This trip has been great so far, visiting the empowering women and men at SawaWorld and AfriPads. To see people who do the things that they love and feel passionate about, but it has a great message and effect. A tip for someone wanted to travel to Africa is never underestimate the happiness of all of the people here, come with an open mind. A note, no matter how hard you try you will get dirty so bring extra shirts! There is definitely something about Africa that pulls me in. I don’t know if it’s the food, the people, the culture or the environment but I never want to leave. Everyday my fellow travellers and I play a game, see how many people will wave back at you. 9 times out of 10 you will get a wave, a smile and if your lucky maybe even I wink! The people here are so excepting of everyone , they will wave back to me with the biggest smile on their faces and it jus warms my heart. Our day at Tekera, a small village in Masaka that has it own sustainable and income and boarding school was one of my favourite days, the kids there were all so interested in us and got a little shy when we would say hello or give them a little wave. Yet as soon as the sports started our team vs a team from their school, they all gathered and laughed and cheered and it’s almost like we had been there for more then just the day. Now we did win the tug of war and the volleyball, but when it comes to soccer they definitely dominated us. We looked like fools out on the field, the only reason we didn’t loose so bad is because they were kind enough to lend us some players. Now, the sustainability of this place is powerful, they have pigs that they sell to make a profit, to feed the kids. They have a banana plantation and lots of vegetable plots full of vegetables that they not only eat but also sell. These are just some more of the reasons I love it here.
The thrill of the entire trip has been amazing. Seeing how Africa has empowered their women and young women has been so inspiring to see first hand. They are truly dedicated to showing and helping the people realize their self worth, and what they’re capable of doing. The music, the dancing, the culture in general is so vibrant and it’s incredible to see. The choreography of every dance is so unique, every movement has their own meaning. You drive by a group of school children, and they smile, wave, and yell “Mizungu” at you, meaning “white person” in their language. Their sly and timid smiles and giggles brightens your day a lot. You ask the kids how old they are, while holding up five fingers, and they just rest their palm against yours, grasping your hand with their tiny hands. They are all so innocent, so unaware of all the bad in the world. It’s beautiful. The elders stare at you with a blank expression, almost like they’re studying you, your skin colour, and your behaviour, the same way white people have been doing to them for many years. Africa holds it’s own kind of beauty, a beauty you won’t find anywhere else except for on this land.
First and foremost, I have not gotten burnt yet. So all in all, so far it has been a success. Although, of course there has been a lot of ups and downs (I hope the roads get fixed one of these days), I could not ask for a better group to explore this phenomenal country with. The sights are breathtaking, seeing the sun rise and set each day gives calms me, accompanied by all the odd noises whether it be chanting, the sounds of crickets, or the birds in the distance. Speaking of birds, the storks are unbelievably ugly. Apparently, they are vile creatures that even other scavengers will not eat, can you imagine being brought to your family by something so hard to look at?? They are also HUGE, why must they be so big? Anyway, this country has blown my mind. I can honestly say I would choose East Africa over going to Europe any day. I feel like I’m changing each day and it warms my heart to see myself growing, but obviously not in height. With all joking aside, after we visited Tekera and saw the children playing, in class, and looking at us with amazement and a touch of fear, I felt sorry. Sorry for how the media depicts these beautiful children in North America. They may not be what we consider to be “well off”, but they are happy and content. They appreciate their education and know it is a privilege that not many are fortunate to have. I have noticed that they have a passion for everything they do. I was fortunate to sit in on a P1 class (grade 1) where the kids were all relatively focused even though they are so young. They all participated with excitement I have never seen before, those memories are something I will cherish.
The reason I traveled to Africa was so that I could see it through my own eyes. I wanted to see how they really live and what they do to battle their everyday challenges and I feel like I’ve fallen in love. Apart from the awful road this country is stunningly beautiful. The people here are so nice and always want to know where you came from. People here take nothing for granted especially education. The roads are filled with bodas and people trying to sell you something. The food here is on another level. Except for the boiled banana I’ve loved everything else. The children here are always so happy and I’ve never seen 10 year olds so happy to go to school. Especially when you here at their schools start at 5:00 am and go to 10:00 pm. My favourite part about this trip is when we went to Tekera. I was in the p4 or grade four class and we were learning about mosquitoes. The children were smiling the whole time and they seemed to be extra amazed by me. After, the lesson about the mosquitoes we went outside to watch the Students and the teachers sing and dance which was heart warming. We then started the sports activities and tug of world was first. We did three rounds and the first one was us vs the teachers which we easily won. Next was the girls vs girl and we won that one too. Finally it was the boys only round and we were feeling confident that we could easily win but both teams were very even. We started to pull ahead but the other team added 3 extra people and we eventually had to let go. Our second sport activity was volleyball which wasn’t that close. We beat the teachers by 10 so we stopped it early and moved on to soccer. The school had its own soccer team so we refuted some of the locals. We started off bad the Tekera team scored right away so hopes were not high. We held them off till halftime and we felt like we could score a couple of goals. Halfway into the second half I won a penalty and Özil score for our team. After the kick off Özil got the ball and ran down the pitch through 4 defenders and scored. We were feeling good about our chances of wining but I gotta the last minute of play the Tekera team scored and we went to penalty’s. sadly we lost in penalty’s because the wind was very strong and I missed my penalty but it was and fun game. All and all I’m enjoying Uganda and I wish for that more people can experience this wonderful because I’m glade that I did.
This is my first time to the continent of Africa and so far it has exceeded my expectations. When we first landed in Entebbe, I was surprised to see that so many people live in the countryside. This was a pretty stark contrast to rural Ontario, where everything is very very far apart, which is what I am used to. Once we had arrived in Kampala, what I saw was not what I had expected. A city that extends seemingly endlessly, rising over hills and descending into valleys. It is quite a beautiful place. What also exceeded my expectations was the amount of individuals and companies that are very optimistic about the future of Africa, which is also a stark contrast of what Africa is depicted in Western media. Organizations such as Sawa World, AfriPads, and many other NGOs’ work tirelessly for the betterment of the people in need. We also visited two holy sites to the Bahia and Muslim faith, the Bahia temple and the Qaddafi mosque. From both sites we had very good views of the surrounding areas. From Kampala we travelled to a town called Masaka which is a 3 hour drive south from Kampala. In Masaka we visited AfriPads, an NGO which makes reusable and affordable feminine hygiene products and the Tekera boarding school. Both where a very interesting look into what the lives of workers and schoolchildren are like in rural Uganda. From Masaka we will head to Queen Elizabeth park, lake Bunyoni and Kigali in Rwanda. The trip so far has been very interesting and I hope each place we visited is the same if not more fun.