LaSERIO Uganda: Days 11, 12 and 13

Written by Girlguiding LaSERIO Uganda team

Day 11

Our final day on the project! We returned to the project of painting the teacher's houses and spent the morning using polyfiller to smooth the cement walls and painted the porch.

After lunch we were shown around the wider village of Kabubbu by Hadijah from the resort and she took us to meet her family. We saw the quarry, the first primary school and shop and were welcomed to the foster home.

In the evening we were invited to join Girlguiding Warwickshire's group to celebrate Catherine's birthday - we helped decorate for the surprise party and enjoyed music, glow sticks and cake 🎂

Day 12

The team were excited to start the cultural experience part of the expedition, although there were emotional goodbyes to the school children from the project.

We took a day trip to Jinja today (several hours drive from the village and many speed bumps/ speeding boda boda’s later). Our first stop was Ssezibwa Falls, a lovely waterfall set amongst a bamboo forest. We had fun exploring and scrambling over the rocks to reach the edge (no need for a sign telling you about the deep water at the top of the waterfall, just don’t step on the wet grass!).

En route we saw tea and sugar cane plantations and enjoyed the changing views as we passed countryside and small towns to the centre of Jinja. We enjoyed lunch at a restaurant but the portions were huge and we ended up with takeaway boxes for the rest (first aider Laura was glad our van had a cool box).

The highlight of our day was a boat trip to the source of the Nile. Our guide helped us with bird spotting along the riverbank and was keen to tell us facts about the area, including that Lake Victoria is the second largest lake on the planet (the Great Lakes Michigan and Superior count as number one, to save you Googling!). We did a frantic craft market shop before getting back on the bus to get back to the village in time for dinner.

Day 13

Today we visited the capital city Kampala on our second day trip. The journey was quicker today and we were lucky to avoid the notorious Kampala traffic as it was Sunday morning.

We visited a sacred site to the Bugandan population, where the Kings of their kingdom are all buried here and their descendants continue to live in the community, some in traditional round straw-roofed houses. The oldest palace was destroyed by fire and they are continuing to restore it. The graveyard is non-denominational and graves are marked with religious symbols from both sides of their family (if they have both Christian and Muslim parents, for example).

In central Kampala we exchanged our pounds and dollars for Ugandan Shillings (cue the trip treasurer getting very confused working out the exchange rates depending on small or large bills and figuring out the different value notes and coins!). Everyone was excited to visit a shopping mall so that we could stock up on snacks from Shoprite - some girls decided that familiar chocolate brands were too tempting despite them being 4x the price back home! Doughnuts were a popular choice at 1000UGX (22p).

We pre-ordered our lunch to guarantee that 17 meals would be ready at roughly the same time 😬. We were shown around the Uganda Museum in a cool modernist building and the girls had the opportunity to refine their drumming skills in the ethnography section. We then explored the Idi Amin photography exhibition which showcased some of the 1000s of unseen photos and footage from 1971-9; it was a fascinating insight into life during his time in power.

Lunch was in a nice restaurant that was hosting a baby shower and had R'n’B blaring - we enjoyed a singalong whilst having our burger and chips. We were happy to get back early, ready to pack for our drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park in the morning.

Lauren, Girlguiding LaSERIO Uganda leader

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