Here we will again report what our team experienced on our trip from 18 October 2019 to 30 November 2019, which tasks we had in Uganda and how your donations were used. What is new this year is that this time the diary will not only be written by one person, but that every traveler will report from his perspective. We wish you a lot of fun reading.
29 November 2019 (Giulia):
For our last day in Uganda we saved something very special. After we said goodbye to the Baby home, we drove to Wakikoola. The students of the Mirembe School received their certificates today. To celebrate the day, all classes prepared a small performance and presented it to their parents and other guests. Sometimes we sang, sometimes we danced. Also different speeches entertained the visitors. The highlight of the day was a joint dance, which the students taught us spontaneously in front of the audience. We tried to imitate the rhythmic movements of the students, much to the amusement of the guests.
We look back on wonderful weeks, which brought us new friends and experiences. Tu kwagala Uganda!
28 November 2019 (Giulia):
Jinja: 8:00 a.m. and the breakfast table was set. Pancakes, fruits, coffee and tea were ready for us. Together we had another look back at yesterday’s Christmas shopping day at the big dining table. Shortly after that we went to the city. The driver let us out at a pharmacy where we bought medicine for the houses according to several lists. Before we ate a small lunch snack, we looked into the countless souvenir shops. Afterwards we could find jewellery, coffee and honey in our shopping bags. In the afternoon we went to the Mirembe Girls again. Christmas cards were spread out on the big table, which the girls wrote diligently. We spent the evening in the “Jinja Sailing Club”.
27 November 2019 (Judith):
Early in the morning at 4:00 a.m. the alarm clock tore us out of our sleep. Together with some employees of the Baby Home, the Children’s Home and the Mirembe Cottage we went to Kampala to the capital of Uganda. The big Christmas shopping was waiting for us here today. When we arrived in Kampala after a two-hour drive, we fortified ourselves for the upcoming day with an extensive breakfast in the Java’s Café. Full of energy we went to the shop, where we took care of the presents for the houses in groups. In addition, the other urgent needs of the facilities could also be bought through donations. After about six hours in the shop, we had everything together and started our way home exhausted. Due to the enormous traffic in Kampala, it took five hours until we finally reached the guest house in Jinja. On the way we strengthened ourselves with “Chicken on a stick”.
26 November 2019 (Giulia):
The last day at the Children’s Home has come. Also today we supported the kitchen staff diligently. We were allowed to sort beans and wash dishes. One or the other child was curious, observed us at work and in the end even helped us. Afterwards we enjoyed our little break with tea and mandase in the shade of a mango tree. In the afternoon the lessons continued in the different classes. Mainly the children continue to prepare for the 4 December 2019. There was a lot of dancing and drumming. Also the most different acrobatic tricks some boys practiced with their teacher outside motivated. A German song, which we already sang last Sunday, did not let the children go. That’s why we sang the song “An guten Tagen” (on good days) several times with the children and danced to it. We keep the children of the Children’s Home in good memory and look forward to seeing them again!
25 November 2019 (Judith):
After a delicious pancake breakfast we went back to school at the Children’s Home. Once there, we were allowed to support the farm manager Tom in his daily work and plough the ground. After a short refreshment we washed the dishes from breakfast. After lunch we started to prepare the last things for the day’s action. A part of the group distributed 60 pieces of paper, each with a number and a corresponding term, on the grounds of the Children’s Home. The other part of the group drew the game plan on the wall. After school, the children gathered on the grounds and were divided into six groups. After Paul had explained the rules of the game, the game started: The numbers from 1 to 60 were written down on a board. Each group rolled the dice and then moved the number forward on the board. The number on which the group then stood on the board had to be searched on the site and the respective term had to be memorized. To each number and/or to each term there was additionally a small task, which the group had to fulfill. As soon as the task was fulfilled, the group rolled again. The group that reached the goal first won. Today the red group reached the goal first and became the winner of the day. We played until it was dark and rewarded the children with photos and lollipops.
24 November 2019 (Giulia):
Today is Sunday, which means: We accompany our newly won friends to the church. At Mass we were warmly welcomed. Together we danced, sang and said prayers. Afterwards we split up in the Children’s Home and had lunch together with the children in the houses. We spent the afternoon on the terraces. There the children showed us how to make baskets out of straw. We were also allowed to do hand work. Patience and care play is really important here. The children showed us in peace and with much love, how the straw is turned best. The first preparations for the play “The Lion King” were also made. Paul wants to rehearse a performance with the children until April 2020. Disney songs as well as Spanish and German songs accompanied us throughout the day and until late in the evening. We also spent dinner together with the children in the Children’s Home, before we went back to the guesthouse and finished the evening there.
23 November 2019 (Sarah):
Today we went to the Children’s Home to write with the children the thank you cards for the donors. A colorful muddle. The well-deserved lunch break we spent together with the children with rice and beans. We then distributed the donations we had brought with us. In addition, the children could enjoy some sweets.
22 November 2019 (Giulia):
Now we are already one week in Uganda, but we have not yet seen enough of the flora and fauna. Already several times heavy storms kept us from sleeping at night, while during the day we have to protect ourselves from the glistening sun. We used the last day of school this week to gain an insight into the time-consuming work of the kitchen staff. We separated rice from dirt and small stones, washed plates and cups of 300 students and served the children rice with beans and potatoes #yummy 😉
21 November 2019 (Judith):
After our last breakfast in Jinja for the time being, we made our way to the Baby Home again. After the babies had also their breakfast, we walked together to the Nile. Here we could play and relax with the children on a large meadow. After lunch at the Baby Home, we made our way back to the guesthouse to start our two-hour drive to Kamuli to the Children’s Home. In our luggage we had many suitcases full of donations, which we will distribute to the children in the Children’s Home in the coming days. In Kamuli we were welcomed with singing and dancing by the children and adults. Later we took part in the children’s dance lessons. In order to be able to move as well as the little ones can, we will probably need a lot more exercises. But it was still a lot of fun! Before we went towards the guest house in the early evening, some children showed us the different houses in the Children’s Home. In the guesthouse we moved into our rooms and were spoiled with spaghetti bolognese for dinner.
20 November 2019 (Paul):
Today we visited the Baby Home in the morning and brought them their donations, which were received with excitement and joy! Equipped with stylish new clothes, the children had lots of fun playing with the team members. Afterwards we went to the Mirembe Cottage and played with the girls after having watched their music practice at school. We read them stories, sang, danced and got our hard braided – it was an absolute blast.
P.S. Mary was sleeping on Giulia’s tummy.
19 November 2019 (Sarah):
We start our second day at Mirembe School. Here 600 students from the Mirembe Cottage, but mainly from the community go to school. The school year is drawing to a close and the students are writing their exam papers. We are allowed to help with the exam supervision. After the break together we rinse the many cups in which the children were served their porridge. Meanwhile Paul gives acting lessons in the P2 class. We spend the afternoon in the Baby Home. Together with the caregivers we do fingerprints on the Christmas cards with the children. The productive day ends with a milkshake with Aisha and Joanne. But we go on our first fast Boda-Boda trip to the city.
18 November 2019 (Giulia):
We started the day with an extensive breakfast in the guesthouse. Aisha, Joanne and Nolongo spoiled us with fresh fruits and pancakes. Afterwards we repacked the last donation suitcases by sorting the clothes for the different houses. After a lunch break we took a trip to the market in Jinja. Together we bought fresh fruits and vegetables. In supermarkets we could not avoid to buy the one or the other crisp bag. We spent the early evening in the Baby Home. All the children and the caregivers were happy about our visit. We played and laughed a lot.
17 November 2019 (Judith):
We started the day with a cosy and stress-free breakfast directly on the Nile. On the half way to Jinja we made a stopover at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. We were very lucky that after a short search we could watch four rhinos eating. In the evening we were welcomed in Jinja with a feast.
Today was the day. The last day dawned. The time passed much too fast 🙁 Since today is Sunday, we first went to church. There we were warmly welcomed and were even allowed to introduce ourselves in front of all people. Unfortunately we could not understand much, even though the pastor was so kind and translated a few sentences in English. I just let my thoughts circle and let this journey pass in review. Again there were so many beautiful and unforgettable moments. After the church we walked to the children, had lunch and then enjoyed every minute with the children. We played, joked around, cuddled, took pictures, watched the kids weave baskets. Neither Jana nor I wanted to admit that the time to leave was getting closer and closer. Around 3:30 p.m. it was time to say goodbye 🙁 Some children even came twice to pick up a farewell hug. Some even asked when we would be back. I am really sad that I have to leave these great children. It breaks my heart a little. But I am pretty sure that the way will lead me to Uganda again. I have to see how the little ones will do in the future 🙂 Bye Uganda. It was once again a wonderful, exciting and unforgettable time here! See you next time!
16 November 2019 (Sarah):
The Nile ferry had failed, but fortunately we could use a temporary bridge over the Nile. When we arrived at the opposite riverside, we saw the first elephant in the distance. Over the loudspeakers we attracted more animals with “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King: Buffalos, giraffes, warthogs, monkeys, gazelles, antelopes and hippos. In the afternoon we went on a boat up to the Murchison Falls. Meanwhile, hungry crocodiles were eyeballing us. The tour ended with a hiking up to the waterfalls.
When we played some Scrabble in the camp restaurant at night, we couldn’t believe our eyes when suddenly a hippo stood directly behind us.
15 November 2019 (Jana):
Today started our third day at the Children’s Home. We were looking forward to the children and the tasks the caregivers had for us. First we did physical exercises with the little ones, races and jumping jacks were the order of the day, and the numbers and colours were also practiced in English. Then we helped with the distribution of the porride for breakfast. After that we had to do the dishes. And we sorted the rice for lunch (yesterday we had already sorted the beans). The whole thing was accompanied by drums and dancers, who we already rehearsed the days before hard for their performance. After a lot of plates with rice and beans were handed over to the children (unfortunately there are too few plates, so they have to eat in stages), the dishes had to be washed in Uganda style again. I have brought in a little German Efficiency by the Pre-Rinsing 😉
After the tasks were done, we could play with the children and watch the dancers. Nadja also sponsored a school uniform for five children. The joy was huge. In the evening we ate together with Evelyn in the guesthouse and finished the Christmas cards for the children. Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow is no school, so that we can sleep a little bit longer.
After a long and exhausting journey, the third team has also reached Uganda. Judith, Giulia and Sarah meet Paul in Kampala and went directly into the adventure: They go on a safari to Murchison Falls National Park.
14 November 2019 (Nadja):
Today was the first real day for Jana and me in Kamuli! I was really looking forward to finally doing something with the children, whom I had already taken to my heart so much last Christmas.
Yesterday there was already a welcome dance for us! Of course, I couldn’t help but cry like a baby 🙂 That was so touching. The kids are great! Today I was able to experience for the first time how the school lessons take place. Jana and I first supported the Baby’s class with our creative abilities. Together we made lion masks, which the children were very happy about. Then they served breakfast, washed the dishes, served lunch, sorted the beans, washed the dishes again and sorted the beans again 🙂 I think the kitchen staff were very happy about our presence! 😀 There are a lot of dishes that have to be washed! But we were also well remunerated for it. For breakfast we had delicious fresh Mandazi for us and at noon we had a generous portion of rice, potatoes, chapati and pumpkin leaves (super delicious I can tell you)! Unfortunately the portion for the “Mzungu’s” was a bit too big, so that Jana and I felt a little bit heavy (next time we will point out that we would prefer a smaller portion).
Oh well, the kitchen work was very pleasant for us, as the children rehearsed for their Christmas performance on December 4th. So we could marvel the whole day at the endless energy of the children and the dance teacher. By the way, before flying to Africa, I can recommend everyone to practice at home, to move their hips just as elegantly as the people here (both women and men have it all). Yes, even the small children have an incredible body feeling 😀 I am quite jealous of them.
At 5 p.m. the school was over and we went back to the guesthouse for a delicious dinner.
In the early morning the last team is on its way to Uganda. Sarah, Giulia and Judith have a lot of work to do because they will do the Christmas shopping for the children.
13 November 2019 (Florian):
Today, while a part of us went to the Children’s Home to Kamuli, we went to the Baby Home to enjoy our last hours with the children and the aunties. Then it was time to say good bye and hit the road to the airport, full of memories.
12 November 2019 (Florian):
After a morning spent at the Baby Home where we walked to the Nile with the children, we took the directions of Mirembe for a last afternoon/evening for four of us. A rich schedule together with the girls: a lot of games, dances and of course emotions!
11 November 2019 (Nadja):
Today we went to the Mirembe girls in the school 🙂 There we were allowed to support the teachers a little and have a look at the lessons in Uganda. The school is of course totally different, but very interesting to see. The children all wear a school uniform (except for a few). They all get the same breakfast and lunch. The little ones have lessons until 3 p.m. the older ones even until 6 p.m. But I think that doesn’t bother the students at all. In the late afternoon we played some funny games with the girls and then the day was almost over. It’s unbelievable how fast time passes. Tomorrow we already have our last day together.
10 November 2019 (Nadja):
We were super sad when the next morning we had to say goodbye to our paradise island, but the kids were waiting for us again 🙂 We for sure we had to stop at the equator first. For us it was definitely a very nice weekend, where we all got to know each other better and had unique experiences together. We look forward to further days together 🙂
9 November 2019 (Nadja):
In the morning we start early to the meeting point and we were already super excited what awaits us. We were greeted with a traditional welcome dance and the ranger explained some important things to us. Then the groups were divided and we started!
We fought our way through the undergrowth of plants and trees. Step by step to avoid getting stuck or slipping. It was surprisingly very exhausting, but we didn’t have to grow beyond our borders for long because the gorillas were quickly discovered. There she was, the cute little gorilla family about 5 meters away from us. The little gorillas were playing, their mother had everything in view and the big silverback just wanted to present his backside. It was unbelievable! So beautiful and unique. It’s hard to believe that they were right in front of us and that we were just allowed to take pictures of them. We were allowed to stay an hour with the gorillas and I think that was an unforgettable experience for all of us, which we will never forget.
Since we had found the gorillas quickly, we went on to a paradise island to spend some time together, eat, have fun, go canoeing and spend the night there, so that we were fit for the long drive the next day.
8 November 2019 (Nadja):
Now the second group went on to the Gorilla Tracking. At 4:45 a.m. we had breakfast and after that we had a very long drive. We were super happy when we finally reached the gigantic rain forest and were greeted with a warm tea. We had to wait a little longer for the food, so we spent our time with lots of stories, darts and laughter. It is really very interesting to get to know the people better in this way.
7 November 2019 (Nadja):
After we had a nice evening together yesterday with delicious streetfood, today started very relaxed. The others, who came back from Kamuli yesterday, were able to get some more sleep because they were covered with a lot of work.
After a delicious breakfast we all went to the Baby Home. This time the little ones had a lot of hands to cling to. We took a short walk to the farm, enjoyed the nice weather with the babies and after a quick rice and bean plate we went back to the guesthouse. But we didn’t stay there for long, because then it was time to explore Jinja: First off to the bank, then to the market, because some wanted to taste these sweet little grasshoppers 😉 Personally I was really impressed by the market. I saw so much fresh fruit and vegetables all at once…. And everything unpacked 🙂 After the market visit it was time to leave some money at the souvenir shops. Since I had already done this last year, I left the shopping to the others 🙂 I think everyone is very satisfied with their yield.
Later we had a two-hour boat trip to the source of the Nile and finally we ended the evening in a fancy restaurant. Of course with a beautiful sunset. It was a really great day.
6 November 2019 (Léa):
Today was our last day at Kamuli. We started the day by participating to physical education class with children and teachers. After a sporty morning with the children and staff we learnt about traditional houses in Uganda by crafting clay houses with the kids. We ended our stay with a volleyball game against the teachers and staff at Kamuli. Unfortunately it was then time for us to say goodbye to all.
5 November 2019 (Léa):
Today we helped at the farm in the banana plantations. They dug the ground to remove the weeds, and then cut the rotten banana leaves. After this we taught a bit of French to the youngest pupils. After lunch it was time for the French volunteers to teach to the oldest some French words, show some traditional dances and sang to the children and teachers. We ended the day playing with the children of Sonrise.
After a long flight we finally arrived at Entebbe airport at 4 am on Tuesday morning. At the stopover in Kigali everyone had to take their hand luggage and check if nobody had smuggled anything in the meantime. So sleeping was out of the question.
Fortunately everything worked out with our suitcases and Richard was ready to pick us up. Since our eyes kept falling on us during the trip, we were probably not too talkative co-drivers. Thanks to the early hour we arrived at the guesthouse after about 2 hours. Guard is no longer Mukasa, but Johnson. In the house Catherine waited for us and showed us our beds. Finally rest! But before that we had a quick cold shower! ( have found the switch for warm water only later). We lay down for an hour and then breakfast was ready. After breakfast Johnson accompanied us to the Baby Home. On the way we already met most of the babies with three Aunties on a walk. The children approached us directly and wanted to be hugged or cuddled. There was no fear of contact 🙂 But first we went to Auntie Peace and looked after the smaller babies. Nadja got Lydia on the arm and I Mary. Together we went back to the group and played a bit together. When we had lunch it looked like a bomb had hit us. So all the children bathe and wipe the terrace. After the bath, the babies needed new clothes before they went into their well-deserved nap. We washed the dishes and sorted the beans with Fina and her children Jeremiah and Abigail. Then we went back to the guesthouse to get some sleep. After dinner we unpacked the donation boxes.
4 November 2019 (Léa):
For the second day in Kamuli, we were welcomed by the children during a welcome ceremony. After it, there was time to help for courses. Program: cutting the vegetables, sorting the beans and washing the dishes. We also helped the teachers to give the breakfast porridge and lunch to the children. After a good meal, we went for a walk in the sugar cane field for visiting the elderly of the community. Back at school we finished the day spending time and playing with the children.
In the early morning Nadja and Jana are now also on their way to Uganda.
3 November 2019 (Léa):
Today we drove to Kamuli for a new adventure at the Children’s Home. When we arrived at the home we helped to prepare the dinner for the children, supervised by the aunties. After helping the aunties and children to craft palm baskets, we went to play with the children.
2 November 2019 (Léa):
Today we went to Mirembe School and Cottage. When we arrived we helped to handcraft some cards. Then we enjoyed watching the children at school who were dancing. After school the children from the Cottage came back home and they could enjoy the game prepared by us the previous night: a scavenger hunt! They had to find some piece of paper hiden in the house, to discover letters that will create the name of the movie that they watched at night: Lion King. After the movie, a good dinner and dancing it was time to go to bed.
1 November 2019 (Léa):
Today we spend the day at Baby Home. In the morning we went for a walk with the babies and the aunties to the cows. After the meal of the babies and during their nap time, we went back to the guest house to sort out the donations. In the afternoon we went back to Baby Home to play in the garden. After having the dinner to the youngest one, and stayed with the other for their meal it was time for us to go back to the guest house. After dinner we prepared the activity of the next day in Mirembe. To be continued tomorrow to discover which activity it is.
31 October 2019 (Heidi):
Today it is five new volunteers that arrived to Jinja. After a well deserved nap, we headed to Baby Home to get to know the little ones. Later on, we celebrated Halloween with the Mirembe girls.
The girls had their Halloween party at Mirembe today. After trying on costumes and getting their faces painted, they were divided into groups of four and participated in fun games for candy! Afterwards the group watched “Hotel Transylvania” together and had a good time!
30 October 2019 (Heidi):
Today we are driving back from Gorilla Tracking and Safari. A very long journey after an amazing experience.
In the meantime more volunteers are on their way to Uganda, while the first ones unfortunately have to leave again. Welcome to Uganda Camille, Julie, Lea, Florian and Pierre. Bye bye to Wafa, Charline, Francesca, Miriam, Zuzana, Petra and Eszter.
29 October 2019 (Paul)
Today I went into town together with Derrick and Moses to buy decorations and costumes for the upcoming Halloween Party at the Mirembe School this Thursday. After having gathered everything from candy to face paint, we went back to the guest house and carved some jack-o-laterns and made the ghost costumes. We had a lot of fun and are looking forward to the 31st of October.
Early in the morning we get a photo from Alex, who is the travel guide for the gorilla tracking. The group is getting ready for the big adventure.
And here are some photos of the successful gorilla tracking and also of the safari:
28 October 2019 (Gabi)
Almost the complete team set out on new adventures in Uganda today. Charline and Wafa travel to Murchison Falls National Park and hope to catch a glimpse of the Big Five. Heidi, Zuzana, Miriam, Francesca, Petra and Eszter are on their way to the rainforest to participate in a gorilla tracking. Paul stays the three days in Jinja.
27 October 2019 (Heidi)
Today the volunteers spent the whole day with the Mirembe girls for their last day in Jinja. First at church in Wakikoola. Followed by an afternoon at the pool. To finish we all shared a nice dinner together.
26 October 2019 (Petra)
Today we wanted to do something special with the children of the Baby Home so we took them for a walk to the Nile. It started raining, but we had a quick snack break to light up the mood again 🙂 At night we had dinner and watched the beautiful sunset at the Nile river together.
25 October 2019 (Eszter)
Brenda, Alice, all teachers and the aunties are giving this place such a deep soul and provide the children an environment which is opening up possibilities for them for a brighter future. Time to say goodbye after some fun celebrating teacher’s birthdays, playing volleyball and participating at physical education – back to Jinja in the evening. We will always keep these wonderful people in our heart. P.S. Today’s pics are taken by the kids.
24 October 2019 (Miriam)
Today the team was having an intense and dirty day doing farmers work 🙂 We started early in the morning with taking out the goats, were taught how banana plantage works and helped to remove the weeds. During mid-day we pealed the potatoes for the kids lunch. Since hard work pays off we were served with great local snacks and food during the day and enjoyed again a lovely afternoon playing and dancing with the kids. The day ended with a perfect Spaghetti Bolognese for dinner.
23 October 2019 (Charline)
Today we took the van to go to the school in Kamuli, where both community and Sonrise Children Home study. The road was bumpy, but full of amazing landscapes. We had a memorable welcoming from the kids and teachers, from nice words to impressive dancing moves. After helping with the lunch service, we have been to the homes and enjoy the afternoon with all the kids playing around, colouring, reading books, teaching, meditation….. This was an intense and emotional day!
22 October 2019 (Wafa)
Today was filled with emotions and excitement. Our volunteers started out the day by visiting the Baby Home and gave out part of the donations brought from Germany. The smile on everyone’s face was contagious. Babies, caregivers and volunteers shared an emotional moment and created a very strong bond. The volunteers headed to the Mirembe school to take part at the lessons of the day. Divided per class, they each got to spend time with the children at school and participated in the teaching. Once school ended, our volunteers headed to the Mirembe Cottage to spend time with the girls. Today’s activity was creating jewellery from paper beads. Each got to choose and make their own with the help of the girls. They then ended the day by a trip to Jinja to taste the local delicacies, such as famous Chicken on a stick, Chapati and Rolex. A great way to relax and spend some time together.
21 October 2019 (Heidi)
Today was a very special day. The volunteers were able to visit the Mirembe school and meet 400 students. First time for me too as I usually travelled to Uganda during the Christmas break. Emotions, sharing about our cultures. We danced, we sang, we cried while going from one classroom to the other. It was an intensive morning, leading to a equally exciting afternoon. We headed up to Jinja where we visited the market and bought some souvenirs. The evening was no lesser as we decided to have separate grils night and boys night. While the boys where watching football, the ladies were dancing and sharing secrets.
20 October 2019 (Paul)
Today we went to the Baby Home again and experienced our first church session with them. It is so different to what I am used from Europe as there is way more singing and dancing involved and the atmosphere is generally festive. After a short breat at our guest house we visited the Mirembe Nursery and Primary School, where the girls welcomed us with open arms. We played a lot of games and made some good friends.
19 October 2019 (Heidi)
After a long journey we arrived safe and sound at Entebbe airport. As we landed very early in the morning we managed to escape the big traffic jam in Kampala. First we all had a big nap in the morning followed by a nice breakfast with fresh fruits. Our afternoon began by sorting out the donation suitcases. Then we headed to Baby Home for some very well deserved cuddles.
18 October 2019 (Gabi)
The long wait has finally come to an end. Today the first ones are travelling to Uganda to help the Sonrise Ministries wherever their help is needed. With a heavy heart I say goodbye at Duesseldorf Airport to seven of the team members leaving today (1st picture from left to right: Petra, Eszter, Wafa, Zuzana, Gabi, Charline, Heidi, Paul). Fra (2nd picture) starts from Milan. The group then meets in Istanbul to continue their journey together to Entebbe. Miriam traveled later from Düsseldorf to Entebbe (3rd picture). Thus the first nine participants of our team trip are complete. It’s hard for me not to be there this year for the first time. But I am sure that our team leaders Heidi, Nadja and Sarah will represent me worthily.