At 11pm on Tuesday night, the 24 members of the Seniors party arrived back at Edinburgh after around 24 hours travel from Uganda.
There are plenty of memories from the trip and we’ll soon be updating everyone with photos and videos.
Thanks to all who followed our African Adventure!
Our final day at Luwero has arrived with many of the Boys saying goodbye to the Ugandan girls they met during the trip. Some of them are keen to keep in contact, with Andrew McMorris commenting that ‘it costs less to take them out than the one he’s got back home!’
This afternoon we were treated to a special presentation from members of both primary and secondary schools to say thank you for the work that we had completed. The school choir sang the Ugandan National Anthem prior to Flower of Scotland accompanied by our piper, Michael Low. Both flags were raised on the newly moved flagpoles before a series of prayers, songs and speeches from local pastors and school staff.
At the end of the event a ceremony was held to officially open the ‘Sure & Stedfast Weather Station’ followed by the unveiling of a plaque at’Scotland House’ the site of a new teachers accommodation block.
The Boys then enjoyed a special dinner of barbecued pig roast with music provided by the Director of the school, Mr Robert.
We then presented the project with a donation of 9 million Ugandan Schillings (£2350) for the work in Luwero.
We leave at 11pm tonight for our journey to the airport with the good wishes of all members of the community in our thoughts.
Worship today included a significant contribution from the Battalion group. We sang hymns, said prayers and included 2 short addresses as part of the service. As well as this Michael Low played the pipes as we sang Amazing Grace with the Luwero congregation, a fantastic mix of Ugandan and English words.
Children in the Sunday School received teddy bears from Scotland, distributed by the Boys.
An afternoon of leisure activities followed, with a number of the team continuing their attempts at catching one of the local chickens. This had been taking place unsuccessfully for 10 days, they finally managed to catch one which was quickly pushed through the Battalion Secretaries’ accommodation window!
The Boys hadn’t picked up on the reduced number of chickens in the yard, they soon realised when lunch was served!
After a good nights rest we set off on Saturday morning for a visit to Kampala, capital of Uganda. The 2.5 hour journey through a series of roadworks was helped by a now customary singing session. This included practice for Sundays worship accompanied by various choruses relating to just about everyone in the group!
Many of the Boys had asked to purchase either a Kanzu (Ugandan National Dress) and/or a ‘genuine Uganda football jersey’ having seen many of them during the trip. After visiting at least 8 shops the task was completed, with the football tops purchased for around 20,000 Ugandan schillings (£5 in UK currency, ‘genuine’ does not mean ‘official replica kit’ in Uganda) The successful purchasers of the Kanzus planned to wear them at Sunday’s church service.
After a visit to Nando’s for lunch, where we fed 26 people for a total cost of £150 with ‘genuine chicken and pizzas’ , we finished off the city trip with a visit to a craft market to allow the Boys to buy gifts for family/friends.
By now the Seniors understood that you don’t pay what was asked originally, bartering takes place. There are some amazing stories being told about how well they did with some Boys allegedly saving around 40,000 Ugandan schillings on larger purchases (please remember we get 4,000 schillings to the £UK!)
Friday was our target day to finish the work at Luwero. All the teams started at just before 8:30 and worked through till 6:45 completing all the outstanding tasks.
The flagpoles were finally uprooted from their original location, we changed tactics and lifted them out with the old concrete ball still in place at the base, and reset in concrete near the new assembly area.
A number of painting jobs around the complex were finished off and a brick path completed to the children’s toilets.
The longest job was finishing off the weather station fence. After painting the supports we wrapped the area with mesh and fed through wire to hold it in place. Finally, a layer brick cemented in at the base completed the work.
With darkness falling at 7:30 their was a big sense of achievement before dinner, although a heavy thunderstorm overnight has some of us a bit concerned about the concrete mix !
*Quick update*; the concrete is ok! The rainfall measurement device shows we had 200mm of rain overnight!
Since our last update the group spent Tuesday and Wednesday with work on all the key projects we are involved with.
Painting signs at the perimeter of the complex was ongoing together with the infill of a new children’s games area. This involved filling an 8m x 4m raised brick block filled with gravel to allow a concrete slab to be laid on the top. Once set games like twister & snakes/ladders will be painted on the surface.
The fence around the weather station caused some problems as the corner posts hadn’t been welded properly resulting in a 2.5 hour journey to the metalworker to remedy the situation. This didn’t hold up work though as the remaining posts had to be primed and painted.
A further period of mixing concrete allowed us to finish all the work on the posts leaving the wire and mesh to be completed later in the week.
Digging out flagpoles is proving to be a harder task. They’ve definitely been installed with a load of concrete and with only one pick to tackle the job it’s taking a bit longer than expected. There’s a feeling that we might find water or oil before they actually move!
Thursday started early for us with a 4:15 wake up call ( ‘Read my mind’ by the Killers at full blast certainly wakes the Leaders)
We left at 5am for a 4 hour journey through Kampala to the Equator. Some members managed to sleep for some of the journey waking up in time for breakfast in the Southern Hemisphere!
Photos and gift purchases finished we then headed off for Jinja where the River Nile starts its journey from Lake Victoria to the Mediteranean Sea.
On route we stopped at a roadside takeaway for chicken on a stick. Difficult to describe the scene but when we’re able to post pictures you’ll get the idea.
At Jinja we managed some lunch. Burgers, chicken, wraps and chips were on the menu at a local cafe where we arrived just as the rain started.
Our visit to Nile allowed us to find out a bit more about Uganda and its history before a return journey to Luwero.
Monday started with a visit to the primary school to distribute teddy bears, soccer kit and stationary, all donated by friends, organisations and businesses back home.
It’s hard to describe how it felt when such a small gift as a knitted teddy bear could bring so much joy to the children in the school.
The soccer kits, donated by Claremont Boys Club and Rangers Football Club were soon modelled by the school teams and should be in use while we are here.
It’s difficult to describe our experience in words, but the pictures and video images will be posted online as soon as possible.
The afternoon work involved refilling the water tank using jerry cans. We set up a chain from the local well around half a mile away and managed to replenish the tank to a level that allowed the toilets to function properly!