Our alarm was set for 07.00 and we were up soon afterwards. My first cold shower of this trip was….freezing, but at the same time invigorating. We went for breakfast at the safari hostel which is nearly opposite Hippo House where we were met by our old friend Jackie. She was really pleased to see us and promised to meet us in the coming days. I had a rolex for breakfast while Mrs Green had a fruit platter and toast with marmite (she brought the marmite from home).
After breakfast we began our jobs for today. We started off by driving to Mahyoro which was about 60km away. The drive was fantastic – you go through some beautiful countryside with fantastic crater lakes and it also helped that it was a beautiful sunny day.
When we arrived at Mahyoro we received a very warm welcome. Julius, who is the school’s twinning project coordinator, had prepared an itinerary for us which involved a tour of the school and an assembly in which the children would perform songs, dances and poetry. To say that we were impressed was a massive understatement. The children were incredible. Their singing and dancing was beautiful and the children who stood up to recite poems were incredibly brave.
After the children had finished performing, there were a set of speeches. The Chair of Governors, The Chair of the PTA, the local priest and all had to give speeches. After they had finished, it was my turn. My speech focused on how the children and staff had a richness of spirit and how this was more important than material wealth. I also made a point of congratulating three boys who had been selected to represent the county in football. The school is set against the backdrop of some beautiful hills and it looked magnificent on this sunny day.
My final task was to hand over letters from West Meon and these were very gratefully received. Julius already had replies from Mahyoro children and he passed them over to Mrs Green, so we can pass them on to Mrs Kelly when we return. We were very sad to leave the school and went with heavy hearts but a promise to return again next year.
Our next stop was Kyambura where we made a much shorter visit. We met Hope, the headteacher, and passed on letters from Sheet Primary. Hope was very impressed with the quality of the children’s handwriting and keen to find out about the schemes that children use in the UK. We didn’t stay for too long because we will be returning to Kyambura for the Conservation Cup tournament in the next couple of days.
Mrs Green and I headed back to Mweya to await the arrival of the CM Sports group. I rang Nick and found out that they had only just left Fort Portal and so were two and a half hours away. We looked to use the time as constructively as possible and met with Ronald, the warden in charge of tourism. Ronald is a very friendly man who is extremely good at getting things done. We were able to share our itinerary for the trip and also pass on some ranger clothing for Ronald to distribute. There was some sad news however. Ronald told us that a ranger who died last month was Robert Kabote, who had taken Mrs Green and I on a crater drive a couple of years ago. We had got to know him fairly well and to hear that he had passed away hit us quite hard.
Nick, Ash, Lisa, Katie F and Katie M arrived at about 20.45 tired but in good spirits. Their first impressions of Uganda focused on how lush and green it was. We showed them around Hippo House and then took them down to Tembo for dinner where we heard all about their trip so far. We returned back to Hippo House and talked about the itinerary for the first day of the Conservation Cup before turning in for the night. Tomorrow promises to be a busy day.