The UgandAid team have arrived safely and have been very busy ever since. Unfortunately, between WiFi, laptop issues and power cuts, we hadn’t been able to get anything up on our blog until now. There is a lot to fill you in on.
After landing in Entebbe on Monday evening, we travelled to Kampala and then on to Jinja on Tuesday. It wasn’t the quickest of journeys, with a surprising amount of traffic, but we made it to our hotel and base and were received with the warmest of welcomes.
On Wednesday, the whole team were up bright and early to head over to Nile Vocational Institute, where we were welcomed back by Edison, the director, and his team. We were blown away by his enthusiasm and passion as he spoke about NVI and his vision for the future for the institute. We were then taken on a tour of the campus by Jospeh. He looks after the students at NVI and is a former student himself. He knew everything there was to know about the students.
For those of the team visiting for the first time, we weren’t really sure what to expect, but there was so much which really impressed and moved us as we looked around. One thing we found, when speaking to teaching staff, was how passionate and knowledgeable they were about their subjects. They were clearly very proud of their work and of their students, with many of them being ex students of NVI themselves. We were particularly impressed by the welding student’s award winning sofa, which could be converted into bunk beds! We also found that the students produced some amazing products on, what we would consider to be, pretty basic equipment. The textile department were using beautiful old Singer sewing machines to make some gorgeous garments and the hairdressing department created some fabulous hairstyles with very few tools. We also went to visit the onsite nursery, which brightened everyone’s day. They children were very excited to see us and we were just as excited to meet them.
After a delicious lunch, provided by the catering students, we headed over to a brand new workshop, built into the new perimeter wall of the campus. The workshop is going to be for Yunusu as place for him to make, repair and sell shoes. The building had not long been completed and was in need of varnishing and painting, so we put on our scruffs and got ready for an afternoon of hard work. By 17:30, the difference was already pretty amazing (if we do say so ourselves). The exterior bricks had to be scraped, brushed, washed and varnished and the interior walls were scraped and cleaned. It was a filthy job and we were all very relieved to have a shower, but disappointed that our “tans” washed off! A much needed curry was had in Jinja.
On Thursday, we were all up early again and back at NVI after breakfast, to carry on with Yunusu’s workshop. Before we could start any work though, a poor gecko had to be rescued after it had tried to climb up a newly varnished wall and got stuck to it. Thanks to Simon, he was ok and ran off. The varnished bricks looked great and today was all about painting. Both inside and outside were tackled, with everyone mucking in and getting busy again. We managed to get two coats of undercoat on the exposed concrete on the outside, two coats of undercoat on the walls and ceiling inside and all the doors and window frames painted in a gorgeous red gloss. This was, of course, interrupted by yet another delicious lunch and some impromptu singing with the children from the onsite nursery. We all loved the new song they taught us about loving you neighbour as you love yourself. We finished off the day with a visit from Mary, an ex NVI student. She brought a lovely Valentine’s Day lemon cake for us and we all got to meet her beautiful 5 month old daughter, Paula. It was a great end to a great day.
More to follow shortly…