Sunday, 27 October 2019

Day 10: The Final Day

Today we woke up with a sense of sadness as we came to realise our trip was coming to an end. Soon after waking up we went and had a delicious breakfast at the Red Chilli Lodge’s restaurant. Soon after finishing breakfast we went back to our rooms brushed our teeth, finished packing our bags and said bye to the beautiful atmosphere of the savannah. We hopped into our cars with our wonderful drivers and departed the lodge on our way to Via Via. Our first stop brought us to a local restaurant about three hours away from the lodge; most of us chose fried chicken and chips, whilst the healthier ones amongst us chose rice and beans. Once we finished our meals we stepped back into our vehicles, on our way to the local market in Kampala.

The market provided us with unique opportunity to witness local products including: face masks, beautiful paintings and various types of bracelets. Many of us had to negotiate for several minutes in order to get the best prices for the products on offer at the market (Szymon surprised us all by buying pretty much everything on offer). Before heading back to Via Via we enjoyed a lovely pizza which was right next to Lake Victoria; the views were spectacular. As we get on our buses for the last part of our car journey I’m sure most us will be thinking of what we have done over the past few days. The trip has involved wonderful views both at night and during the day, however, I think we can all agree that our interactions with the children of AFFCAD school were the highlight of the trip. They were so kind and happy all the time and it was a pleasure to spend time with them. I look forward to returning to visit in the near future.



Hello All,

The team are nearly home! As far as we are aware, Turkish Airlines now states the team will now be landing into Gatwick South terminal, as opposed to Gatwick North terminal as originally stated. 

We advise checking the Turkish Airlines website and search the Flight Status of TK1997 before setting off for the airport. 

Best wishes,

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Day 9: Searching for the Big 5

Hakuna matata

The day was kicked off by being woken up at an unholy 5:30 by our Inspire leaders. Whilst wiping sleep from the corners of our eyes, we grabbed a packed breakfast filled with fresh fruit and assorted sandwiches. Following this we were swiftly whisked away by our drivers, excited to try and encounter the big 5 on our highly anticipated safari. As we arrived at the “ferry", that would be better described as Aladdins’ magic carpet - gliding across the river Nile - we were met by a majestic golden sunrise streaked with crimson. 

After crossing the infested waters we began to embark on our awe inspiring safari. Initially we were met by a fog filled savannah environment. However, as the fog lifted the sheer beauty of the African plains became clear. Our first sighting being a large herd of stunning antelope. We were perched with our heads hanging out the sun roof, wide-mouthed and after having probably consumed our body weight in dust, we sailed along the dirty tracks. The vehicle Laurence and I were in suddenly ground to a halt as we paused the lion king soundtrack. Our guide whipped out his binoculars as he had an inkling that lions were near by. Much to our surprise - after having peeled our eyes for a while - we locked onto three silky, golden heads bobbing up and down adjacent to a termite mound. 

Our life-changing journey continued as yet again the safari vehicle stopped, this time in front of a water buffalo with two pretty birds sat on its horns. Thirty seconds later the vehicle whizzed off yet again as we struggled to take in the beautiful sunrise as well as the never before seen animals. I was eagerly anticipating seeing my favourite animal and only five minutes later I saw the distinctive orange and black dapples coming from a small group of giraffes. Open-mouthed again we snapped photos of two giraffes play fighting with each other. The main surprise to me was just how big all the animals we encountered were. This was never more apparent than when a fully grown elephant appeared just 2 meters in front of us, as the dumbo-like ears flapped picking up more dust. Over lunch we discussed our different experiences from our three different Safari cars. Our high continued with a river cruise down the Nile. We spotted hundreds of hippos and a few infamous Nile crocodiles, known for being the second most dangerous in the world. We also were lucky enough to experience a different perspective of the Murchison Falls this time being in the water itself. I now find myself (after eating two dinners) sat with Laurence writing this blog in front of a campfire as the night sky is lit up not only by beautiful stars but also by frequent bolts on the horizon. 

Lucas and Laurence.

Day 8: Safari begins...

Alas after 6 days and 5 nights, our time at AFFCAD had come to an end. There were a mix of emotions - on the one hand, it felt like we had stayed here for weeks but on the other hand it felt like we had just arrived. An early morning start meant that we saw the children entering the school - a sight that was rare for the most of us as most days we were woken by the laughter of kids looking at the sleeping muzungos (foreigners). The buses that were meant to pick us up at 6:30 but as the buses ran on African time it meant that at 6:30, we still had an hour to spend with the kids. It was filled with laughter and an undertone of sadness as we had bonded so much with the boys and girls. We played our last games together and slowly got on the bus as all the children high-fived us goodbye. As the school faded into the distance, we all knew and realised that the memories we made would stay with us together.

For lunch we stopped over at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary - the largest rhino sanctuary in Uganda. Before we headed out on our trek, we were told that the park had over 50 rhinos from initially being extinct. Within 15 minutes, we came upon 3 white rhinos - they were huge! Even the young ones weighed a full ton. We took loads of pictures and even got to a 10 meter distance from the majestic beasts. After admiring them for 10 minutes we headed back for lunch. For many of us, it was our first time seeing rhinos out in the the wild and one that I doubt anyone will forget any time soon.

The bus journey to Murchison Safari Park was long with the group arriving at around 6:30pm. Along the way, we stopped over at the Murchison Falls to do a hike which at the time seemed lightweight. We couldn't've been more wrong. After a 300m uphill hike, we were greeted with possibly the most beautiful sight most of us had ever seen. The sun was about to start it's setting cycle and we all saw 3 rainbows that were crystal clear. Murchison falls are the most powerful falls in the world and we could easily feel that standing 30 meters away. The setting of the sun resulted in a picture perfect moment with the sunlight shimmering off the Nile water. Upon arriving, we were greeted with baboons and warthogs who we promptly named the Pumbas; although Timone was nowhere to be found. Soon after dinner, we were all tired and fell asleep promptly. The day was an emotional and long one, one that for me personally will create a memory that will last a lifetime.

Written by Hussein

Friday, 25 October 2019

Day 7: Final day at the project

Today was our final full day in Bwaise and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that this week has been an incredible and eye opening experience.

Whilst some of the boys grafted in the morning, eager to make the most of the final hours of work, others were allowed into the classes to teach some of the kids. Topics varied from number lines to literacy and some of the lads even cracked into a bit of marking for the teachers.

Despite days of quite exhausting physical toil our glorious leader Zaki Bandlish still managed to
simultaneously impress and emasculate the rest of us through his prowess with the sledge hammer as we completed our last job, levelling the driveway so cars could enter the school.

Having finished our days work for the final time we took a team photo with the kind and incredibly hard working construction team. This was then shortly followed by our leaving a mark on the school in a different way, creating a DC mural which was shaped artistically by the masterful Jorge.

Later in the evening we had our team party. It was a chance to reflect on the progress we had made during the week and thank everyone that had accommodated us and shown us such incredible hospitality. We were treated to some traditional Ugandan dancing which Aman Ritzman excelled at and reciprocated this with our own funky dances which we had learnt during the week - and which Ben Kemp performed flawlessly, exuding sauce. We were then given some stylish traditional Ugandan robes which we wore as we listened to Jaffar’s incredible story about how he managed to benefit his community and help build the AFFCAD foundation despite his tough upbringing and setbacks during his childhood.

On behalf of all of Dulwich College we want to thank everyone we have met this week including Jaffa, Bigsum, Fred, Sophie, the teachers, the builders, security guards and all the amazing children for making us feel so welcome and looking after us.

Henry and Ben

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Day 6: football success!

1:08am, we all sat bolt upright. The skies tore open as we all witnessed the loudest thunderclap of our lives, blinding us instantly and causing an uproar of panic, as usual with us teenagers. At a more acceptable time, slightly tired and full of muscle cramps, we woke up to the most scorching day so far, showing just how contrasting tropical weather can be!

Trudging through the final stages of the wall plastering, with Henry sifting through cement mix as if it were cake batter and Hussain plastering away at the back wall pillars, our progress was now clearly visible. After a delicious lunch accompanied by a refreshing typical Ugandan soda, we were all met with the pleasant news that we were to face off with a local sports team in an epic game of football.

Excited and warmed up by the scorching heat, we headed off to the uneven yet usable football pitch, where the chanting crowds awaited us. After watching an inspirational match between two other teams, it was then time for the duel to commence. We fought on for a 40 minute game, discovering the talent of the Ugandan youth as we charged up and down the pitch fighting for victory. With great performances from Seb, Aman our favourite centre back and myself (obviously), we obtained our 1-0 victory with a great goal from Henry, our captain.

After this exhausting match, we took to the school to relax and of course play with the children, ready for whatever challenge we will meet tomorrow...


Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Day 5: A busy day!

Today was an equally hard day shovelling cement. The truck couldn’t get up the hill so had to unload on the street just outside. As a result, to make cement we had to haul huge amounts of cement mix up a very steep hill through the early hours of the morning. As a result of our hard efforts we finished the inside of the wall which was a great achievement because we were not expected to finish it at all.

We then had an amazing lunch, yet again prepared by Sophie. At lunch, we all played with the children: playing football and throw and catch. After lunch, we headed out in three groups to go to some of the local houses to see their daily life and get a deeper understanding of life in Uganda. The home visits were a huge eye opener: we saw first hand the struggles that the community face. For example, they had to fill 30 litre bottles 30 times a day from a water supply that was about 200 metres away; we also saw the huge number of people that had to sleep in a small area. In the house we visited, the lady had 6 children but could only send three of them to school because she needed help with house work and to tend to the chickens. Whenever we walk anywhere we get the sense that people do not see people like us very often. Every time we walk, we get people running out of their shops to look at us, as well as bikes and cars slowing down. It was quite intimidating at first but you get used to it, it’s especially funny when the children chant ‘white boys’!

We arrived back at the school and played with the children, taking hundreds of photos of them climbing all over us. Later that afternoon, the dance trainers came back again to teach us some new moves, unfortunately some of them were a bit too much for my two left feet but we all had a great time. The day was winding down nicely as we all sat outside our room with our dinner on our laps watching streaks of lighting fill the sky.

We are all missing home but having way too much fun here.

From Zaki