Three volunteers, Charlotte, Ellese and James recount their visit to Alongside Africa’s partner Graeme Naish Memorial School, where many of our Give a Child a Chance sponsorship children attend:
After tense moments through wet mud, and many bumpy roads, we all made it to GNMS (Graeme Naish Memorial School). With the warmest welcome possible in th
e form of songs and smiles, and views of the beautiful forests surrounding us, it was an incredible feeling. Brief as our visit was, and gaining two lovely Batwa children to help us on our way to the settlement, we had to set off up to the settlement. Pushed to our physical limits up rock, mud and narrow (and very precarious) paths, the Batwa children made us look like we may as well have never walked before. The views at GNMS were amazing, but I don’t think any of us expected what came our way on our journey; panoramic views of all the forests, rivers and scenic beauty for miles and miles around. However, we weren’t alone on our trek – thousands and thousands of butterflies in such amazing arrays of colour flew overhead and around us. I think it’s safe to say that none of us will be forgetting this truly spectacular leg of our journey.
Once arriving at the Batwa settlement we were very warmly greeted by the elders of the community. After meeting all the members of the community we were given a place to sit for more formal introductions and speeches from the chairman and other important members of the community. Lots of smiling, laughter and clapping followed every speech which was translated by Wilberforce, the director of Alongside Africa Uganda.
After introductions from our entire group and many of the Batwa community we had the opportunity to give the gifts of clothes and underwear which had been collected back in the UK. The appreciation from the community was far beyond anything I’ve ever seen, I couldn’t stop smiling. As a thank you the men, women and children gave a spectacular show of singing, dancing and drumming. The whole experience was truly humbling.
The walk back to the minibus gave equally unbelievable views. We walked the longer way, avoiding the steeper slopes for fear of rains, and descended the hills next to the Bwindi forest – although we were unlucky to miss out on seeing gorillas.
We came back with the two children of the Batwa community, who were visiting from the Graeme Naish Memorial School (GNMS), and it was amazing to see them run up these steep slopes when we were all struggling to keep our footing.
Before returning to Kabale, we stopped for a late lunch at GNMS and I was astounded by the feast that they put out for us. I particularly enjoyed the G-nuts that they served (a sauce made from ground, raw peanuts) – the attending Reverend was very keen to keep putting more and more on my plate.
Overall, it was simply a brilliant day.