TENC in Uganda
TENC in Uganda
Sixth form students from Rushden Academy, The Ferrers and Huxlow spent their February half term in Uganda in what turned out to be a life changing experience.
Arriving at Rushden Academy at 1.30am started an extremely long day travelling, but after 20 hours we landed in Entebbe at a hostel that was, for many, the first experience of accommodation in a developing country… but our students coped fantastically.
The first day saw more travelling, arriving to a very warm welcome at Discovery Centre, Jinja, where we spent the majority of our time, and another culture shock when students found the cold showers and standing toilets… We then walked to a local village where the true extent of the poverty here became apparent. Children were excited to see the ‘mzungu’ but our students started to realise just how difficult life was for people living here.
The next day we visited the source of the Nile, welcomed the Ugandan delegates to the conference and prepared for the next few days. Rushden and TENC students talked confidently and knowledgably about topics that are currently affecting their generation, gaining an awareness of their role as a global citizen and how they can contribute to changing the world for the better. Reflecting on the differences in democracy, children’s rights and sustainability across the 2 countries showed our students just how lucky they are and motivated them to ‘be the change’.
“The conference gave us a chance to understand further, the opinions and experiences of the Ugandan students and teachers. From this, I learnt just how passionate they all were about the lives they live and it made me eager to help them as much as we can.” Jess
The conference also gave us opportunities to visit Itanda Falls, complete a challenge course, donate to local children and teach them the ‘Hokey Cokey’ and the students ran a camp fire with games and creative performances. We were also able to plant Orange Tree’s at the new farm land at Discovery Centre, ensuring we left our mark.
‘My favourite part of the trip was having the opportunity to go down to the local villages and schools to meet all of the children. It was so inspiring to see how happy and carefree they were, and how grateful they were for every little thing in life. They loved playing with bubbles and dancing to music, but I think the highlight must be teaching them the Hokey Cokey.’ - Caitlin
After a tearful goodbye to the Ugandan delegates we walked to the shore of Lake Victoria, showing us again just how poverty stricken, but cheerful and welcoming this country is. Then we travelled back to Entebbe for a couple of nights, and visited Ngamba Island, a 95% untouched island where rescued chimpanzees are helped and supported to live as true to their nature as possible. Here we were shown just how much similarity there is between us and our closest animal relatives after watching them clap, and raise their hands and use tools.
Finally after a further 20 hours travelling, everyone returned cold and tired but safe to Rushden Academy. All of us a little more grateful and a little more determined to make a difference.
"An amazing experience where you gain new memories, friendships and experiences." - Gaby
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