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Looking to do something a little bit different this year?

Uganda will not disappoint! Although the planning, fundraising, researching and travelling there may all seem a little daunting, when you arrive you’ll realise it was worthwhile. I decided early on in 2017 that I’d like to use some of my long summer off to do something out of the ordinary. After a little bit of research I discovered Nurture Africa and was excited to read about the work that they do in the village of Nansana. A few weeks later, my application had been sent, I had met Colm for an interview and I was starting to think about fundraising. Any worries I had about reaching my target quickly disappeared when I became aware of the generosity of my family, friends and colleagues. Flights were booked, injections were reluctantly got and my departure date arrived before I knew it.

The initial arrival in Uganda can be a bit of a shock to the system. The roads are busy and dusty, the showers are cold and the toilets can be a little different to what we’re used to at home. There are lots of new foods to try and a whole new culture to learn about. After a weekend of settling in, we started school on Monday. Our classrooms were basic and the number of students was huge (up to 127 in one class) but the teachers were friendly and the students were cheerful, interested and excited to see us every morning. We headed back to Nurture Africa for lunch and spent the afternoons doing first aid and health workshops, library reading with primary school children and visits to local businesses. It was during these afternoons that I could really see how the money we had fundraised was being put to use. Ugandan people are friendly, kind and hardworking and it was great to see first-hand how Nurture Africa provided them with healthcare, helped them send their children to school and assisted them with starting their own businesses.

Ciara and other volunteers conducting a sanitary pad workshop with students in St. Joseph's Primary

Weekends gave us the chance to travel through the rest of Uganda. We saw waterfalls, mountains, rural communities, roasted, ground and tasted coffee and even went on Safari. Whether it was a working day or a weekend off, the thing that I remember most about being in Uganda is the fun. I was worried that we would see very upsetting things over the course of the three weeks or that the difference in cultures and even continents would be too much but this wasn’t the case. I enjoyed every day. We had a lot of fun in school, with our fellow volunteers, with Nurture Africa staff and with the Ugandan people. The work that the charity and the volunteers are doing is so appreciated by the people that live there that the positivity is contagious. The biggest testament to the experience is that out of 13 volunteers that I shared a house with, we all said we would love to return. I would definitely recommend the experience to anyone that is considering it, you will get much more out of it than you could ever just have to brave the injections first!

Sunrise on the river Nile

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