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Uganda Expedition 30th July to 22nd August 2010

Challengers: Jack Beardsell Ed Black Tom Clowes Josh Garlick Callum Girdwood Lex Goodall-Munroe Emily Greathead Tom Henson Daisy Hughes

Rachael Jones Ben Leonard Jack Myall Joanne Riggall Laurie Smith Caroline Tyas Steph Ward Craig Westall

School Leaders: Steve Cheesbrough, Cath James, Gareth James

World Challenger Leader: Pete Rich


Kasese

Kilembe

Jinja

Mweya

Kampala Entebbe

Mushumba


Day 1: Build-up Day

Fri 30th July 2010

The group met at 7.30am and congregated under the covered area to sort out the kit in preparation for departure. All bags were emptied, their contents checked, the world Challenge kit distributed and the bags repacked.

The Challengers started to sort out roles - who would be the day leader, in charge of transport, food etc.

The Coach arrived, bags were loaded and parents waved as their children set off on their 24 day expedition to Uganda.


Day 1 contd: Build-up

Fri 30th July 2010 Reality hits home - we are on our way and the Challengers are making the decisions. Upon arrival at Heathrow Airport the Day Leader (Callum) and Ed (in charge of Transport) sort everyone out. Ed has the ‘E-ticket’ and they make sure that everyone gets to the check-in. Emily (Finance) and Pete head off to collect the currency (in Dollars).

The Expedition funds are distributed to the group for safe-keeping. The group passes through Check-in and security before boarding the Emirates Flight EK007 to Dubai departing at 8.15pm.

Day 2: Transfer to Uganda

Sat 31st July 2010

Again, Transport and Day Leader sort out the transit in Dubai at 2.45am (UK time) before departing Dubai on the 6.30am (Local time - UK +3hrs)) flight to Entebbe airport, Uganda. After a short stop at Addis Ababa Aiport in Ethiopia, the plane continued on to Uganda, arriving at 2.15pm (Local Time UK +2hrs). A long queue for Immigration checks, then, with bags collected, the group joined another long queue to have all bags passed through a single X-ray scanner, before we were able to leave the Arrivals area of the Airport.


Day 2 contd: Transfer to Uganda

Sat 31st July 2010

Transport had been pre-booked, by the In-Country Agent (John Hunsworth) and was waiting to take is to the Backpackers Hostel in Kampala. Two bombs, three weeks earlier, meant there were extra worries about safety. The first financial shock occurred - the budget allocated $70 for the bus, but the cost to the Bus Company was $100 with no haggling.

By 4pm, we were on the bus travelling towards Kamapala, taking in the sites along the way. At one point, we passed a colourful group of revelers taking up half the road, singing and dancing as we passed by.

It was a Circumcision party! - in the middle, there was a 16/17 year old being taken to be circumcised. A number of the group were carrying wooden poles and hitting them with sticks - we would later find out that these ‘circumcision sticks’ are used to drown out and cries of pain when the act takes place!


Day 2 contd: Transfer to Uganda

Sat 31st July 2010 Upon arrival at the backpackers Hostel, we set up camp. Those on food and shopping were taken off by Grace (one of John’s staff) to a local market to buy some food and cooking pots. The plan was to have a main shop on Sunday, so sufficient purchases were made to cover the evening meal and breakfast in the morning.

When the shoppers returned, the dinner was prepared - unfortunately, there had been a slight breakdown in communication - the shoppers thought we had brought the ‘Spicy Beanfeast’ (supplied by World Challenge on Build-up Day) with us. However, while at School, the decision was made to leave the Trangias (cooking stoves)and Spicy Beanfeast (dehydrated rice based mix) behind in the UK, on the basis that the group would buy large cooking pots in Country and sufficient food from the local markets/stalls. Dinner consisted of rice with tomato paste to flavour it. By 10pm, we were ready for our sleeping bags.

Day 3: Shopping in Kampala

Sun 1st August 2010 John (the In-Country Agent for Uganda) arrived to talk with the leaders about what they needed to arrange and how they might go about organising it. John is well used to Challengers arriving at his Hostel and that they make to decisions. He discussed their plans and answered their questions.


Day 3 contd: Shopping in Kampala

Sun 1st August 2010

Breakfast was Maize-meal porridge. Grace had taken the shoppers to the local market and when they had said they wanted porridge, grace had pointed them towards the Ugandan version maid with Maize meal flour (instead of our more usual, oats). The mix was made and a stick used to stir it. Eventually it was ready. The porridge type mix was very bland, but was almost palatable when a banana was mixed in with it! After this, the group made sure porridge oats were purchased for breakfast.

Emily went into the first, of what would become many, meetings with Pete to discuss the Budget. The Accountant is one of the main roles on the Expedition. Tracking the spending and keeping within the Budget is a big task. After breakfast, Daisy (the Day Leader) called a meeting to discuss the plans for the day. Different challengers took on a variety of roles and would be responsible for various tasks. The Roles rotated around so that everyone had the opportunity to have positions of responsibility and to be fully involved in the way their expedition operated.


Day 3 contd: Shopping in Kampala

Sun 1st August 2010 After the meeting, one group sorted the washing up of the cooking pot. Another stick being used to try to scrape off the remnants of the Maize Porridge. Once done, the transport people had booked a bus to take the group into Kampala. First stop was to change our Dollars into Ugandan Shillings.

The exchange rate depended on the denomination of the Dollars $10 and $20 Bills were changed at about 2100 Shillings to the Dollar, while $50 Bills received 2200 Shillings - more for Emily to deal with on the Budget. Then to the City Garden Shopping Centre and its Supermarket. Fairly European in style, the essentials for the next few days were purchased.

Back at the backpackers Hostel. Various groups set about their tasks - lunch (sandwiches and fruit), preparations for Dinner (Jackets Potatoes and Vegetable Stew). Callum put an entry in the Group Diary - the idea was that everyone would contribute interesting/funny items as the expedition unfolded.


Day 3 contd: Shopping in Kampala

Sun 1st August 2010

There was a flurry of excitement when we spotted our first bit of wildlife - a monkey that was in the trees near the main building at the Backpackers Lodge. John had placed a furry toy on a lower branch and the monkey became extremely agitated jumping from branch to branch, making a lot of noise.

We were pleased to see western style flush toilets when we arrived. Unfortunately, with our arrival, the water usage increased. There is a problem with Blue/Green algae in lake Victoria and there are limited water supplies available to Kampala. As a result the flush toilets were locked. The only facilities left were the ‘French-style’ squat toilets, with a tap and bucket to will the waste away. Unfortunately, Gareth had a minor mishap during one visit to these facilities. He had a wind-up torch in his pocket and it dropped out of his pocket into the ‘bowl’ and before he could catch it, it slid down the waste pipe and was lost. After the evening meal, Pete organised a game of Sherades. Teams of 3 tried to guess the range of Ugandan based words or phrases acted out by their team-mates. By 9pm, we were ready for our tents, still suffering from the lengthy travel, with little sleep in the days before.


Day 4: Transfer to Kilembe

Mon 2nd August 2010

With Ben and Tom H. as day leaders, we packed up at 6am and by 6.50am walked the short distance to the Kalita Bus pickup point for the 7 hour journey to Kasese.


Day 4 Contd: Transfer to Kilembe

Mon 2nd August 2010

Breakfast had been one banana and an orange. Just before we boarded the bus, Pete suggested that the Food people might purchase some buns from a local stall, as the bus would not arrive in Kasese [Ka-say-see] before about 2pm. The plan was to have lunch in Kasese and do some shopping before continuing on towards Kilembe. The bus was full, with no spare seats. It was a fast vehicle and travelled along the tarmac road between Kampala, towards Mubende and onto to Kasese. As it travelled faster than most other vehicles with did much overtaking, blaring its horn constantly to warn bicycles, motorbikes and Matutu minibuses to get out of the way. It was a long cramped journey along the bumpy road. Finally, we arrived in Kasese at about 2.30pm. Tom C. phoned Karen (from the Backpackers Hostel in Kilembe [kill-em-bee]) to find the Matutus.

Karen had just arrived and answered the phone about 10 metres away from Tom. The shoppers used the nearby small supermarket to stock up, and by 3.15pm we continued on to Kilembe.


Day 4 Contd: Transfer to Kilembe

Mon 2nd August 2010

By 4pm, we were at the Rwenzori Backpackers Hostel, just west of Kilembe. After a meeting to get organised, tents were put up and the evening meals was underway - pasta with tomato sauce. World Challenge usually try to avoid groups meeting one another - over the 10 weeks this summer, there have been 25 groups in Uganda. Because of the security situation in Kampala, we had left a day early, other groups had been delayed for various reasons, so it was quite busy with four different groups at the Hostel. Cold showers, but flushing western style toilets - all the ‘mod cons’. Most of the challengers headed to a nearby field to play football with the locals after dinner, before a relatively late night at around 11pm.

Day 5: Visit to Kilembe Mine

Tues 3rd August 2010

After a breakfast of Porridge Oats - much better than Maize-meal porridge - we had a morning relaxing. Some strolled up to the local village. Lex and Rachael were Day Leaders and were tasked with finding something to do during the day. Kilembe Copper Mine closed in the 1980s and since then the local Community has suffered significantly from the demise of the main employer in the Valley. A visit to the Mine was planned for the afternoon.


Day 5 contd: Visit to Kilembe Mine During the morning, there was more excitement at Cath visited the toilet. Fortunately, she noticed the lizard in the bowl before taking a seat! Later that morning we walked the short distance up to the nearby village.

As we passed the local Butchers, they were slaughtering a goat. As we returned to the Hostel, they had already started to cut up the meat, so we took the opportunity to pick up some fresh goat meat for supper.

Tues 3rd August 2010


Day 5 contd: Visit to Kilembe Mine

Tues 3rd August 2010

More local animals were around the Hostel - this colourful Lizard was chilling in the shade of the tree. Goats walked freely around the site. Some of our group chatted, while others read or kept their diaries up to date.

The other World Challenge groups had all left fairly early to continue with their expeditions. The boys took the opportunity to play volleyball, now that the camp was clear of the other three sets of tents.

The adults leaders prepared the lunch of sandwiches, with various spreads, tuna and corned beef, with fresh tomatoes, picked up in local village in the morning and bananas. By 2pm we were ready to take the 45 min walk down the valley to the Mines. It was very hot and the group sheltered in the shade where they could.


Day 5 contd: Visit to Kilembe Mine

Tues 3rd August 2010 The Kilembe Mine had been a thriving business until the 1980s, when the price of Copper plummeted and the political instability with Idi Amin resulted in the closure of the Mine. They are still hoping that an investor will re-open the Mine. 300 staff maintain the mine, ready to re-open in the future.

Jack M, Callum and Ben were dressed up in the Miner’s outfits. We were then taken on a tour of the facility. We were shown the various workshops that are used to generated some income including a smelting works to recycle the rust iron around the site.

It was very hot and the brief walk into the tunnels gave some cool respite, before the 45 min walk back up hill to the Camp. Laurie and Joanne cooked a bean curry, while Daisy made Chapattis. After a late supper of barbecued goat it was time for chilling before sleep.


Day 6: Buwata Community Trail

Wed 4th August 2010 With Caroline and Craig as day Leaders, and Steph and Ed on food, it was porridge for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch on the trek. Bags were repacked and non-essentials removed and placed in a storeroom. The porters arrived ready to take our rucksacks on the two day trek into the hills.

The Buwata Community Trail provides income generation for the local population. Various walks are available from one or two day, to six to ten day treks into the Mountains. The hills were very steep and it was very hot.

As we climbed higher the views became more spectacular, and the terrain became less steep. It was a struggle for everyone, and even the local guides were sweating - they are much more used to the heat than we are.


Day 6 contd: Buwata Community Trail

The pace was steady, going at the pace of the slowest, with regular stops to look at the view, or for the guides to explain the flora and fauna of the valley

Wed 4th August 2010


Day 6 contd: Buwata Community Trail

Wed 4th August 2010

As we moved upwards, past various small communities, we arrived at a school with another World Challenge group who were completing a project at the School. One of the local children had hurt themselves. After a quick check by Cath (a paramedic) she confirmed it was likely to be a broken Collarbone. In the UK, this is treated by placing the arm in a sling for about 6 weeks, until the two parts of the broken bone fuse back together naturally. In Uganda, they apply pressure to the damaged part. The poor little girl was in agony as her older sister applied the pressure to the broken bone much to our horror.

We continued on our way and could see our destination in the far distance. Upon arrival at around 3.15pm, we set up tents on two small flat areas cut into the hillside. The view down the valley was spectacular as we rested following a long hot day in the Sun.


Day 6 contd: Buwata Community Trail The locals had already arrived and water on for tea with bread and a banana. With tents erected, the challengers had to double up as there wasn’t enough space for all the tents. Dinners was at around 7pm, with potatoes, cabbage, spaghetti, rice, carrots and a few pieces of beef.

As darkness fell, we gathered around the campfire for warmth, as it was a little chilly in the hills. We exchanged songs with the porters - taking it in turns to sing a range of tunes, before finally settling to sleep.

Wed 4th August 2010


Day 7: Buwata Community Trail

Thur 5th August 2010 We were awake early and were able to catch the sunrise. The toilet facilities were drop toilets - a hole in the ground - in a shelter made from branches. One of the pit latrines faced down the Valley, for those who wanted a loo with a view.

Breakfast was bread and boiled eggs, with hot tea. Tents were dropped and bags packed ready for the 8am departure. Time for a quick group photo, before the Porters collected the rucksacks and we headed back to the Hostel.


Day 7 contd: Buwata Community Trail

Thur 5th August 2010 By 10am we could see the Backpackers Hostel in the far distance down the Valley. The guides continued to explain about the various plants and how they were used in their Culture. We continue past several small communities and watched the village life.

Once back at camp, time to unwind and set up camp again, ready for the departure to the Project tomorrow.

At various points we saw large fires on the hillside as the locals cleared their ‘gardens’ of weeds and grass in preparation for their next crop. The fires were intense and we could feel the heat from across the valley.


Day 7 contd: Buwata Community Trail

Thur 5th August 2010

The trek had been a long two days in the heat of the Sun and some were suffering the effects. One or two blisters and some noticeable Sunburn.

The group decided to have a cooked meal from the Hostel. Menus were perused and orders taken in the afternoon, with the food booked for 8pm. Cath had wanted to visit the local Hospital in Kilembe to see how the facilities compared with those in the UK. She returned, quite moved by what she had seen. They have a ward filled with old-fashioned metal cots, containing 15-20 malnourished infants, most close to death. In Uganda, hospital care must be paid for and no food is provided by the Hospital usually a relative must attend the hospital to provide food for the sick relative babies are treated the same. The infants were in hospital because their parents were either not able to provide them with a balanced diet, or because they lacked the knowledge of what a balanced diet should include. Cath related her experience to the group and resolved to try to help in some way, if she could.

Our meals eventually arrived and were brought out over about an hour.


Day 8: Transfer to Project

Fri 6th August 2010

Up early and packing for the travel. Porridge for breakfast and the inevitable washing up to follow. With Jack B as the Day Leader, everyone was busy preparing for the journey. The Matutus arrived and were loaded up. The journey began with the road back to Kasese to stock up with food, ready for the next phase.

A quick stop off for fuel. The pump attendants set the amount of fuel to be dispensed, and the pump stops automatically when the amount is reached. This attendant also carried a rifle over his shoulder.


Day 8 contd: Transfer to Project

Fri 6th August 2010


Day 8 contd: Transfer to Project

Fri 6th August 2010

We followed the main road South from Kasese - the equivalent of our M1, but with only one carriageway in each direction - in some parts, the tarmac at the edge of the road had crumbled away and there wasn’t enough for two vehicles to pass each other on the tarmac. 20 minutes South of Kasese, we approach the Kazinga Channel - the waterway that joins Lake George and Lake Edward.

10 minutes further on and two concrete circles came into view - the Equator! We stopped for the photo opportunity.

Then, after a further 10 minutes, two elephants appeared in the long grass near to the road. They wandered across the grass, before moving away into the bushes.


Day 8 contd: Transfer to Project

Fri 6th August 2010 Our Project was based at Mushumba Primary School the main problem was that no-one seemed to know where Mushumba was. At one point it was thought the School was 2km from Kasese and the group planned to save money by walking to the School.

Gerrard, the Matutu driver, telephoned William - the School’s headteacher and they planned to meet in a village called Ndete on the tarmac road South from Kasese. William arrived on his Motorbike and we followed him to the School - which was 2km from the tarmac road - a good hour drive from Kasese!

We follow William up a bumpy mud road to the School. Everything was unloaded including an extra rucksack. Another traveller from the Backpackers Hostel had left their bag close to ours and it had been packed with our gear. Gerrard took it away with him and returned it to it owner, who was waiting for a bus at Kasese.


Day 8 contd: Transfer to Project

Fri 6th August 2010

Mushumba Primary School was in a spectacular setting - surrounded by Banana trees on all sides, a large playing field with goal posts at either end, several old buildings and on new one that we would work on. We set up camp at the bottom of the field, next to the teacher’s house, near the Church. We quickly became the centre of attention and a large audience formed - this would be an on-going feature of our visit.

Other than an occasional visit by a Mzungu (a white man), most of the locals had not talked or seen so many white faces,

We quickly began to make friends with the children, with the soon-tobe-familiar greeting of ‘How are you?’, answered with ‘I am fine, how are you?’, and ‘I am fine’.

This greeting was made to everyone - if you met 10 people, each one would be greeted in the same way. Drums appeared from the church and dances and songs took place to greet the visitors, who also joined in with the dancing.


Day 8 contd: Transfer to Project

Fri 6th August 2010 The plan for the Project was to work on two new classrooms. The local Community had raised money to pay for the brick building to be erected on the foundations of an old Church the new Church was across the field from the school. Since 2007, the walls has been built in stages.

First to Window height, then in 2008, to the concrete lintel above the windows, and in 2009 to roof level. As the building had reached a certain height, the local Government supplied the corrugated roof for the classrooms. The gable end needed completing and the gap, under the roof, filling.

Our main task would be to put plaster on the walls, ready for eventual painting. The floor also needed filling and levelling, before a smooth concrete surface was added. The total cost of the Project was 4 Million Ugandan Shillings - ÂŁ1800. It quickly became clear that we did not have that money.


Day 8 contd: Transfer to Project

Fri 6th August 2010 The Challengers started to organise themselves - setting up the camp and sorting out what would take place over the next few days. The leaders were given a brief tour of the local village, 2 minutes walk from the School. Joel, an english teacher at the school, showed us around the small collection of tiny shops.

The shops consisted of two rooms - the shop with doors that opened onto the main mud path through Mushumba village, and a similar sided room at the back for living quarters. A few shops were well stocked with a range of items - the shop above was similar to a village corner shop, with a wide range of items from sweets to cooking pots. Other shops sold fruit and the leaders sampled their wares - a pineapple for 800 shillings (about 35p). Meanwhile, back at the School, a wood fire had been lit and dinner was underway - pasta with a bean and tomato sauce. With no electricity at the School, when the sun went down it quickly became very dark.


Day 9: Project

Sat 7th August 2010

A 6.30am wake up call from the local ladies, banging drums outside the Church there had also been a wedding celebration nearby, with loud music blaring from a loudspeaker until 6am. We emerged from our tents ready for the first day on the Project. Ed (Project Leader) had met with William to discuss what we would do. The plan was to start work at 8.30am each morning.

Porridge for breakfast was cooked in the cooking area behind the teacher’s house. The grey door was to a small wash room, which we were able to use as a store for our food and cooking equipment.

Ed had visited the village at the tarmac to purchase the materials for the Project. These included two deliveries of gravel, 20 bags of cement, sand, and various tools. The money for the project included wages for the builders, their food, money for water to be delivered from the nearest tap and a police guard.


Day 9 contd: Project

Sat 7th August 2010 The group was divided into two groups - one that worked on the project in the morning, the other walked 30 mins to Ndete over a very hilly mud path, to the tarmac to get a taxi to nearby Nakasharu, where there was a bustling Saturday Market. Joel assisted and helped to ensure that we got a fair price for everything. We picked up a Taxi from outside a local bar.

It is common for Mzungus to be given an inflated price for things as we are seen as rich. Joel ensured that the prices we got were local prices. He would later have a big argument with the taxi driver who wanted Joel to make us pay a higher price and Joel refused. We had already had one taxi, so we know the local price - the taxi driver was trying to charge double. All manner of food, utensils, clothes etc were available from the Market. The food was generally produce that each seller had grown themselves. A couple of the male challengers had expressed an interest to buy a live chicken and prepare it for a meal. Negotiations took place to buy a suitable bird.


Day 9 contd: Project

Sat 7th August 2010 As well as food, we also needed other basics - knives to chop and prepare the food and a Panga (a machete) to chop wood for the fire. The knives needed sharpening, so a suitable stall was found and an angle grinder used to put a very sharp blade on them.

This Market took place on the first Saturday of each month. The regular Market was every Wednesday and this was where the locals did their main shopping.

After some dispute - getting in one taxi, arguing about the price, everyone getting out as we said we would walk. Eventually, another taxi arrived, we agreed a correct price and headed off with half the group. The taxi then returned to collect the others.


Day 9 contd: Project

Sat 7th August 2010 Back at the School, we watched on as Joel and the other teachers showed us how to despatch the chicken. Its throat was cut, before its head was removed. Feathers plucked and stubble burnt over the fire. The giblets were removed, before the meat and bones were chopped ready for the pot - it would be chicken stew for dinner.

In the sanitised world we live in, where meat comes from a Supermarket in a polystyrene and cellophane packet, there was quite an interest in what needs to take place for the meat-eaters to have their meat. After lunch of banana, pineapple and bread, the skies darkened, thunder sounded, the local kids scattered and the skies opened. We had arrived at the start of the rainy season. Strong winds blew the leaves from the trees, banana trees bowed in the wind, heavy rain descended - lasting about 30 minutes. Once the rain subsided, it was back to the Project one side had already been plastered by the morning group and the afternoon group started on the second wall.


Day 10: Project

Sun 8th August 2010 A slightly later alarm call this morning with the drums being sounded at 7.20am. The local ladies cleaned around the Church. We were to attend Church this morning and take part in the Service.

Around the camp there were numerous insects, in particular ants. One of the Challengers had placed some food on their tent and by the morning there was a steady stream of ants heading to this new food supply.

Washing facilities were basic. The washing room was a small bare room, with a hole in the corner to drain the water outside. A washing bowl filled with cold water from the nearby Water Butt was used for a stand-up wash. The water was brought the 2km from the tarmac road in Jerry Cans and poured into the water butt. This formed part of the Project costs.


Day 10 contd: Project

Sun 8th August 2010

While we waited for the Service to start, Gareth and Cath gave the headteacher, William, some photos of our School. He looked through them with great interest. The contrast between the two Schools is massive.

The Service was mostly in the local language, with occasional parts in English. It lasted about 2 hours and included a speech from Daisy and the Headteacher.

The songs, with drums, were bright and uplifting, but the church was packed and the temperature rose as the service continued, but church-goers were able to recognise the various parts.


Day 10 contd: Project

Sun 8th August 2010 Ed entertained a large group with songs and the guitar, while the Leaders prepared the evening meal.

Some sights were interesting - the 24 hour police guard changed shift, with four people on one motorbike. Although they drive up hill, they would free-wheel or switch the engines off going downhill to save fuel.

In the evening, we were surprised by the arrival of a local dance group who turned up to entertain us. As is usual, after some vigorous dancing, members of our group were invited to join in - some threw themselves in, while others were more reluctant to get involved.


Day 11: Project

Mon 9th August 2010 Overnight, some slept out under their mosquito nets. Back on Project after the Sunday break. In the preparations for the expedition, it had been advised that most group take additional funds to the Project. Unfortunately, no additional money had be raised for the Project by our group.

When talking with the headteacher, our Challengers realised we needed more Project money and agreed to pay about ÂŁ9 each from their own spending money to add to the project fund, bring the total fund to about ÂŁ630 - enough to finish plastering the wall on one of the two classrooms. Because there we were not able to buy more raw materials, we would be limited to what was available. As a result, there was only enough work for half the group to work at the same time, and even then, those on Project only worked for about half the time.

We set about mixing the plaster, plastering the walls and the important, but tedious job of sieving the gravel, removing the stones and lumps, so that a smooth top coat of plaster could be mixed. The lumps and stones would be used to raise the floor level of the classroom.


Day 11 contd: Project

Mon 9th August 2010

We settled into a steady routine of working on Project, chilling around the tents, shopping for meals and walking to the tarmac to visit the local bar for fizzy drinks and Pool. Each person worked either morning or afternoon, with some of food duty - preparing and cooking the daily meals.

The local bar saw more business in a week than they would probably see in 3 months! On our first visit, the bar was a bare concrete room - the bar owner brought in some garden chairs for us to sit on. The fizzy drinks - Mirinda (blackcurrent), Mountain Dew and Stoney (ginger beer) were particularly popular.


Day 12: Project

More sieving, completing the Gable end wall and waiting for the next task. Jack had been flicking plaster at those who were working, so they got their revenge - and Jack got plastered.

Tues 10th August 2010


Day 12 contd: Project

ues 10th August 2010 A rough base was thrown literally, on to the brick walls, then roughly levelled. The builders then levelled it more accurately and high and low areas were skimmed or filled to make a flatter surface for the final coat of plaster.

The final coat was added and smoothed with water and flat boards to leave the smooth, flat desired finish. The final touches were done by the builders - the main one being 17 years old (in the hat)

The large water butt behind the teacher’s house was used to supply our water. It was not suitable for us to drink directly, however, World Challenge supplied us all with iodine to add to the water so that we could drink it.


Day 12 contd: Project

Tues 10th August 2010

Joel’s wife had a small shop in the local village selling clothes. Our tallest and shortest Challengers posed - when they pointed out that Ed on his knees was taller than Rachael although Ed is about 6 feet 4 inches tall.

With no street lights or electric lights, head torches were used to illuminate the evening conversations.


Day 13: Project

Wed 11th August 2010

We had thought that there would be a local market in Ndete on Wednesday, so this would be a rest day - however, William seemed to be expecting us to work. After a brief meeting, the group agreed to continue working and were back on Project. Callum was in charge of phoning and booking transport for the Rest and Relaxation phase.

Village life continued around us, with various interesting things for us to see. An enormous pig was being transported in the back of a truck - it was so heavy that the vehicle was struggling to make it up the hill to the villages behind the School.


Day 13 contd: Project

Wed 11th August 2010

The local bar was undergoing a transformation tables and tablecloths had appeared, as well as a wooden bar, TV and shelves to display drinks.

The fourth wall of the classroom was nearing completion. An area for the Chalkboard had been marked out in preparation for it creation. The walls had been plastered to a height of around 7 feet - as high as we could reach.


Day 13 contd: Project

Wed 11th August 2010 Meanwhile, when not on Project, books were read, suntans topped up, diaries updated and games and chatting took place. Those tasked with food visited the tarmac for supplies and meals were prepared and cooked.

Day 14: Project

Thurs 12th August 2010

So far everything had been running fairly smoothly - meals were being sorted, food bought, although the food was minimal, despite there being a a reasonably large food budget to spend.


Day 14 contd: Project

Thurs 12th August 2010 With nothing bought for breakfast, it was decided that Rice pudding made with milk would be breakfast. The rice pudding started to be cooked at around 8.15am (usually takes around 2 hours to cook) and workers went on Project at 8.45am

We were on with sieving and mixing plaster. Risk assessments do not allow us to work on scaffolding/platforms more than one metre off the ground, so we supplied the plaster for the builders to apply to the walls.


Day 14 contd: Project

Thurs 12th August 2010 The rice pudding was finally ready - a little crunchy, but tasty enough with lots of sugar. Unfortunately, for some it was not so tasty - although the ants obviously enjoyed it

A few challengers were daring each other to perform various tasks. Jack M. made the mistake of offering 2000 shillings for an egg to be thrown at his head.

Again, time in the afternoon to relax and have some personal time.


Day 14 contd: Project

The view across the Valley towards the Tarmac Road. Cassava plants in the foreground and banana trees everywhere. The banana trees produced massive bunches of green bananas twice a year. The locals used the peeled and cooked green bananas as their staple food.

Thurs 12th August 2010


Day 14 contd: Project

Thurs 12th August 2010

The upper parts of the wall were being completed. The gap between the wall and the roof had been bricked up and the bricks on the gable end completed. The lower parts of all four walls was complete and builders platform was moved from wall to wall to enable them to plaster where needed.

Day 15: Project

Fri 13th August 2010 Friday was the last day of Term for the School, before a three week break. Ugandan school Year starts in January and they have three Terms. At the end of each Term are exams and reports. The students returned for their prize giving and results and reports to be issued.


Day 15 contd: Project

Fri 13th August 2010

The hotly awaited Mushumba v Holmfirth International football match. After taking an early lead, Mushumba failed to capitalise as Holmfirth pulled one back before half time.

Taking the lead in the second half, Holmfirth were looking solid, but in the dying seconds, Mushumba were denied a point as the ball clattered off the Holmfirth post, leaving Holmfirth triumphant after a 2-1 victory, while the cheerleaders supported from the sidelines.


Day 15 contd: Project

Fri 13th August 2010

Rounders and rugby followed with the Challengers teaching the locals how to play, followed by running races across the football pitch.


Day 15 contd: Project

Fri 13th August 2010 Meanwhile the builders continued with the finishing touches to the walls. The final assembly for the Mushumba students, with prizes for the best two students in each of their 7 classes.

There were also prizes for the best players in the sports matches. We distributed some of the gifts we had brought as prizes. The rest were donated to the school.


Day 16: Project

Sat 14th August 2010 The facilities are the School were basic - Pit latrines (or Long Drop toilets), no electricity and water from the water butt, that had to be filled by hand. Meanwhile, the work continued in the classroom.


Day 16: Project There was a constant movement of people carrying Jerry Cans along the 2km rough track to the tap at the tarmac and returning with water loaded on bikes or carried on their heads.

Views of Ndete as we approached down the hill on the 30 min walk and along the main tarmac road towards Kasese.

Sat 14th August 2010


Day 16: Project

Sat 14th August 2010 Surveying the wares in a typical local shop. Most items were covered in a thick layer of muddy dust - suggesting that they have been on the shelves for a while.

The locals don’t have much money to spend and tend to eat the crops they have grown themselves. We enjoy bean stew and mashed ‘Irish’ potatoes.

There was some excitement amongst the locals as a baboon was caught ‘stealing’ bananas from the trees. It was dealt with severely.


Day 17: Project

Sun 15th August 2010 The plan was to have a rest day today. William had offered to take on a 2km walk around the local area to visit the Crater Lake -- the source of the water that was being delivered. We were ready to go by 9am and William explained what we would see.

It was a 2km walk down to the Tarmac road. Then another 1 km to the Crater Lake. The scenery was spectacular. The Rift Valley is a volcanic region and the Crater Lake shows the site of an extinct Volcano. It was very warm and were were joined by Hillary - the ex-chief of Mushumba Village.


Day 17 contd: Project

Sun 15th August 2010

We then walked up the steep hill to walk around the Lake. The views were great, but most of us hadn’t planned for such a long walk in the heat, so we needed plenty of rests in the shade where we could.

After a brief stop for Chapattis and a fizzy drink, most of us walked the 2km along the tarmac road back to the turn off to Mushumba, then up the 2km mud road to the School. About half the group hired a couple of taxis to get them back to the school.


Day 18: Project

Mon 16th August 2010 The final day on project. The School pit Latrines had seen some use by the Challengers. Final visits to the tarmac to stock up before our departure tomorrow. The bar was now sporting net curtains around the Pool table along with the sign saying how important their Customer is.


Day 18 contd: Project

A heavy downpour gave some the opportunity for an impromptu shower. The gutter collects rainwater from the roof and channels it into the water butt.

Mon 16th August 2010


Day 18 contd: Project

Some final photos of the walls that we worked on. The chalkboard has been completed and the windows and air-vents squared off.

Mon 16th August 2010


Day 18 contd: Project

Mon 16th August 2010

In the relatively short time at the school we had helped to improve one of the classrooms. The next stage will be to fill in the floor and concrete it, but compared with where we began there has been clear development.

The school still needs to complete both classrooms. The hope to have another World Challenge group next year to finish the work. Our Challengers discussed doing some fund-raising when they returned to the UK to provide the School with the extra ÂŁ1000 that they need to finish both classrooms.


Day 18 contd: Project

Mon 16th August 2010 The existing classrooms are becoming dangerous, as the bricks are falling apart. They hope to be able to use the new classrooms as soon as they can. We began the process of clearing up, by burning the rubbish, before a team photo with the builders.


Day 18 contd: Project

As we watched our last sunset at Mushumba, Steph finally got her favourite meal of spaghetti with butter. The group held another of their regular meetings to review the Project phase and prepare for the R&R (Rest and Relaxation) Phase.

Mon 16th August 2010


Day 19: R&R - Mweya

Final visits to the pit latrines the two footprints to stand on and the hole to squat over. This one is relatively clean, as some users were not particularly accurate, or didn’t clean up when they missed! Packing is underway, ready to depart at around 9am.

Tues 17th August 2010


Day 19 contd: R&R - Mweya

Tues 17th August 2010 With bags loaded on the Matutus, challengers boarded, farewells made, it was time to depart from Mushumba and head towards our R&R Safari at Mweya in the Queen Elizabeth National Park.

The road North passes through the QEP and near the road we were able to see several different types of animals. A gibbon in a tree drew our attention.


Day 19 contd: R&R - Mweya

Tues 17th August 2010 It was a relatively short journey to Mweya and we arrived at around 10.30am. Entry fees paid and some souvenirs bought we headed to the camp.

Here is a picture of Tom Tom with their Tom Toms


Day 19 contd: R&R - Mweya

Tues 17th August 2010

We set up camp overlooking the Kazinga channel wher we go on a boat ride later in the day. In the far distance we could just make out Hippos, water buffalo and an Elephant on the water’s edge.

We moved to the Tembo Canteen to have a drink and benefit from the cool shape. We pre-ordered our evening meals and saw the warthogs and cranes that were lazing around the canteen

The view across the channel from the Canteen was good and we could see more animals by the water and the boats that we would ride on cruising close to the animals.


Day 19 contd: R&R - Mweya

Tues 17th August 2010

At 4pm we travelled the short distance to the boats. Immediately, we noticed two hippos in the water barely 10 metres away from the quayside.

They kept surfacing for air and the submerging for a while - sometimes just their nostrils emerging, sometimes eyes and ears as well.


Day 19 contd: R&R - Mweya Once on board, we set off slowly. The guides explained what animals we could see. We could sit inside, or took it in turns to stand on the upstairs platform.

Hippos and Water Buffalo

Tues 17th August 2010


Day 19 contd: R&R - Mweya

Tues 17th August 2010

Crocodiles basking in the heat, herds of Water Buffalo and the Tembo Canteen from the boat.


Day 19 contd: R&R - Mweya

Tues 17th August 2010 We saw a leopard (very rare to see one) stalking a Warthog up a path. After a brief scuffle behind a bush, the warthog appeared and continued on, shortly after the leopard followed on.

An elephant was in the distance probably the one we had previously seen at the water’s edge from our Camp. As the sun set, we returned to the Quay.


Day 19 contd: R&R - Mweya

Tues 17th August 2010

As darkness fell, the insect emerged, drawn to the light. Jack B took a challenge to stand under the light for 30 seconds for ÂŁ3.50! The food arrived and we all tucked in. Meals ranged from Chicken and chips to chilli and curry.

As we drove back to the camp, we stopped abruptly as 3 hippos wandered across the road, no more than 3 metres away, pausing to eat grass before moving away.


Day 20: R&R - Safari

Wed 18th August 2010

A 4am start! We needed to pack up and be ready to go on safari by 6.30am. The Matutus travelled the 30minutes along rough roads back to the gate to Mweya, as the Sun rose and back to the Kasese Tarmac road, before turning east to pick up the safari guide. The two matutus split up to increase our chances of seeing more animals. They were in constant communication, but were struggling to find Lions and Elephants. Along the way we saw many African Cubs (this one is a Male), Warthogs and water Buffalo as well as many different types of birds. Right at the end of the safari, one Matutu saw an Elephant - it pushed over a tree, but is was too late for the other matutu to get there.


Day 20 contd: R&R - Safari

Wed 18th August 2010

We returned to Kasese, before stopping at the Kilembe Hot Springs for a refreshing dip in the very hot water.

We returned to the Rwenzori Backpackers Lodge in Kilembe for our final night before returning to Kampala.


Day 20 contd: R&R - Safari

Wed 18th August 2010

With all the planned costs of the Expedition sorted it was time to finalise the finances in preparation for the final stages of R&R. Having made savings during the Expedition, the Budget had a healthy $800 surplus. It is apparently customary for any such surplus to be spent on a good meal and a night in a good Hotel at the end of the Expedition. Cath had previously related her experience at the hospital in Kilembe, where the hospital didn’t have sufficient money to buy food for the infants dying of malnutrition. She planned to visit the Hospital and donate some food and/or money and invited others to contribute, if they wished. The group discussed the money situation and decided that they would forego the the Hotel rooms and generously donate $700 to the hospital. Cath took a number of the Challengers down to the hospital and just caught the administrator as she was leaving. After a brief tour of the ward, the challengers were able to see for themselves the state of the infants. The money was gratefully received and the administrator said the money would provide life-saving food and nutrition for the dying infants for the next three months. The group returned to the camp, visibly moved by their experiences. Seeing some of the deprivation and poverty of the locals that we have encountered helps to give some understanding of life in a Developing Country, particularly one of the poorest Countries in the World, but seeing the effect of that poverty and poor education on the infants in the Hospital brought the situation into sharp focus.

Day 21: R&R - Transfer to Jinja

Thur 19th August 2010 Another early start - awake at 5am We were booked on the 7am Kalita bus to Kampala from Kasese. Two matutus arrived and everything was loaded up ready for out long Journey from West to East Uganda.


Day 21 contd: R&R - Transfer to Jinja

Thur 19th August 2010

We waited patiently for the 7am bus - it finally arrived at 8.10am. All bags were loaded. The bus started at Kasese, so we grabbed the window seats for good ventilation.

For the journey we were to be given two slices of bread and some pringles. At one brief stop, roadside sellers were offering meat kebabs and chapattis.

Some managed to buy some snacks to tide us over until the evening meal in Jinja.


Day 21 contd: R&R - Transfer to Jinja

Thur 19th August 2010

It was a long 7 hour bus ride to Kampala and we arrived in the bustling bus station at 2.45pm. After a short wait, our bus arrived for Jinja.

At 5.20pm, we reached Owen Falls Dam and the Nile. Crossing the hydroelectric dam we looked up stream toward Lake Victoria.


Day 21 contd: R&R - Safari

Thur 19th August 2010 We were held up slightly be an election parade blocking the road. Finally, we arrived at the Adrift Camp - overlooking the River Nile, which begins at Lake Victoria and travels North through Africa to Egypt.

As darkness fell, the insect emerged, drawn to the light. Jack B took a challenge to stand under the light for 30 seconds for ÂŁ3.50! The food arrived and we all tucked in. Meals ranged from Chicken and chips to chilli and curry.

Tents were pitched. One group paid extra for bunks in a Dormitory, while the leaders splashed out on Safari tents. Dinner was Pizzas, cooked to order.


Day 22: R&R - Jinja

Fri 20th August 2010 Morning in Jinja. At least we could have a bit of a lie-in after two extremely early starts in recent days, along with the hours travelling.

Another meeting to discuss the day’s plans. The view of the Nile from the rail behind the seats.


Day 22: R&R - Jinja

Fri 20th August 2010 The plan was to walk to the next door Hotel and pay to use their swimming pool. It had a Pool attendant/life guard and provided an opportunity for everyone to relax and have some fun.

Souvenirs were purchased from the display near the tents. The dormitories - sleep 15 people in total


Day 22: R&R - Jinja

Fri 20th August 2010 Pizzas were ordered for lunch, before booking two Matutus to take us into Jinja. It was a short ride into the town. The evening meal was sorted and we dispersed to see the sights and shop.

Most went souvenir hunting and found some real bargains. The Leaders headed for the Source of the Nile - the point where the River Nile is said to begin. Apparently, there is a boat ride to a ripple near an island that is the actual source - but this is near enough! Ghandi’s ashes were poured into the River Nile here.


Day 22: R&R - Jinja

Fri 20th August 2010

A buffet dinner had been booked at the Boston Restaurant on Main Street. Ugandan style cuisine - Cassava, rice, cabbage, chicken and beef sauce, with a fizzy pop included. As darkness fell, the insect emerged, drawn to the light. Jack B took a challenge to stand under the light for 30 seconds for ÂŁ3.50! A nice social evening to bring to a close our last full day in Uganda.


Day 23: The Journey Home

Sat 21st August 2010

A cooked breakfast buffet, before packing up. Then time for the Expedition Review - to talk about the key points, what has be fun, the hard parts, the memories, the issues and the way everyone had developed during the expedition.


Day 23 contd: The Journey Home

Sat 21st August 2010 Everyone donated things that they no longer needed and we looked for a suitable family by the road as we headed to the Airport. Just before Entebbe, we saw a young lady, stopped the bus and delivered our items. She was in the process of cleaning their pit latrine!

Three strange mzungus appeared from nowhere, dropped off several bags, before disappearing in their bus. No wonder the young lady looks so stunned. We made our way to the airport, checked-in and waited for our flight. The final contingency fund was distributed, leaving everyone with 20,000 shillings to buy some lunch. Our flight was called and we boarded the 4.15pm Emirates flight to Dubai, via Addis Ababa.

Day 24: The Journey Home

Sun 22nd August 2010 We arrived at Dubai just after midnight and made our way into the airport. Pete wanted to try out Human Hungry Hippos - like the kids game, but using sweets and people. Arms behind backs, smarties piled up and the winner being the one who eat the most smarties.


Day 24 contd: The Journey Home

Sun 22nd August 2010 It appeared a close run thing, but Jack B claimed to have eaten 108 Smarties, two more than Callum. Next to the important things - McDonalds! Getting the first fix of fast food after three weeks away.

Back at Heathrow, it was time to say farewell to Pete and thanks him for all his efforts on the Expedition. He was carried aloft to be united again with his waiting girlfriend. He was then heading back to his home in Cardiff.


Day 24 contd: The Journey Home

Everyone slept on the Coach North. By 2.45pm, a reception committee welcomed us back to School. Bags collected, families greeted, many thanks and congratulations all round, before heading home.

Sun 22nd August 2010


Holmfirth High - Uganda 2010