On the 10th of August 2012 I met up with an 8 man team from Queenspark Baptist Church at Glasgow Airport ready to set out on our day of travelling to embark upon our Ugandan Adventure. The team were incredible, I was lucky enough to spend my first 10 days alongside them and Ernie Bayton before being the only volunteer for my final 4 weeks.
During my first week The Luwero Community Project held their 6th Annual Youth camp which was an absolutely amazing experience. From getting up at 5am to sing, dance and praise whilst watching the sun rise to getting the opportunity to preach in front of over 500 people, the youth camp is definitely an experience I will never ever forget. Not only did I get to be involved in the youth camp but I tried so many new foods, saw animals I’ve only ever heard of, visited the equator and source of the Nile as well as experiencing a Ugandan thunder and lightning storm, I have to say I will never ever be scared in Britain’s poor excuse of one again.
Being on my own for the remainder of my trip meant that I got a true taste of what Ugandan life is like and the work the project does. Over those 4 weeks I got to spend a lot of time in the primary school, especially with the nursery children, did some farming, which involved the use of a machete, helped teachers with preparation and got involved in church activities.
To say my trip was a life changing experience is an understatement! The smallest things remind me of my time there; I will never ever forget it or be the person I was before I left. It has changed my life entirely and really given me a sense of reality. Never in my life have I met such incredible, happy people. They sleep in homes smaller than most british bathrooms, don’t have enough food to feed their children, have no electricity, running water or sanitation, wear the same clothes every day which are ripped and torn yet they treated me like royalty and wanted to do all they could for me. I was so honoured and privileged to be in their company and learned so much for each and every single person! If anything I have come home with a real sense of guilt for having the ability to come home and for everything I took for granted! Gabriel and Deborah are the most inspirational people I have ever had the privilege to meet. I learned so much from them and was made to feel so at home and welcome. The difference the project is making to the community is sensational and truly awe inspiring. To say I miss them is an understatement; they have changed me so much as a person and taught me not only about Uganda but about the Lord. They made me realise that nothing we achieve or gain in our lives is through ourselves. Everything is a gift from God, especially where he places us for our birth as so much of your life is dependent on the country in which you are born and the resources and opportunities it can provide!
I just want to finish by thanking the Lord for the work the project does and every single person involved in it because without it I dread to think what Kiryanyonza would be like. There is no question as to whether I will return….I cannot wait to!
Four of the twelve were from Kenmure Church in Bishopbriggs. Anne Strong writes a few words about their experiences…
Two groups of young people have visited Luwero from Kenmure Parish Church and I decided that an all age trip was in order so it was that at the end of June four of us set of to visit the project. When asked what we would do when we got there I would reply that we would just need to be ” ready for anything we had no clear idea.” I was right we all volunteered to help in the school and as well as helping with marking and making resources we found ourselves preparing and delivering lessons. I taught the first years in the secondary some microbiology which is my own speciality.
Each morning started with organising games for the nursery and lower primary children as they arrived. A particular favourite was “In and out the dusty bluebells ”
It wasn’t all work – we could only manage the morning due to the heat – afternoons were spent resting and preparing lessons. we also had time to spend with the children playing with them and speaking English.
We were well cared for in Gabriel and Deborah’s lovely home and, despite the basic cooking facilities, we were very well fed. Deborah had taken time off to care for us with her helper, Margaret, and a relative, Bush, who worked tirelessly to feed us.
We were able to attend a wedding and the opening of a Christian radio station attended by, no less, than the first lady! Gabriel also took us to the equator and the source of the Nile which by contrast showed us what a poor area Luwero is.
A highlight for me was to meet the young man whom we sponsor. Nathan, proved to be an exceptional teenager who loves to sing and leads the dance group in school and church. He has definite leadership qualities. Now I can pray for him more intelligently and hopefully my letters will be more relevant.
Also being immersed in the culture was both bewildering at times and fascinating Even a short visit has given me an insight into the work of the project which no amount of hearing could have done. I left with a great respect for Gabriel’s leadership and ministry.