A much-needed nursery was built in just two weeks in March 2014 by a group of volunteers from the UK, who all work for DHL in Peterborough. They raised the money and gave up their time to fly over to build two sturdy classrooms, using bricks made by the villagers.
Keen to get started, we left Gatwick, only to miss our connection to DUBAI and had to spend the day and night in a lovely hotel by the pool. GUTTED! Arriving at Entebbe the next day, we spent the day travelling via Kampala to the village. The culture shock had landed. but the villagers were lovely and very welcoming. We were ready to start building!
Building the nursery started in 30 degrees Celsius and we kept going for twelve hours. The building is proving quite a challenge in this heat and the manual labour is proving to be an eye-opener for the office bound personnel. 2500 bricks later, we were done for the day! Back to the village to loads of village children. Sweets and toys given out. They were to remain constantly. We have new friends for life. Now to relax, wash, eat and to bed by 18:00, all do it all again the next day.
Another very hot and busy day but we got all the walls built, ready to start on the roof. The locals were very pleased as this would normally take them two years. The evening was to prove very entertaining with loud noises from the local birds. 50% of the team got no sleep.
It proved to be a slow day as we had to prepare the concrete ring beam on top of the walls, ready for the roof timbers; but still achieved a great amount.
The beans, rice and spaghetti are beginning to lose their appeal. What we would do for a good steak & chips. I think if you look at the photos you can see many of the guys have been surrogate fathers and it is a joy to see the children smile and that the first thing on their minds is not their PlayStation 3.
Another slow day but we had to allow the local boys to catch up with their part. There are certain parts of the building work we have to allow the lads to do in their own way. We can do it the English ‘right’ way but it would be wrong here. They have very limited building regulations to talk about. So the day ended with dumping hardcore - not a good way to end.
There was one bit of excitement today. While we were flattening the floor, a snake appeared - only a small one - but the villagers told us it was deadly, so his head was dispatched and he was dumped in the field.
We could do nothing on the build today so we had a lay- in, then decided to have a day out. We met the local Village Elders at a Community Meeting and donated all the football kits we had been given and brought out with us.
Then onto the Equator, a look around the local shops and - what can only be described as an eye opener - "A croc FARM" with an entrance sign which reads "TRESPASSERS WILL BE EATEN". An idyllic location on the Banks of Lake Victoria which yes, farms crocs. They are used for bags, shoes and belts and the meat sold in Kampala.
We then sat down and to lunch. Yes - croc + chips with salad and fish. It was a resounding success. All plates looked clean and there was a beer to wash it down.
And then off to see the kids. Their numbers seem to be increasing. More sweets!
We all went to Church with the villagers. A very surreal experience, being thanked for all our work on the school. Then after just relaxed back at the House.
Started on and finished the floor in Classroom 2 and fitted the windows in Classroom 1. The roof guy (who we called, affectionately, 'Roofus') had started constructing the roof trusses on the ground, ready to go onto the ring beam later in the week.
Deja vu - the floor again, but in Classroom 1 this time. Long and arduous work. Then fitted some more windows. The local help is beginning to tire and lose the will to help. We are working them harder than they are used to.
While at lunch, a School Trustee popped over and said they were all impressed how hard we worked considering how fat we all are. A compliment... maybe!
Finished all the remaining windows and fitted the doors. Roof frame is all on. Just awaiting the roof sheets to go on tomorrow. We started the Veranda floor about 2pm but then the heavens opened and we sought refuge in the church for an hour.
The rest of the day was a wash out.
To Kampala shopping and dining. Firstly into the Lions’ Den that is Kampala – the traffic is something to behold. Cars, bikes and trucks coming from all directions, pretty doing much what they like to get where they are going.
We got to a local craft market to buy the usual trinkets. Onto lunch at the Beach Club with Father Kakuba, a fantastic lunch of fish and chips with a cold beer to wash it down.
Finish off the veranda and the bricks up to the roof on the front. The roof guy, Roofus, has comples the roof - just on time as the rain bought an end to the proceedings today.
But we have achieved our goal of building a two- room nursery in the two weeks.
We should all be proud (and so should you, of your loved ones).
Good night from Uganda!