I’ve now been home for 48 hours and had a little bit of time to reflect on this year’s trip. In many ways, it has been highly successful. The Twinning Project organised a very successful celebration of World Ranger Day, Mrs Lodge did some brilliant work with female pupils and reusable sanitary pads and the project have supported the wives and children of rangers. Despite my absence (or some might say because of it), the Conservation Cup was a success again with Kafuro winning for the first time.
I was really pleased with how our work in Kafuro panned out. The children enjoyed Queen of Katwe and wrote good reviews; they loved playing chess; they adored the opportunity to bake; and we discovered a star in Gloria from P6. The fact that we were able to give her the opportunity to come and work at Tembo was brilliant and I’m very grateful to the staff for giving her the opportunity.
One thing was made very clear to me and that is how much the community at Kafuro value the relationship with Liss Junior School. I was constantly being thanked by parents and governors for the support that our children give to their peers. They are well aware that it is Liss children who raise money to support projects and are very grateful for the opportunities it gives their children.
I was able to see some new sights on this trip. The walk around Rwenzori Mountains National Park was exhausting but brilliant; the opportunity to get so close to chimps thanks to the work of Robert was exhilarating and getting to finally see Uganda play a rugby international was a personal highlight.
All in all it was a successful trip, but all the way through I’ve been left with a nagging feeling. Why is there so much plastic waste? Everywhere I went there was plastic bottles on the ground. As far as I can see in western Uganda, there is no infrastructure for any sort of waste management, things just get incinerated which – in the case of plastic – releases toxins into the atmosphere. Every time I’ve been involved in a clean up operation, I’ve been left with a feeling that as soon as we leave a village the rubbish will just pile up again. There have been some innovative solutions such as Ramathan’s recycled elephant at Katunguru, and I would love to see that extended to other schools and villages.
All my reading about Africa has told me that Rwanda is a shining light when it comes to recycling, so next year I intend to cross the border and have a look there. I’m sure there are many things Uganda can learn from them.
Finally, congratulations to Clare Prior and Hamish Henderson, who are the winners of my question competition. Your prizes will be with you soon.
Thanks to everyone who has read the blog this year and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it.