Uganda – my final thoughts.
It’s been a week since we arrived back in the UK from our charity medical and educational mission to Uganda. The five previous blogs have outlined some of the daily activities we undertook, routines that were established and some of the people we met during our trip – as partners in the project, patients and friends.
Having had 7 days to reflect – between getting back to work and travelling to Preston and London for two days – things keep occurring to me as I sit and wait for trains, drive along and stand in the shower.
When we were embarking on our journey back Simon the GP was already musing on the next time he’s returning to Uganda – likely to be next January – and before I could think I said “yep, me too”…you see, Uganda gets under your skin, you find yourself hugging people you’ve only just met, laughing with children about a ball game or a sweet and shaking your head and smiling at many of the aspects of everyday life in and around Kampala.
The first day we walked around the project at Bombo (see blog two) we met Justine and her blended six-person family, chickens and children wombling around her Banda (brick and wood house) in the middle of a bush area, close by a dirt road and the watering hole. Justine – her children in ragged but mainly clean clothes, greeted us with a HUGE smile and gathered her 5 children around her to say hello to the 15-odd people smiling and waving to her. The moment I saw the beautifuyl picture Ruby had taken of Justine and her children, I knew we needed to help them. One of Justine’s family – her 8 year old on – is sponsored to go to school but her 3 year-old girls – one hers and one her grand-daughter – do not go to school. YET.
We, along with our friends Bob and Annette, are sponsoring her girls – Shamima and Aida – to start school immediately. Girls have a tough time in Uganda but we can change that. Some of the stories we heard about teenage girls and young women are graphic, violent and shocking. Not all girls suffer in this way but many will. Education is hugely valued in Uganda and is one of the main ways which will help girls to live more fulfilled and safer lives, develop skills and – combined with better nutrition and family planning – move into careers that suit their skills and personalities.
I’m determined to DO something with the fresh perspective I’ve got from visiting Uganda and the incredible project we are now a part of. In fact I’m determined to do some things with a fresh mindset so I can influence, support and help others with my new-found knowledge…
- Stop making excuses. As an entrepreneur and enterprise advocate I was humbled by the amount of people who are making a living with far fewer resources than we have. I’m going to stop making excuses and start taking action and more responsibility for that action.
- Get more organised so I have more time to work more effectively on making my business more impactful.
- Talk to more people from different backgrounds. The trip to Uganda featured 18 people from diverse backgrounds, we met hundreds of people from different places to us – we made new friends, we helped each other. This is the way forward, NOT building walls – real or metaphoric.
- Work with others. Teamwork is the way to get things done. I spend some time on this, but not enough. As part of a business with up to 12 people involved in it and as a Director of National Careers Week I commit to work more effectively as part of the teams I’m involved in.
- Laugh more.
If you’re interested in any of the projects we were involved with in Uganda you can find out more at https://childrenofhope.org.uk
You can sponsor a Ugandan child to go to school for a month for £20.00 per month. That’s all. You can change a life for the price of a Take Away meal a month. You get to find out about your child regularly and you can send care packages when you wish.
I will be speaking about our experiences in Uganda in the coming months – using some of Ruby’s pictures. If you’d be interested in an assembly or workshop where students can experience something of the life of a Ugandan child, let us know.