Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Team 24 – Day 4

We had an eventful evening last night, playing ‘Bananagram’ – a scrabble-like game where we’re pretty sure we created an entire new dictionary of words. For example:

Gom (noun/verb/adjective/all of the above)
In a sentence:
1. “There’s a Gom!”
2. “Dale is such a Gom.”
3. “Nah he’s just Gom.”

The ‘real’ work started today! Up early(ish) to head off to YSU – Youth Support Uganda. We picked up where the last team of schoolies left off. Here, we’re helping to build a youth centre, with a meeting hall, offices and space for vocational training where eventually, Jinja’s young people will gather for support in all forms. We’re not sure exactly how many bricks we moved today, but it felt like we had enough bricks to build the Taj Mahal. We learnt a few new things, but mostly we realised that Australians are wasting time and money on fake tan – you just need to spend a few days in Uganda and the red dirt will ingrain itself into you skin way more than any Bondi Sands would!

Home for lunch, another brilliant meal by the wonderful Juliette, before the team split up for different afternoon activities. Those with strength and working joints headed back to YSU for the afternoon laying bricks, filling gaps with concrete and managing to stay relatively sunsafe. Meagan and Jo hung back at Suubi House to bake the most beaauuutiful banana breads – it’s 7:30pm and most of it has been demolished already! Mel and Sascha walked up to the Village of Hope for an afternoon of nail painting, educational workbooks and generally being dragged around the village by enthusiastic and loving little faces. The team is coming together and working well as a group, each person bringing their own skills and knowledge to every activity. Even if it is making up words and losing bets! (4 days into the trip and Dale has had to shout 12 soft drinks for others after thinking he knew better! 😉 )

For those of us that have never been to Uganda or the Village of Hope, the first few days have been hugely eye opening. The trip from Entebbe to Jinja proved shocking for some, the stark contrast between Uganda and Australia can be confronting – it’s strange for us to see small children with babies on their backs begging at traffic lights. But on the other hand, it’s a learning curve and reminds us why we’re here – to break the cycle of poverty. We realise we can’t help every child in need, but we know we’re making a world of difference to some. We’ve also realised that despite the country looking different to Australia, we’re all the same. The children still cry when it’s not their turn to play the games, there are still schools and uniforms and families that love and look out for each other. And for those who have been here before? It’s been a few days of reunions, reflections and being able to see with our own eyes how our work on previous trips has had real impact on the lives of the people we’re working with.

It’s still the beginning of the trip, but already our team is working together well and we’re all looking forward to the next 2.5 weeks!

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