Monday, January 15, 2018


Taking 96 Vlliage of Hope kids to the zoo was the task for today!!!

It was a bit of a logistical challenge but the staff at VOH did an amazing job in making this happen. We boarded 4 busses at 6am in the morning and then took the 3 hour bus trip to Kampla. For most of the children this was time to the big city as many of them have never left Jinja. First we went past the airport to show the children the planes – of which they had many questions about how they work an what is inside of them.

After this we headed to the zoo and organised ourselves into a massive group with our great guide. The children were very excited and eager to learn about all the animals and so they amazingly attentive and well behaved as they absorbed all the information that the guide was telling them. The zoo was spacious and well set out and gave everyone great access to view the animals.

After lunch, which the village mothers had pre-prepared, we loaded back on the buses and did a bit of a tour through Kampala showing the children the parliament building and other land marks around the city.  Many of them and never seen things like traffic lights or so many big buildings it was a great experience for them all.

The journey home was mostly, busses of sleeping kids as the early morning start caught up with us all. The trip was a bit slower but we arrived home around 4:30-5. What a day!!!

Today we will do some crafts up at the village and will do some paintings of things we experienced yesterday. This afternoon we look forward to the Village farewell as we prepare to leave here and head off to Kenya.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Friday & Saturday

Friday and Saturday have presented some amazing experiences in Uganda for Team 24.

On Friday morning, we went to Welcome Home, a home for abandoned or orphaned children. We toured the facilities (which were amazing and provided the children with great care!) and then broke off into small groups to play and sing with children in varying age groups from 0-6 years. In the 0-1 years, we met some gorgeous little bubs. One baby, Ivan, was 6 days old and his presence in the orphanage was due to his mother passing away in childbirth. Another little boy, Peter, was 4 years old but was in the babies’ space due to brain damage he sustained at birth. His mother had also passed away in childbirth. We met some reluctant 1-2-year olds who cry when they meet new people. But after enough Mzungus had spent time with them, they enjoyed cuddles and times on the swings. The 3-6-year olds on the other hand were stoked to see us, and they loved trampoline time, singing and tickles. We got to see some teaching time with each age group, which is an amazing opportunity they are provided with at such a young age. It was much like Kindergarten sessions at home with singing and story time.

For lunch, we went to Jinja Sailing Club and then went for a boat ride on Lake Victoria to the Source of the Nile. We learned about the history of the shores of Lake Victoria from our guide, as well as the current uses of the land, like the youth prison. Although some of us were unsure about the rickety boat, we made it safely to the Source of the Nile, a very momentous occasion! We then sailed safely back to the sailing club…although we are unsure how long Dale has to live after drinking the lake water 😊 After we made it back, we were surprised with a trip to the house of William (our awesome driver!) to meet his newborn baby. Beautiful little Shelby was born a week or so before our arrival and she was happily passed around the team for cuddles. Then we came home for a dinner with the builders from the YSU site, a team of men we had spent a lot of time with in the past few weeks and who we had built great relationships with!

On Saturday, half of us went off to our White Water Rafting experience on the Nile! It was absolutely awesome! Nicola, Sasha, Nathan, Greg and Debbie were tossed and turned (and overturned!) on various rapids, some of us even daring to go down the biggest grade 5 rapid called the Bad Place where we were instantly flipped over and had to be rescued by guys in kayaks. It was thrilling and we wouldn’t have changed it for anything. We enjoyed bonding on the way back to Subi talking about our lives at home. The rest of the team spent the day cooking special treats and dinner for us all, shopping, working at YSU or re-visiting Welcome Home for another chance to cuddle the little babies. Dale, Nathan and Greg even went off to surprise some little children with a new soccer ball. They were playing in the alley ways with a plastic bag soccer ball they had made, and they were so happy to receive a new soccer ball from the boys after the kids defeated them 4-3 😊

Off to the Zoo tomorrow with the children from the Village of Hope, so we’re all hoping for a good nights sleep after a big day today!


Friday, January 12, 2018


Happy Thursday from Uganda! We’ve had a busy few days this week – each team member continuing with the work we started at the beginning of the week. Greg has been up early each morning to tackle his long list of welding projects at the Village of Hope. It seems every time he ticks something off the list, something else gets added! He’s taking every spare moment he has to do what he can up there, and it’s much appreciated. Dale, Glenn and Nathan headed back to YSU today, continuing their brick laying and building. They’ve been helping out with a different project recently, refurbishing a small family home and brining a lot of joy to the children there, we were also able to gift the family a pile of new baby clothes for their three-week-old. We love being able to give a helping hand to those who need it and we can really see how much of an impact our work is having.

Yesterday we were invited to the current YSU site (not the building project!) to see what the young people at YSU are working on, hear some singing and watch some amazing dancing! The YSU girls tried to teach us how to sew – they can make beautiful bags and clothes, while most of us struggled to stitch a straight line! The dance crew then showed off their skills – breakdancing, hip hop and even backflips! They’re a very talented group of people who despite having faced a lot of hardship in their lives, have been able to get back on the right path and learn the life skills they and their children need.

Today was much of the same for the team, Greg was out welding, the other boys building and the girls went back to YSU for the morning. We were able to give the girls at YSU ‘Days for Girls’ packs – an Australian charity group who sew reusable sanitary items for women who may not have access to quality products. We brought over a whole heap of these packages to hand out and were able to show the girls how to use, wash and reuse the items, as well as explain a lot of what is happening to their bodies at the time. We realised period talk here is often avoided and many of the girls didn’t actually know that what happens to them is completely normal. It was another moment for us to think about how lucky we are at home, where basic hygiene and education is taken for granted.

The girls had a bit of a restful afternoon, most of us were able to catch up on sleep, do some artwork for Juliet and read. All while Meaghan slaved away in the kitchen to cook us a beautiful dinner and dessert for tonight!

We’ll sign off now, as Meaghan’s Shepard’s Pie smells amazing and we’re all starving! Tomorrow will be another big day!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Another day...

Good evening from Uganda! It’s Tuesday night here and we’ve just come back to Suubi House after dinner with the kids at the village. We spent the afternoon with our house mothers learning how to make Chapati, Irish Potatoes and Beans the African way! After trying to cook with minimal utensils (as they do here!) we learned the skin on our fingers is much weaker than all the Mumma’s! After burning our thumbs, some of us were told our skin is too white to cook with fire! We need to toughen up. After enjoying the spoils of our cooking with the Mumma’s and children, we got to enjoy hearing the after-dinner devotionals that they do each night. We sang some of our favourite songs, like “Jehovah has the final say” and “I am a winner” and listened to a passage of Scripture. Some heard an interesting interpretation of Jonah, where he was eaten by a shark 😊  


This morning we split up again and went off to a few different activities. Greg was back into the welding and Dale out at YSU. Glenn, Sasha and Nic did some more painting at the Village of Hope, this time adding some designs to the walls of some of the girls’ rooms. Meagan and Jo braved the crowds in Jinja for some shopping, trying to restock our craft supplies (but not very successfully! Jinja is absolutely bustling 24/7).  And Mel, Deb and Nathan went back to Home of Hope for a morning of singing and playing in the sandpit with the kids there.


We have lost power tonight, so an intense game of GOM, or Yaniv, is currently in progress (if you want to check how to play, look up Yaniv, not GOM!) We are really enjoying our team time, and everyone gets along really well. We have shared experiences that have built strong connections between us and we feel very supported by each other. We’re looking forward to the rest of our time together.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

And the next day....

We’ve hit the just-past-halfway-point now and forgotten what day we’re on. It’s Monday here, you do the math.

We’re all starting to feel a bit tired, but the enthusiasm for what we’re doing hasn’t wavered. We split the team up a few different ways this morning, getting lots of different things done. Dale walked back to YSU to keep helping the builders with the new project, while the rest of the team wandered up to the village for a bit of refurbishment. Greg put his profession to good use and starting his welding projects across the village – he’ll be fixing some hinges, latches on windows and doors as well as some general maintenance. It’s great for us to be able to use our own skills for various things in our work here. Each person is able to make a difference in their own ways. For the rest of us, we used the morning to paint our lovely Juliet’s house in the village! It was funny for her to watch us sweeping, dusting and eventually painting her house, when usually she’s the one cleaning up after us.

We came together at Suubi house for lunch before heading off in different directions for the afternoon. Greg, Jo, Nathan and Deb went back to the Home of Hope. Armed with colouring in and pencils, they spent a lovely afternoon with the children at the centre and again, were surprised by what the kids here can do. It was said that sometimes, it’s nice to be proven wrong. The kids loved getting creative and also spending some time outside in the sandpit. Dale went back to YSU, while Nic, Mel, Sasha, Glenn and Meagan finished the first coat of paint on Juliet’s house at the village. We got chatting to some of the older kids at the village, some of which are going into their tertiary studies. It’s so wonderful to hear about their plans for the future and know that with the help and support of HopeBuilders, they can and will achieve their dreams. We said it yesterday, but after visiting the slums we can really appreciate the enormity of what the Village of Hope and HopeBuilders is doing.

It’s been an evening of lovely food, deep conversation and finally, board games around the table for the team. We’ll be off to bed soon to do it all over again in the morning!