Bwaise Expedition to Uganda 2016
Northamptonshire Scouts Bwaise Expedition to Uganda 2016
Pitsford Scout Group Contingent
I first visited Outspan School in Bwaise Uganda in 1997 when I was part of the first Northamptonshire Scouts Bwaise Expedition. I have returned to Outspan School regularly over the 20 years and I have often tried to encourage young people to accompany me to be part of this life changing experience but it has not happened until recently. Some Explorer Scouts from Pitsford Explorer Scout Unit asked me in January 2015 if they could come with me to Uganda as they had been involved with the fundraising for Outspan since Pitsford opened in 2007. I immediately said yes let’s do it. After 18 months of fundraising and grant applications for the young people’s travel cost and the project cost we were ready to fly. We had raised over £1000 for each of the 5 Explorers and Network members and £6000 for the dormitory block we had promised to build. As it was impractical to build the dormitory whilst we were there we sent some of the money over beforehand so that they could start on the building and we agreed that we would paint it on our arrival.
The team consisted of 9 of us from Pitsford and Graham Smith and Chris Saul from Spratton. Graham and Chris have been to Uganda before.
We flew from Birmingham on 10th July via Emirates and arrived in Entebbe on 11th July. Dismas Otoori Principal and Leonard Okokes Outspan Primary School Head teacher greeted us as long lost friends. We crammed all the luggage into the two vehicles and travelled to Kampala, and after settling into our accommodation we eagerly awaited our first visit to Outspan on 12th July .No one can tell you how this is going to feel. I always say it is a sunglasses moment as tears usually flow down my cheeks. The wonderful welcome one receives is nothing like one has had before. The whole school is waiting for us at the top of the road. The band starts to play and we are escorted down the muddy track to the smart entrance of the school
And we are all presented with lovely bunches of flowers
We are then given some purple t shirts with ‘We build Africa ‘ on the back, I felt a little uncomfortable about this but over the last 20 years we have, with the help of many other people ,built this little school from what it was in 1997 to what it is today
Painting part of the School in 1997
Dismas kept saying that without all the support from Northamptonshire the school would not be what it is today.
We started making friends right away , the children loved playing with balloons and bubbles that we had brought out with us .
We realised that we had come to paint the Primary School too so had to get to work.
Dismas couldn’t resist helping us too
We had a wonderful time at the Primary School and Nursery section, making lots of friends. The children have play equipment to play on which they love, we gave them soft toys which went down well and we had lots of dancing and singing.
We then had to move on to the Secondary School which is in the bush 2 hours from Kampala, in Nakakonge, Kayunga District.
A fantastic welcome at the Secondary School ,there are about 180 pupils at the school , most of them are boarders. The new girls dormitory housed 80 girls and we had to paint around their bunks beds. We started a painting at 7.30 am as it is cooler then.
The team start work on the dormitory block the next day including Dismas of course
Travis Perkins very kindly donated all the paintbrushes for the project so this our is out Thank You photo , wearing Saints Rugby shirts that were donated last year !
Painting inside the dormitory
Our friends Angel and Udaya prepare omelettes for breakfast whilst some of the team relax. It is very hot work.
The girls had their hair braided and Jessica helped some students with their text on Oliver Twist, in cockney rhyming slang which is rather difficult if you are Ugandan
Evonne took a A level maths class and James did a Tutorial on A level Maths
James discusses Uganda with Yusef
Rebecca sits in on a class
I meet Christopher Tebba who is sponsored by Northamptonshire County Scout Council
At the end of our stay with the painting completed Jess and Rebecca unveiled the plaque to commemorate our project .”Lala Salama “ is sleep well in Swahili
Joe, Jayne and James cut the ribbon to open the dormitory
We have all left our handprints at Outspan Primary School, I am called Namirembe by Dismas,
It means Full of peace in Luganda.
It was so hard to say goodbye to our little friends.
We were very pleased to meet Tom Maxwell Ngobi again ,it was like 20 years ago, Tom started Outspan Primary with Dismas in 1995
We have had such a memorable trip with so many photos .We have experienced life with Ugandan school children, enjoyed their wonderful singing and dancing displays ,their campfire singing is something we should learn from. We went on a wonderful Safari, visited the Source of the river Nile, and had a magnificent day’s white water rafting, one the team will never forget. Had our photo taken at the Equator, We visited sites in Kampala, the museum, the Baháí Temple, Martyrs’ shrine, craft markets and enjoyed out friends’ company. The schools still needs a lot of resources. The Primary School has computers that are over 20 years old, which we sent in 2003. Laptops are a better option really and they are not hugely expensive in Uganda. The Internet connection at the Secondary School is non-existent, that is a problem and I feel the students of that age need to learn IT. At the moment the teacher is showing them on a chalk board how to do word processing!
There is a plot of land near the Nursery School which would cost £10,000 to purchase but what an asset to be able to play sports. The Scouts do not have uniforms at the moment, they are about £11.00 each, and they would look really smart in uniforms.
I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to take some Young People to Uganda, this is an experience they all want to repeat again. If anyone wants to go to Uganda then they won’t regret it. It is the most rewarding worthwhile and eye opening experience anyone could have .Go for it, live the life and experience the Country.
Georgina Miles Pitsford Group Scout Leader.