I recently visited Uganda as part of a group of 12 Guides and three leaders for the LaSERIO 2019 expedition. After a rigorous selection event, three weekend planning meetings and numerous emails/WhatsApp messages later, our group arrived in Kabubbu, Uganda raring to face all the challenges!
During the first part of the trip, we immersed ourselves in the service projects - teaching English to primary school children, painting and decorating school staff accommodation, preparing farmland and planting seeds, getting to know our "foster family" and later providing them with essentials that they were struggling to obtain.
It was an eye-opening experience to see how some families manage to live on a meagre income and barely any facilities. However, everyone was always happy and smiling, cheerfully welcoming us into their midst. It was great to interact with all the members of the community, children and adults alike. These people are inspirations to most of the Western world; they live life with no complaints and yet are so content with their lives. Their positive outlook on life is motivational and contagious.
Our accommodation had all the necessities and the food was amazing, although as expected, not to everyone’s taste! The hot weather and the change of food/drink did lead to a majority of us feeling unwell at some point or the other, but did not deter us from the tasks at hand.
The latter part of the trip involved some relaxing time, visiting the equator, a boat trip and a safari to view elephants, water buffaloes etc.
Throughout the trip, all the members got along well and the leaders were great looking after all of us. I made some close friends and will always cherish the memories of this trip.
On a personal front, it was a great experience for me to develop teamwork, leadership, time management, organisation and budgeting skills. This trip has also made me realise how fortunate we are in the West yet we complain about the most unnecessary things, and therefore has inspired me to undertake more voluntary work in the future around the rest of the world.
So watch this space...