Liz had been to Uganda before on a previous visit, but Summer 2018 was her first DoubleMe trip. Here, she reflects on her first trip with us:
Eight months after last summer’s trip, with an uprooting and a relocation in between, I still find myself thinking about my experiences with a hope to return to Uganda in the future. It was a privilege to be part of last year’s team and something I would highly recommend. As a primary school teacher, encountering education in a completely different cultural setting definitely challenged my own thinking about education and life back home. Although unsure about what I could really contribute, there were plenty of opportunities: from the more obvious skills needed for good teamwork in putting on the conferences to the unexpected moments such as using my smattering of German to help the audiologist set up software on a German operating system!
One of the highlights for me had to be a day we spent in the community visiting local schools. At one school we received an amazing welcome as we toured the school, then we were treated to a range of traditional performances from different classes and we were honoured with a special meal for lunch. The children’s performances were especially moving. As we prepared to leave, the school’s weekly service was about to begin so the whole primary school of over a thousand pupils (from just seven classes) walked to the nearby church, which was still being built! The scaffolding was no deterrent, and soon joyful singing came flooding out. Sneaking into the service, we briefly joined the celebrations. The memory of a sea of children enthusiastically waving plastic chairs over their heads to accompany a song in the unfinished church building will stay with me for a long time.
Other highlights included the willingness of the attendees to participate in our conference workshops, the learning that participants shared both vocally and written on post-it notes at the end of the conferences, the beauty of the day trip to the River Nile at Jinja and many of the other opportunities we had to experience Ugandan culture. There were a range of requests for workshops at future conferences and some requesting school links – plenty of opportunities for the future!