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Lander4Uganda 2016

sleeping beauties

Day 25 – The end of our adventure

Our last day in Uganda and just enough time for a last football match, featuring our newly constructed goal posts.  The posts were so highly prized that the sports teacher and a number of students slept underneath them overnight while the concrete was setting to make sure they were not damaged.  Richard Lander won on penalties (again) although we were never quite sure if Ugandan politeness meant they were going easy on us.  Check out the before and after pictures below.

A trip back over the equator and a stop-off for food in Entebbe and all that was left was the flight home via Amsterdam.  All the Richard Lander staff and students had a blast and the arrival home was emotional, everyone was awarded prizes (notably the Google Award – When you need to know something but have no Internet – awarded to Ifan Holwegger and the Beyoncé Award – for services to hair – awarded to Stella Thurlow).  Ms Wright seems to have seen fit to document sleeping staff and students and it seems a shame to waste her efforts so I have included them as a gallery.  Complaints to me (Mrs G) and I may get to it by the end of the summer.  Have a great holiday and see you in September.

Anyone interested in our trip or supporting the school charities please feel free to get in touch; J Griffiths enquiries@richardlander.cornwall.sch.uk

 

 

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Day 24 – A farewell party

The return to Kamuzinda was a celebration tinged with sadness because our flight home was late the next day.  The group overwhelmingly voted to stay on at the Molly and Paul Children’s Village as late as possible on our last day in Uganda to spend time with the friends they had come to love and the Pearl of Africa choir performed as part of our welcome back.  There were lots of tears and hugs as many of our group had hosted Pearl of Africa choir members while they were in Cornwall in November 2015.  As part of the trip students paid for a farewell meal for 300 students and staff and serving it up was the least we could do for the people who had been such amazing hosts for the last three weeks.

Days 22/23 – Queen Elizabeth National Park – Water Safari and Game Drives

The students are busy enjoying themselves in the swimming pool, restuarant and making the most of the (fairly weak) wireless so we’ve decided to give them a night off blogging.

Our first full day ‘on safari’ saw the team being split in 2 with half going on a water safari whilst the other half did a game drive. Over the course of the 2 days, all students will get the chance to do 2 game drives and 1 water safari.  The game drives are at dawn or dusk as that gives the best chance of spotting animals so some early starts are required.

Following a leisurely breakfast of fresh fruit, cake and cooked English and Ugandan breakfast foods, Team 2 started with a short walk down to the jetty for our water safari. Our open sided vessel was called ‘Hippo,’ aptly as it turned out as we were to see around 40 over the 3 hour trip. One even knocked the boat as he surfaced underneath it. Whilst they may look fairly docile and slovenly as they bask in the shallows, their heads peeking out of the water, we were reminded that they are the second most deadly animal in Uganda, after the malaria mosquito. They graze by night but their skin can’t take the sun, so at dawn they make a hasty retreat to the lakes. The advice is ‘don’t get in the way!’ As well as hippos we saw, crocodiles, water buffalo, eagles, cranes, kingfishers, various reptiles and a young elephant bull who came down to the river to drink. Watching him spray the water into his mouth was a highlight for most of us.

We returned to Mweya for a much needed dip in the swimming pool, followed by a delicious lunch. With a serve yourself buffet of burgers, chips, curry, rice, salads, desserts, fruit etc we are finding it very hard not to over eat!

At 4:30, we set off on our evening game drive.’ Standing in open top, off road vehicles, we had the best view possible of the savannah and then the plains whilst remaining safe. We were rewarded with seeing elephants close up and lions at a distance. We also stopped at some stalls where many of us bought fertility god statues, African shirts, soapstone hippos and other souvenirs. It was essential to haggle to get the best price.

We met up with the other half of the team for dinner, the students dressed up in their finery and looked fabulous. The pasta serving station where you could choose your ingredients and have them cooked with your choice of sauce proved very popular. It was Mr Bond’s birthday and he was presented with a Ugandan football shirt and a card, full of such touching comments, I might have seen a tear…

There are guards all around the complex due to the possibility of hippos paying an unwelcome visit, so the students stayed in the bar, restaurant, lobby, TV room or shop until they retired for bed in by far the most comfortable accommodation we have had all trip.

The next morning we were up for 6 am to go on the dawn game safari. Split between 3 vehicles, I found myself in the small Land Rover with 5 of the lads. Our driver Sam turned out to be an off road expert, combining speed with an amazing ability to avoid pot holes and spot animals at the same time. When he received a phone call to say that a leopard had been spotted he took us on a shortcut that I don’t think any of us will ever forget. The birds flying out of our way were likened to the ‘snitch’ by one student. Wind blasted and exhilarated we arrived to see a leopard sleeping in a tree which was right next to the road. As we watched, it opened its eyes and fixed us with a pale stare. After about 10 minutes, flicking its tail, it decided to relocate to another branch. Leopards are the rarest of the Queen Elizabeth National Park’s animals. The guards do not even know how many live here as they tend to be elusive, so we felt really lucky to have had such a great opportunity. We went on to see Lions at a distance, elephant families and hippos basking in the mud before returning for breakfast and a cool down in the pool. Team 1 went out on the evening game drive and saw 3 female lions at really close quarters and some of our other Team 2 students saw a male lion walking from the road to the bush. Whilst we all may not have seen the same, everyone has a really special animal encounter memory to take home.

As I finish typing the students are enjoying their last night dinner as we depart Mweya at 9 am tomorrow morning. It’s been an experience I know I will never forget.

Miss Wright

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Day 21 – Travelling to Mweya Safari Lodge

Words by Ifan Holweger

We were woken at the morning at 5 o’clock so we would have enough time to make it to the Safari lodge which I expect half the group has been waiting for, for the three weeks we have been in Uganda so far.  I was rudely awoken by one of my roommate’s horrible alarms, drifting back to sleep and then again being awoken by another irritating alarm which was set by the same roommate in case he fell back to sleep.

The next hour was breakfast and moving all our luggage onto the coaches. We set off at 6 am, most people at this time had already fallen back to sleep. I was glad of the coach that I was put on as it was the one with the least amount of screaming students. We were told the coach journey was nine hours long, because of this, someone insisted on bringing what they call a pee bottle, which did not end well for the people who attempted to use it.

After approximately four hours of sitting on the coach, listening the music on a Bluetooth speaker, we arrived at the supermarket in Mbarara. This is where all the students got their lunch as well as any sugary drinks or food that appealed to them. I got 2 bags of salted sweet popcorn, 1 large bottle of Coke and 3 boxes of sweets which if you consider unhealthy, you should see what everyone else chose.

After the supermarket, we were left with 3 hours of the worst Artic Monkeys impression possible. The road we were travelling on was the worst imaginable. We ended up driving in the earth ditches to side of the road as this was less bumpy than the pot holed tarmac.

At one of the stops both the buses were next to each other and most of the windows open,  then around the corner I heard shouts of  ‘It’s a monkey’ ‘ I want to take it home’ ‘look at its bum!’ It was actually a baboon but unfortunately I did not bother to look out of the window as I had finally found a comfortable position for my head on the glass and I would not have liked to lose that.

We then arrived at Mweya Safari Lodge and were greeted by an hour’s wait as we had arrived an hour early which I now blame on the teachers. After being shown to our rooms, I was pleasantly surprised by the luxury en-suite accommodations, ignoring the 3rd bed which seemed unnaturally placed in the room.

After spending 10 minutes settling in our rooms, we got to look around. The first thing we saw when exiting the room was the swimming pool which everyone immediately jumped into. I, to this day, have no complaints about the swimming pool apart from one dead butterfly I found whilst swimming in it.

After the swimming pool, we had dinner. The food that we were served is some of the best food I have had in a very long time and the only complaint I have is that I have indigestion from having eaten too much. However, I don’t think it will be very long before everyone else will have the same problem.

 

 

Day 20 – Final morning of work and Planets Competition

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Words by Anya Gough and Tic Stidwill

We started off the day by working at Eagle House. By midday we had run out of blue and yellow paint so we moved on to finishing off other necessary jobs.

After lunch we all got ready to head down to the Planets Competition where we were evenly distributed into different groups. I (Tic) was in Venus and I (Anya) was in Jupiter. Everybody participated 100% except for Luke who skived off to take photos.

We had a lot of fun competing against one another and dressing up in some traditional outfits. There were lots of events including dance, singing and acting. The inter community element played a role in our extreme competiveness. In the end Earth came 4th, Venus – 3rd, Jupiter – 2nd and Neptune 1st! The prizes for each placing were as follows; 1st – half a cow, 2nd – back leg of a cow, 3rd – front leg of a cow, 4th – intestines.

We were able to witness the true meaning and excitement of blessed food for these African children, the overwhelmed faces of the winners gave us goose bumps!

There was an emotional stage, after the enjoyable day, when we had to say our goodbyes before our early start the next day. Some of the students made close connections with the Ugandans and therefore it was difficult to leave them. There were many tears and upsets but we left with a happy farewell.

Day 19 – Tic’s birthday!

Welcome to the scandalous lives of Lander to Uganda students

8:30 Spotted Students ready for breakfast making tea and gathering round the toasters like warthogs round a watering whole. Unsurprisingly, we were punctually reminded to take our malaria tablets; those not clever enough to bring them out of their rooms meant a wave of students scurried to their rooms to retrieve their drugs.

As many would know, by Tic’s roommates singing happy birthday in the early hours of the morning, today was Tic’s birthday. She was given a card that we had all signed ,a nice pair of harem trousers and two jars of Nutella, as you may have heard from other blog updates we have all got an unhealthy (mentally and physically) obsession with Nutella: from thefts of peoples Nutella ,to the begging of a measly amount to sooth our addiction. For her Birthday she got to go to Masaka to shop and again got more Nutella.

Everyone else between breakfast and lunch did jobs such as varnishing, painting and plastering toilets. Once we finished the work we came back at 12:00 and Stella tried to build up her record of 10 pieces of toast in one day. For lunch we had spaghetti bolognaise that was delicious and then for desert we had a set amount of fruit.

After lunch, some of us did a bra drop, that was very frustrating as no one knew there bra size and only picks them up if they look nice. Whilst we were doing the bras others were finishing the work they started in the morning. Later on that evening we all went to planets practice were we all sung and danced in our different groups. Right now (18:38) as the sun sets, I am sat on the veranda watching a prison break pig fleeing across the lawn in desperate bid for freedom.

As Scarlett O’hara would say, “tomorrow is another day”.

You know you love me XOXO GossipGirl (a.k.a Stella Thulow)

Day 18 – Church

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Words by Lowenna John

Photos by Luke Thorpe

Today we got up a lot earlier than usual (7:30am) to have breakfast and change into much smarter clothes than our painting ones. Once everyone was ready we set off on our 20min walk to Victory Church, Kamuzinda. On the way we saw some of the children in the town from the Molly and Paul village waving to us.

Arriving there we got a massive welcome from the congregation, they were all so lovely and had a lot of respect for us as they gave us their seats. The ceremony started with a speech from the pastor himself, thanking us for all of our kindness, help and the hope we have given them for the future. The next speech came from Ms. Kirby talking about everything we had done over the past couple of weeks and what we have decided to spend our money on.

After all the speeches were over the Lander4Uganda team went up on stage and sang 2 songs that had been taught to us by Claire Ingleheart. The first song we sang was “Bella-Mama” and the second song “Soon I will be done.” These were both lead by Claire’s daughter Saffron Ingleheart, who started off the rounds and ended them with her conducting at the front.

Once we had finished our two songs we then passed over to the churches choir, who sang us two upbeat songs praising the lord and our presence, the song included some dancing as well that we all copied. The pastor then welcomed a girl to the stage who was from the Molly and Paul Foundation Farm School and went on to talk about how she needs help and support. As you can imagine many of the team were touched by her story and wanted to help her as much as we could, several students went up and gave the poor girl, who was crying, money, food & water. The donations were collected and we all left the service to have a tour around the children’s Sunday School, and as we walked in the children welcomed us with a song and dance.

On our walk back home Jacob, Chanel, Ms. Wright and I stopped outside a house who was using their driveway as an area to dry leaves out. We were curious about why there where so many leaves so I asked the little girl who had very strong English at the age of eight. She told us that her family use the leaves to weave matts, they then bought out one of the completed matts that had purple leaves weaved into it as well, we then asked them how they got the leaf that colour. The girl answered the question for her mum and explained that they boil the leaf and add different oils and dies to change the colour.

We then came back, ate lunch, got back into our scruffy clothes and headed over to Eagle, the house that we have extended, to move all the rubble and then start painting indoors. Some of the Lander boys were asked to join the M&P’s football team to play a match against the team in town. Kick off was at 4.30 p.m. and the match ended once again with a penalty shootout and a M P/Lander victory.

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Day 17 – A Day off Work

Words by Lottie, Ashley and Chloe V.

Today we woke up around the normal time (7:30) and had a really relaxed day. We started off by all walking down to the football pitch where it was the boys from our school (and Anya) vs the boys from the football team from the children’s village. For those who were not playing football the morning consisted of socialising with the children and sunbathing! In the end we ended up winning 6 to 5 on penalties. The penalties were really intense and fun with Kyran making some crucial saves that helped us to win.

After lunch we all went and visited our houses. We took games and toys for them to play with, and spent a while playing and talking with them. At 4 o’clock we all came back to the house for a joint birthday party for Tic, Abu and Lottie. We had cake and sang happy birthday with some of the Ugandan students. Afterwards, we handed out leftover cake to the children and danced and sang with them. Some of the older students entertained us by dancing for us. Even some of the teachers joined in with the dancing!

The party finished at 7:30pm. We had dinner and then played Pass the Parcel. It was a fun, relaxing day off work!

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