On Tuesday 18 October, after half a year of fundraising and months of preparation 40 Latymer students and 4 members of staff – along with their 88 bags of luggage including donations of clothes and a fundraising total of £22,000 - finally arrived in Kampala, Uganda.
One of the first stops for the group was the M-Lisada orphanage which is home to the eight pupils sponsored by Latymer. Here our students received a wonderful welcome with a dance show, concert and gymnastics display and they spent time getting to know all of the children.
On the second day the Latymerians travelled to
the Hidden Treasure Primary School and the Mummy Foundation - which supports
teenage mothers and their children - and the students visited the new building
which Latymer helped fund two years ago.
One of the highlights of the expedition was the trip to the impoverished region of Jinja, on Lake Victoria. Here the students spent a couple of days at the Lukolo Primary School painting buildings and classrooms, taking part in art and craft sessions at the Soft Power Education Centre and visiting the Kyoma school for children with Special Needs to join in with sport and games.
The final morning in the Jinja area was spent at the remote Kasozi Primary School. This is the school where six Latymer 6th Form girls lived for a month in 2014 while working with Soft Power Education and last year our donations funded the building of a new classroom block. In the afternoon the group travelled back to the M-Lisada orphanage to spend time with the friends they had made earlier in the week.
The next day the students visited the Tender Talents Magnet School, a secondary school just outside Kampala specialising in music and performing arts, where the students helped put on displays of art, science, welding, music, catering, sewing and sport. From here they headed to a Brass For Africa Concert, featuring students from M-Lisada, Tender Talents and Reading Blue Coats School. It was an absolutely joyous concert with everyone joining in the singing and dancing.
After their busy schedule the students headed off on safari at the stunning Murchison Falls National Park spotting hippos on the White Nile River, fending off baboons from the bus and driving through the park at dusk and dawn to see lions, giraffes, elephants, waterbucks, buffalo and warthogs.
After such an incredible week it was time to turn thoughts to the journey home, buy some souvenirs and travel back to the M-Lisada orphanage for one final time to say their emotional goodbyes before boarding the bus to the airport. The students left Uganda with a lifetime of memories captured by Leah in the film opposite. The teachers are so proud of the group who were a huge credit to the school.