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Students experience Ugandan life

Posted: 7th November 2016

Four year eleven students have just returned from a life-changing trip to Uganda. Over half-term, and a couple of days either side, intrepid adventurers Harriet, Olisha, Mia and Archie spent 12 days experiencing real life in Uganda, including the incredible work of Amigos Worldwide, a charity based just up the road in Barnstaple. They joined 16 other students from Pilton Academy and Petroc for this chance in a lifetime. All the students had to raise almost £2,000 for the trip; this was done in a variety of ways including sponsored runs and walks, and cake baking. In Uganda, students were based at Kira Farm, just north of Kampala, a training centre where 40 young people from all over Uganda have the opportunity to learn sustainable farming, building, carpentry, tailoring and hairdressing during their one year stay. At the end of the year, trainees are hopefully well prepared and equipped to set up their own business, seek gainful employment or share their new knowledge with others in their villages. North Devon students had a taste of working on the farm, including harvesting sweet potatoes, hoeing and weeding in the maize and bean fields, tending goats, rabbits and chickens. They also spent three days helping to build 7ft. tall rainwater harvesting jars at various homes in the nearby village. These will ensure that local families have a supply of water close to their homes, rather than having to walk some distance to a communal tap which is often out of order. However, it was not all hard work, as students were lucky enough to go on safari in the Murchison Falls National Park where they saw hippos, buffalo, warthogs, elephants, giraffes, various antelopes and monkeys, and even a lioness. There was also the opportunity to visit primary schools and villages in the central west region of Masindi, and to meet several schoolchildren who are currently funded by the Amigos sponsorship programme. Firm friendships were made not only between the students from different North Devon schools, but also between the UK students and the trainees at Kira Farm. On the last evening, all 60 young people got together for a meal of BBQd goat then entertained each other with various comedy and musical turns. It was an incredibly worthwhile and thought-provoking trip, and one which I'm sure none of us will ever forget.