“In September, Wendy Cahill came in to speak to us at our year assembly in Kilkenny College to talk about a trip to Uganda that she was planning to run with her husband Eamon. From there many of us signed up and I got the golden opportunity to go.
After months of tireless fundraising, we managed to raise just over €20,000. This meant that we had raised enough money for two wells and surplus for some much-needed bunk beds, desks and other school supplies. After many meetings with Eamon and Wendy, and also Alex Gason (Fields of Life, Head of Development & Fundraising ROI) we were ready to go!
We left Dublin at 5:55 am on 6th April and after two stop overs in Amsterdam and Rwanda we got to our accommodation in Kampala, Uganda. As we settled down to get to sleep that night, the sweltering heat and the choir singing from the church beside our hotel kept me awake and I wasn’t sure whether I would sleep at all on this trip! When we woke up the next morning, the choir were still singing, they had not stopped all night long, something that is quite typical in Uganda as it was a Sunday. The fruit at breakfast was like nothing I had ever tasted; the pineapple and the watermelon were so sweet!
Then our real journey began, as we all piled into our coach, led by our driver, Michael and our Fields of Life link worker, Justine. We drove to Mbale in the East of Uganda. The next day we got the privilege to visit a primary school nearby. We played football and netball with the children and blew bubbles for the younger ones. They sang songs for us and we got to see the difference the bunk beds and the desks made to their school lives. I was taken aback by how happy the children were to see us. Next, we opened the borehole that we fundraised for, as we walked up the hill towards the village the women came running down to hug us and thank us. They were shouting, and it was very clear that they were very happy we came to visit. This village had the biggest impact on me because I wasn’t expecting the water to mean so much to them. You hear all about it before you go but when you see it there, it’s very different to anything you could imagine. Some team members tried to carry the jerry can full of water on their heads, but it is a lot more difficult than it looks. A girl in the village told me that they would have to walk for water about five times a day with each jerry can weighing about 20 kg.
The food was delicious; most meals we had were accompanied with rice or potatoes and the meat we had was usually chicken, but we also had goat and beef. We got to stay with a lovely couple near Lira in the north, called David and Rachel Opiokello. They had founded two Fields of Life partner schools in the area; Truth Nursery & Primary School and Dara Christian High School. They could not have been more hospitable towards us. Rachel was like our mother while we were there, and David told us all about the recent history of Uganda. We visited more wells and schools and it was impactful on all of us and it will stay with us for the rest of our lives. I’m so thankful to everyone that was on the trip especially Wendy, Eamon, Alex and Justine for being so helpful but also to the team and everyone we met throughout our time in Uganda, because they made it such good fun.”