the pillow.


The very early morning

It was the night after Callum’s 21st birthday which made the already very early start of 7am feel even earlier. The 3-hour trip to Mbale didn’t help the tired heads of team briqueen, the speed bumps the size of small mountains nearly flung us out of the car. Along the way… there were incredible views of mountains and huge swamps but, by far, the best sight was the look on Nayyab’s face when we stopped off for a toilet break in a rural village. The toilet could only have been described as a small hole in the ground which hundreds of people must have used without it being cleaned once.

Eventually, we made it to Mbale and we were greeted by an immense mountain range with clear skies. We turned off the main road.  We drove down a dirt track in search of our contact, a wholesaler of briquette stoves. Any hopes of getting some sleep on this leg of the journey quickly vanished. The road was so bumpy that a dead body wouldn’t have been able to get a wink of sleep. After finding the organisation, we were given a tour and saw the complete production process from start to finish. We asked a lot of questions. Some of the skill the workers had… incredible, they were handling very sharp sheets of metal with no gloves and slamming hammers down dangerously close to their fingers.

The trip was good news for team briqueen (Me,  Nayyab and Leah) as we learned that the production of stoves, on a small scale, was very achievable and cost effective. As the mathematician, and now feeling a bit better by this point, I worked out the numbers and had a cost per unit and initial investment costs which again brought out promising results.


The return leg of the journey was just as tiresome. It was made easier by the sight of  wild baboons and I was teaching the Ugandans some of the Manchester lingo which had hilarious results.


We finally made it home at 8:30pm. Dinner was waiting for us, it was tomato pasta. This was a lot better than the teams last attempt which became known as the “PASTA DISASTA”. The team then discussed our findings for the day. Despite it being a really long day it was very enjoyable and an incredible experience and also very useful considering  the amount of information we learned. Team briqueen is making progress and we’re looking forward to what else we can accomplish and what other surprises are on the way.



The Dream Team


This is my opportunity to embrace how my day has been. A lot of appreciation to the Dream Team, which is Natalie, Tajmina and myself Robert. We are working on the British pancakes, so we tested them out and they were so amazing that everyone liked them. The community all welcomed the innovation in the area in which we were operating.

Getting to me, there is a phrase I like which states:

‘’The more the monkey climbs a tree, the more it exposes its tentacles’’.

Looking at the time we started working on British pancakes… for sure I was blank and I had no idea but – after digging deep, testing them out, visiting Holy crepe – I came to know what I’m dealing with and working on and the only thing I can recommend anyone to test out is ‘’A British pancake’’ because it’s so healthy.

Onto business, I think of the phrase:

‘’Because they can make a dog jump, they somehow think that somebody wants a jumping dog’’

It’s after testing out our pancakes that we realised that we are on the right track with our business. Our target market was the local people and a good percentage liked our pancakes. Local people were even spending – at least some – money on it.

To sum it up, we had an amazing day together with my team and everything was so nice and interesting, Thanks to Laura and S.A.L.VE at large.


Another day in the office…

On Tuesday, the team continued their mapping of Iganga. Having to travel long distances between schools actually became a blessing in disguise as we finally had the opportunity to jump on Boda-bodas (with helmets). Visiting communities and carrying out research has continued to be a pleasurable experience to me, especially seeing how friendly and welcoming people are here. “You are welcome!” has become a constant of my days.

I have gained some interesting insights into the education system here, witnessing the true importance of education to these children and what it means to them and noticing differences between here and the UK. Interacting with the locals has reinforced my goal ideology that material possession isn’t necessary to live a happy lifestyle.

We finished at the last school by taking routine pictures outside the front school sign post. I noticed loitering children surveying me in the distance. I waved them over encouraging them to take a picture with me. Hesitantly, a couple eventually came over and joined me. At last, I managed to get the tiny group of infants over to join me for the picture. Looking all innocent and adorable, it was a very special moment for me.



The Nile… In style?

After a long & hard week of work, we finally had our first day off. In the morning a group of us headed down to the local African tailors to create the dresses we dreamed up. The most difficult part was choosing one fabric from the hundreds of vibrant colours they had in the shop. Some of us (A.K.A. Natalie) decided to take the dress making to the next level & get matching outfits for her & her boyfriend.


After this we started our trek to Africa’s Largest Lake, Lake Victoria. Along the way we ran into the local animals: some spiders the size of our hands; monkeys jumping between trees, & some birds which when they spread their wings are taller than me.


Once we arrived at Lake Victoria we began our river boat cruise from the North West side of the lake. We ventured round the outskirts, ultimately arriving at the source of the River Nile. We couldn’t believe our eyes; for as long as we could see there was what looked like an ocean of water.


You wouldn’t have been able to tell it was anything special, other than the small shop situated right in the middle of the channel of water which led off of Lake Victoria. The shop (named “The Source of the River Nile” ) was a quaint shop which when fifteen people are crammed into it seemed a lot smaller than it actually was.


The boys & the girls enjoyed it… who do you think had the best squad pics?


A (comparatively) relaxing Friday

On Friday, the team held their first evaluation meeting at the Guest House. Joined by the lovely Ugandan volunteers, each sub-team group shared their highlights and challenges of the week. Cameron’s highlight was Abbie being chased by the goats at the S.A.L.V.E land on Tuesday, Tariq’s challenge was attempting to prevent his rice from resembling potato mash. Ethan rewarded the dish a 7/10, which was probably because it was 21:45 and he would’ve eaten anything at that point.

The teams then got started on their Community Mapping and Social enterprise project reports. The University of Manchester branded memory drives, all identical to each other, caused much confusion. The Ugandan volunteers struggled with differences in language terminology and spent a significant amount of time debating over whether to call them ‘flash drives’, ‘memory sticks’ or ‘memory cards’.


After a long morning of hard work, the team went off for lunch at the Deli café where Nayyab conspired to spill two bottles of coke on herself within a space of 15 minutes, good job.


A long walk back to the Guest House saw Cameron, Jess and Ali fill a small trolley with Nile Specials and, not surprisingly, attempt to buy the trolley along with the beverages. Unfortunately for Cameron and Ali, the trolley was not for sale, so they proceeded to struggle the box of Specials through central Jinja and back home.

The night was spent relaxing and watching the total lunar eclipse, which was slightly therapeutic. Thea being our very own in-house physicist, enlightened us on the science behind the phenomenon. The pictures below aren’t the best quality but perfectly capture our day!

– Tariq & Nayyab



Out ‘n’ About

As part of the community mapping team, we began our second day of field research by meeting the Ugandan volunteers at the central market in Jinja. One thing we must get better at is being on time (note to self: even if you have lost your hair grips)! From the market, we boarded “martatu’s” which are small bus taxi’s. They are… an acquired taste: 4 people squished into a 3 seat row is very interesting, especially in this heat! We got off at Iganga, the district we are mapping.

We are extremely fortunate to be mapping this particular area as it has never been mapped by S.A.L.V.E. before so its super cool. It is a big area so we are split into three teams mapping different parts of the district. Asha and Ali make up my team and we have such a good time together! We are always laughing and having fun while getting lots of hard work done.

The first school we visited today was a primary school and once we had finished asking the head master our questions for our research, he kindly showed us around and introduced the children to us. Perhaps my fondest memory of the school was visiting P2 class, which is a lower primary school class. They showed us the prayers they say every day and the food one they recited for us was beautiful:

“Some people have food but cannot eat. Some people do not have food but can eat. We have food and can eat and so are blessed.”


The children here – especially in Iganga – are fascinated by the Muzungu’s i.e. the foreigners i.e. us. It’s so crazy, when we walk into a school they all peek into the office to see us. It’s very different to anything I have experienced before!

We had lunch in a cute café, eating beans and rice. A staple meal here it seems. It doesn’t sound too appealing but the beans are actually beautiful; they have a really nice – almost spicy – flavour to them, and everything is so fresh here its so refreshing.

One thing I found heartbreaking today was that I saw a little puppy which was crying. I really wanted to go over and save the poor soul but we can’t because we can’t know if they have been immunised against rabies. But to cheer me up, Cameron kindly showed me a picture of a goat he saw today which definitely perked me up! Look at him!!


The rain today was extremely refreshing! It was the first day it’s rained during the day and by gosh did it pour. As Callum said, “It was very British like, but like having a shower outside in warm water.” Poor Asha had to trudge through the puddles in her broken sandals!

Getting back to Jinja after speaking to two more schools was also interesting, to say the least. The taxi drivers ended up arguing between themselves because, from what I gathered, they were all trying to get us in their taxi. It was manic in a bewildering way!

We had a really chilled evening, playing cards, eating fajitas, and watching a film. All in all, a very successful yet relaxing day. I am absolutely loving my time here in Uganda and I’m so proud of everyone for doing this amazing work for S.A.L.V.E.