Gary Pickett, Christian Youth Worker, from the Parish of Clayton with Keymer
Kagando, Uganda Mission Trip 2018
We were pleased to welcome Gary Pickett, Christian Youth Worker, to give an account of his two week trip in 2018. Gary led a team of 4 on a trip to help a school of nearly 500 children in a very poor area of Uganda. They each raised £2,000 and after travelling expenses they had $7,500 to be able to spend on the school. The money was carried as bundles of cash!
En route from Entebbe to the school their transport had a major blow out and their trip very nearly ended in a ditch. The school is next to a hospital and their accommodation for the 2 weeks was in visitor facilities at the hospital. The school has very little money and the team found that the walls of the classrooms were in poor condition and had what appeared to be bullet holes in them. Also, there were no lights in the classrooms so when it got dark school ended for the day.
They had taken with them as many holdalls as they could manage crammed full of things for the children. Their first involvement was teaching them how to play a range of games many with an educational flavour. It was difficult sometimes explaining the rules as many did not speak any English. They then tackled the classroom walls, filling the holes with stones and then plastering over. They bought electrical equipment and persuaded an electrician from the hospital to install lights in all of the classrooms. Again, with some help they painted the classrooms and then decorated them with things that were appropriate teaching aids for the particular age groups.
They bought wall clocks for the classrooms, installed ceilings and fitted new locks to improve security. A future project for the school will be to build a secure perimeter fence, again to improve security. They spent £750 on swings, slides, etc to help give the children a taste of a proper childhood. They also gave them Lego sets and had to teach the children the concept of the building blocks.
The team purchased sacks of rice, nuts, salt and sugar to make and distribute food parcels for the elderly. They were disturbed by the fact that the parcels would provide food for a month whereas it seemed to them that they would only serve for a day or two.
While they were there posters started to appear everywhere about precautions about Ebola as there was an outbreak only 30 miles away.
It was amazing to hear from Gary that they had time for 2 days sightseeing considering the number of things they were able to achieve while they were there. The slides that Gary used for his talk showed the scope of their achievements. The headmistress was in tears on their departure saying that ‘in two weeks they had achieved what would have taken 10 years otherwise’.
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