Here we will report again what our team has experienced on our trip from 23rd November to 23rd December 2023, what tasks we had locally and how your donations were used. Also this year, the diary will not only be written by one person, but each traveler will tell once from his perspective. We hope you enjoy reading it.
November 23th, 2023 (Gabi)
What a lot of excitement so shortly before departure. My airline has now really changed every flight for me again. Both on arrival and departure. But the team is also affected by many flight changes. But today I’m traveling alone for the time being. I leave for the airport in the middle of the night. After stopovers in Amsterdam and Tanzania, I finally reach my destination late in the evening. It’s so nice to be back in my second home.
November 24th, 2023 (Gabi)
From my hotel, I have a wonderful view to Lake Victoria. Today I can take a deep breath before the most stressful day of every Uganda trip starts tomorrow. The big Christmas present shopping trip to Kampala for a total of 238 children this year.
November 25th, 2023 (Gabi)
Aisha picks me up in Entebbe straight after breakfast. We drive directly into the pre-Christmas hustle and bustle of Kampala and meet the rest of the shopping team there. After a fabulous lunch, the shopping can start, which lasts until late in the evening. Tired, but with the bus full of lovely surprises for our children, we set off through the agonizingly slow evening traffic from Kampala towards Jinja. We finally arrive at the guesthouse around midnight.
November 26th, 2023 (Gabi)
Before the first part of the team arrives, the supplies in the guest house need to be replenished. So Nalongo, Kalule, Joanne, Aisha and I take the boda-boda into town and buy lots of food, toiletries and a little Persil. In the middle of our shopping trip, it starts to rain heavily. So we make a quick stop at a Rolex stand and have a snack. But the rain gets heavier and heavier and time is running out. So we decide to continue shopping anyway. At the market, we meet a little girl called Susan sitting on a bench with her little baby brother on her back. Joanne speaks to the little girl. She is very hungry and has been sent to the market by her mother to collect any leftover food. Unfortunately, this is a common practice in Uganda in the daily struggle for survival. Susan tells us that she is not allowed to go home without bringing something to eat. As we can’t get to a restaurant at the moment due to the rain, I buy her small cakes, some rice for the family and a little extra soda. Susan is so happy that she wants to rush home immediately. But we ask her to wait until the rain stopps. There are streams of water running around the market. She is too small to get through. However, we have to continue our shopping and go to the nearest supermarket. I have never experienced such volumes of water in Jinja. Many roads are now impassable. In the end, we have to ask a Sonrise employee to pick us up in the city. A return trip by boda-boda has become impossible. In the evening, the rain finally subsides so that my annual meeting with the Sonrise directors can take place after all. Meanwhile, the first part of the team sets off for Uganda.
November 26th, 2023 (Lenka)
Just a few more hours and then our big trip begins! With this in mind and a little excited, I pack the last few things in my suitcase and read Gabi’s handy packing list again – don’t forget anything!
At 12 noon, most of the team members of the first group gradually arrive at Düsseldorf airport. After initial problems at the counter with visas and missing boarding passes, we finally set off for Cairo an hour late. Once there, the next surprise: the flight to Entebbe is delayed indefinitely… 🥴 Unfortunately, it’s already too late to let them know – our driver Sam is already on his way to the airport. After about an hour’s wait, we set off fairly quickly and after a very uncomfortable flight, we land safely at Entebbe airport at 4 a.m., but in very heavy rain.
November 27th, 2023 (Sina)
The A-Team arrived safely in Entebbe, even though three of our suitcases will probably be making their own journey… Our driver Sam was waiting for us at the airport – with an old transfer bus that has apparently already been through many an adventure. As there was no door at the back, we simply maneuvered our suitcases into the bus through the window. With much laughter and full of anticipation, we finally made our way to Jinja, 2.5 hours away, where Gabi was already waiting for us in the guest house.
After breakfast, we set about sorting the donation boxes so that we could distribute the many donations to the Sonrise Ministries projects over the next few days.
But the highlight of the day was yet to come: After we were all getting tired and slowly sinking into the cozy couch in the guest house, Gabi suggested we visit the old Babies Home building, which has since moved to a larger building. We were greeted there by the warm-hearted manager Damali. She also looks after other orphans there and tries to find adoptive families for them. She told us about her own childhood in an orphanage that was run by an American at the time, who made it possible for her, her siblings and the many other children to grow up happily. Her own passion for the project stems from this and she hopes that the generations she is now helping to raise will one day support similar projects. A snowball effect that has been set in motion and is set to continue – and which has also moved us. This is exactly how our world can be made a little better, step by step.
November 28th, 2023 (Durgadevi)
A Day of Joyful Connections with wonderful angels at Miremba home
Today marked an extraordinary beginning of our team trip, as we delved into the heart of Jinja, Uganda, embracing the vibrant culture. The day began with the sun casting a warm glow on our delightful guest house, setting the tone for the incredible experiences that awaited us. A regal breakfast, fit for kings, fueled our spirits, preparing us for the day’s adventures.
Our journey into Jinja city center was a sensory delight, with the bustling market offering an array of spices, vegetables, and exotic fruits. The air was filled with the lively energy of the locals, and we immersed ourselves in the rich tapestry of Ugandan life. As we explored native shops, the vibrant colors of souvenirs became tokens of the profound connections we were forming. The market’s spirit mirrored the infectious joy we later encountered at the Miremba girls’ house.
The highlight of the day was undoubtedly our time with these remarkable angels at the girl’s house. From animated introductions filled with Ugandan song and dance to engaging games that transcended language barriers, the day unfolded as a treasure trove of lessons on life and gratitude. We visited their school and playfield, gaining invaluable insights into their resilient spirits. Their stories, dreams, and laughter painted a portrait of hope and resilience that left an indelible mark on our souls. Today was a testament to the transformative power of connection, and as the sun set over Jinja, our hearts were filled with gratitude and love for these inspiring souls. Check out the photo gallery below to witness the joy and inspiration that unfolded on this unforgettable day.
November 29th, 2023 (Monika):
What a day! OK, we set off far too late again this morning, but Ugandan time is not comparable to German time. After everyone had reminded Thomas to put on sun cream today, we were finally able to set off. Our destination for today: the Baby Home in Wabirongo, about a 50-minute drive from our guest house.
We encountered our first police roadblock on the way. Our driver Sam had to slam on the brakes as the police had laid out nail boards. Fortunately, we were allowed to pass without any problems. The drive was exciting. We drove past many small farmhouses on roads that are impassable in the rain. There were lots of children at the side of the road waving excitedly at us. They call us “Mzungu”, which means something like “European” or “white”.
When we arrived at the Baby Home, we were greeted by around 50 toddlers and their “aunties”. The children had hardly any fear of contact and hugged us straight away. It was incredible to see so many toddlers at once. They were totally excited and very happy to show us their home. It was a great welcome. First we gathered in the garden and had a welcome round. Everyone was there: the children, the aunties, the security guard, the priest, the janitors, the gardeners, the “cowboys” – at least that’s how the farmers who look after the cows introduced themselves 😊
Afterwards, we looked at the children’s houses and played with the children. Afterwards (while the children had to take a nap) Damali, the manager of the Baby Homes, showed us around the farm. It was impressive!
The Baby Home is located directly on the Nile and the surrounding farmland is very fertile.They grow all sorts of things there.It was the first time I had ever seen a pineapple plant.The gardeners cut them directly for us so that we could eat fresh pineapple later.It was like walking through a maze.Tall banana trees, corn and other tropical plants to the right and left until we were suddenly standing by the Nile – a huge, impressive river.Unfortunately, we didn’t have any swimming gear with us. Some went in with their feet and others were invited on a short canoe trip by the gardeners.Great fun in the best weather!
Afterwards we went on to the cowshed, the church and the water tower. Damali couldn’t say enough about how grateful she is to Gabi for supporting Peace’s Hope. Her words came from the heart and you could tell how happy she is to be able to offer the children a proper home!
After a quick lunch, things got wild.We gave the Aunties a few donation boxes with clothes for the youngest children.They thanked us with a dance.And not only that – we were also allowed to dance along and shake our hips to the African rhythm.There was more going on than on any dance floor in a European disco!We can still learn agility, the Ugandan women are miles ahead of us.
Then the program continued.We put up and decorated Christmas trees in all the houses.The children helped. Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye afterwards.We will come back again, but there was more planned for today.Sam drove us to the school in the village and Damali had asked us to say a few words about education. It was a huge gathering. I estimate several hundred women, children and families were there. We told them about our time at school and how important it is that women also receive a good education. Damali hopes that the children will be inspired by our words. We received a very warm welcome there.
The day was rounded off with a short detour to the “Kalagala Falls”, a natural wonder that was well worth it.At dusk, we were able to marvel at the cascading water.A place that is also a hive of activity at night.All the trees around were covered with bats.
A great and exciting day!
November 30th, 2023 (Seika)
December 2nd, 2023 (Sophie)
It’s finally starting!
Like the last few days, I can’t even realize it yet. For about a year now, I have wanted to be part of the Peaces Hope e.V. team trip in 2023 & now the time has come.
Part of the team is already there. After much anticipation, the remaining team members are finally leaving today.
Together with Diana, Regina & Cristina, I met at Düsseldorf airport at 12 noon ✈️ We have already dropped off our suitcases full of donations, curiosity & helpfulness.
Excited about the coming weeks, we waited together at the gate for our boarding. On the tarmac, we had to freeze one last time before we set off on our Uganda adventure a little late.
We have now arrived in Cairo and are waiting for our connecting flight. Tomorrow morning at around 06:00 we will arrive at our destination airport in Entebbe. We will be picked up from there and taken to the other team members in Jinja.
Uganda, we look forward to seeing you tomorrow morning!
The night passed quietly for most of us and we started the day with a delicious breakfast of pancakes and fresh fruit. Unfortunately, three faces were missing from the table, as they had started their journey home yesterday due to a family bereavement.
Gabi took on the mission of collecting the remaining medication from the pharmacy and headed into town. After her return, our journey to the Babies Home started and was initially calm until we were stopped by the police again. Thanks to our level-headed bus driver Sam, the situation was handled with aplomb.
Once we arrived at the Babies Home, we dedicated ourselves to unpacking and sorting toys for the children. Each child received a carefully packed parcel. We also used the time to play with the little ones and spend some quality time together.
Saying goodbye to the Babies Home was emotional, as this was the last visit for many of us during this trip. On the way back, we made a short stop at the construction site of the hospital.
Back at the guesthouse, we enjoyed a dinner of spaghetti bolognese. Afterwards, some of the group members got down to their personal routines (see photo 5) before the evening ended with the “Pineapple Song”, accompanied by hearty laughter.