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Max's Uganda Adventure

Max Williams, who has been with 9th Maidenhead through Beavers, Cubs and Scouts and who is now a Young Leader, has recently returned from a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to Uganda.  This is his story. 

I have recently returned from my three week trip to Uganda with Berkshire scouts. It was an incredible experience and one I will never forget. I am just writing to let you know what I got up to on the trip and to thank you again for helping with my fundraising. 

The main focus of the trip was to improve 3 primary schools and a scout campsite about 20km north of Jinja with help from a local charity called Soft Power Education. My group was based at Buwala primary school but we were also doing work at Bubugo primary school 5 minutes down the road as well. When we arrived at both schools, we were given a big welcome from the locals and all the local children wanted to play games with us. Bubugo also welcomed us by doing some singing and dancing for us during lunch on the first day. 

At Buwala primary school we started work on building a new teachers block and also renovated 2 classroom blocks (7 classrooms). Building the teachers block involved helping the local builders make and lay bricks. We made bricks using the equipment there which was very hard to do. The builders are going to finish the building work over the next few months. The renovation of the classrooms involved sanding down the walls before painting the insides and outsides with an undercoat of white paint and then cream and blue to create the wave pattern which can be seen on all Soft Power Education funded buildings. After this we did lots of murals inside and outside the classrooms. I personally helped do the world map which involved painting over the previous map as it had been eroded away a bit and brightening it up with new colours and writing. 

At Bubugo primary school the work involved was to renovate a classroom block of 4 classrooms. 1 of the classrooms was very run down and needed lots of work including chiselling the old plaster off the inside of the building and then plastering the inside and outside. The other classrooms had to be sanded down before being painted with a white undercoat and the cream and blue paint with the wave pattern both inside and outside. Finally, lots of murals were painted inside the classrooms. 

The other two sites were Buwenda scout campsite (owned by Jinja scouts) and Bituli primary school. At Buwenda, Berkshire scouts had ‘adopted’ a shelter so our group had to replace the papyrus roof and repaint the walls. The other work done there was completing the Bandas which are accommodation blocks which will create income for the scout group so that they can grow more. These were finished by installing plumbing and electricity and painting them. At Bituli they renovated one of the classroom blocks with repainting it like at Buwala and Bubugo and painting new murals on the walls. 

Over the three weeks our accommodation was tents which we put up in the field next to Buwala primary school. Our food was prepared by some local cooks. Most breakfasts consisted of bread and fruit and occasionally we got some flatbreads or Ugandan doughnuts as well. We had rice for almost every lunch and dinner. This was served most of the time with beans and other carbohydrates such as potatoes, posho (a Ugandan food made of flour and water), and sometimes even pasta, chips or flatbread. There was also lots of fruit to eat. 

We only had a little meat near the end of the trip when we had chicken, goat and pork. To get drinking water we used the local borehole. This meant we pumped the water out the ground before sterilising it with chlorine tablets before we could drink it. 

The other part of the trip was the safari and activities. The safari was located at Murchison Falls National Park which was a 13 hour drive each way. The trip was 4 days with 2 days actually spent on safari. Each day we did a boat safari and land safari. It was really enjoyable and I was able to see lots of animals such as lions, elephants, giraffes, buffalo, hippos and crocodiles and even a rare bird called a shoebill. On the way back we also stopped off at a rhino sanctuary and saw 5 rhinos there. The activities I did were biking and kayaking, and white water rafting. Biking was very hard work but fun as the roads are very bumpy so it was like mountain biking. The kayaking happened on the Nile and we ended up getting caught in a thunderstorm for some of it but we still had lots of fun playing lots of games. The white water rafting was a great experience for me as I had never done it before and we were able to go down some of the Nile’s grade 5 rapids. My boat even nearly flipped on one of the rapids. 

One final great experience I had was going to Jinja to do the shopping. Jinja central market was a huge building where you could buy almost anything. The day I went was also the day we were having chicken so I was able to see the chickens get slaughtered and plucked for us ready to eat that evening. The ground floor was full of people selling all kinds of food including all the fruit you could imagine and it was completely packed. It was a very unusual experience. 

Overall, it was an incredible trip and one I will never forget. I have also attached some photos of the trip for you to see and use if you wish. 

Thank you again for your support.
Max Williams (Young Leader with the 9th Scouts) 

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