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Nursery School Kids have an amazing day out!

April 1, 2014 Leave a comment

On March 14th our nursery school at Bufuka hosted the Life Academy Nursery School from Ntungamo – one of the nurseries in our Circle of Friends.

Paul the founder of Life Academy has sent us this letter which eloquently expresses their experiences of the day.

Children & Teachers from both Nursery Schools

Children & Teachers from both Nursery Schools

 

“Our time in Kabale at Bufuka was superb!!
Time Check- Thursday Thirteenth around mid day, the taxi operators inform us, they could only carry 14 kids each!! Total would be 28 kids yet we had thought all along we would take 40 kids!!

2pm, 13th- The local vicar agrees to call up the head teacher of Kabale secondary school to allow us use their bus for 400,000 shillings!! 15 minutes later, he calls back to say we would have the bus.

By then our kids have already been informed and are preparing for the trip excitedly. Parents are calling at school unexpectedly to confirm the news their young ones would be traveling to Kabale on an all expenses paid trip!! Most have never been to Kabale before and there is sweet suprise in their eyes when I answer the question in the affirmative!!

By 7am Friday 14,  2014 the kids start arriving at school in their smart beautiful African print Uniforms!! The whole school is bursting at the seams with excitement!! By 9am, the bus arrives!! None of our kids had ever been on a bus before!! They are all excited at this moment and clapping uncontrollably!! Tears are welling up in my eyes that these kids are getting an opportunity I never had as a child. I am thinking to myself, Edirisa has made my dream come to pass!!

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Shortly after 9am, the bus sets off through the local trading centre- Kyemepene. All the traders are out of their shops to catch a glimpse of young nursery children on a bus traveling to Kabale. It is unbelievable. We stop briefly and people are flocking the bus windows to confirm this was real!! Yes it was. THANK YOU EDIRISA.

Afew moments later we are out of the trading centre!! The kids are screaming their lungs out!! They were shocked to see trees “run” past the bus in the opposite direction. Soon some people start “running past” the bus in the opposite direction and the kids are extremely excited about all this. Jubilation and singing fill up the air. I instruct the 2 nursery teachers we were traveling with not to stop the kids from enjoying their moment!! We soon arrive at a Tarmac road in Rubare Trading centre. All our kids had never seen a road made on Bitumen and rocks. We stop for them to take in the moment!! You should have been there to see the amazement!!

Soon we are heading in the direction of Kabale. The singing is defeaning, the excitement and joy almost tangible!! We pass big and small cars on the road, the hills are moving backwards, etc. All the kids are on their feet looking through the windows and commenting all the way to Kabale. Soon we are in Kabale town and the kids are amazed at mostly houses “sitting on top of each other!!” (Read storeyed buildings)

Fast forward, we are in at lake Bunyonyi. My phone is ringing off the hook as Phionah from Edirisa tries to make sure we are safe and ok!! We finally arrive at Bufuka!! The view of lake Bunyonyi captivates the kids!! One of the kids on the trip Richard, gets scared of the water body and decides not to exit the bus!! ha ha ha. It took good convincing to have him get out and join other kids for a delicious cup of porridge prepared by EDIRISA.

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Shortly after, our kids join Bufuka kids in their respective classes! The classes are something our teachers had never seen before. The system of teaching, very different from ours!! As teachers at Bufuka sat in a circle teaching, our teachers fidgeted looking for a chair to sit!! The Bufuka teachers were above their game!! We were totally blown away!! One it was all different for our kids and teachers, two  EDIRISA had decided to give us an opportunity of a life time sponsoring the trip and allowing us ful l access to the work they do at Bufuka!! Quite humbling!!

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After class, we went for sports activities. Football was one of the games plus several others!! Life Community Academy kids won one of the events just before lunch time!!

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Lunch was another big one for our children. Less than five in 40 had ever drunk a bottle of soda!! They are still talking about it until now!! It is what every parent says the children still talk about at their homes!!

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Then the lake trip!! I was personally scared too…..except I made it safely across. The kids could not believe what they saw and experienced. They went singing on the boat, from Bufuka shore Past Nature’s Prime Island, past the various camp sites and hotels on the lake shores!! Amazing, Amazing, Amazing!!!!! 7 of our kids refused to do the boat ride!! The mass of water was simply overwhelming!! Around 5.30pm, the curtain came down on our adventurous and very educative trip. Every child of nursery going age, in my village should surely experience what we experienced!! It is still the biggest news.

Kids saw new things
Learnt new songs
Studied in a different environment
Never closed their eyes on the bus to sleep as we had anticipated. They were all very excited and wanted to see everything they had to see and saw could not bat an eyelid and miss out on anything. By 8pm, we were back at school with very happy parents waiting to walk their kids back home.

LONG LIVE EDIRISA. THANKS FOR THE WORK YOU ARE DOING IN UGANDA AND FOR SPONSORING THIS ALL VALUABLE TRIP NEVER DONE BEFORE BY ANY NURSERY SCHOOL IN RUGARAMA OR EVEN NTUNGAMO DISTRICT. TO MANY SCHOOLS AND PEOPLE, NURSERY KIDS ARE JUST A NUMBER. OURS AT LIFE COMMUNITY ACADEMY, WE SAY THEY DESERVE THE BEST.”

The children at Bufuka benefited from the day as well and we hope to host more children from our partner nurseries in the future.

Nightrider – London 8th & 9th June 2013

June 29, 2013 Leave a comment

During the night of 8th/9th June three of our trustees together with four other supporters pedalled 100km around London raising funds for us!  Some cyclist set off from Alexandra Palace whilst others left from Crystal Palace – our guys went from Alexandra Palace.

Ready to go

Ready to go

How did they find it?? Would they do it again??

Observations from Simon Carter, Trustee : 

–          London is NOT FLAT!

–          Are there more foxes than people in London?

–          Do I look that stupid every time ‘I’ get drunk?

–          Traffic lights….why?!

–          Speed bumps – rubbish on the up hills, but make fantastic jumps on the downhills!

–          Water breaks, missed two of them!

–          Signage – took two wrong turns nearly ended up in Brighton at one point!

–          5 hours to complete…not bad for a first go.

Would I do it next year – DEFINITELY

Simon ready for the off!

Simon ready for the off!

Comments from Paul Mitcham – aka Ron:

  • Cycling in central London at night is not for the faint-hearted.
  • Despite the slight detours the route was really well marked out.
  • The cobbled streets in Wapping are littered with bike busting pot-holes.
  • Great atmosphere.
  • Traffic lights are not your friends when you’re on a drop handlebar bike and clipped in shoes.
  • Best bit – ‘Racing’ around Canary Wharf in the early hours on closed streets.

Given Simon’s apparent enthusiasm to do it all again then I would too.

Ron about to go!

Ron about to go!

Graham Carter who also participated in Edirisa’s “Challenge Africa”  last year said this:

A great night out!  I had one memorable moment when coming to a set of traffic lights at about 4am.  The lights changed and three very drunk girls stepped into the road, I skidded to a halt coming to a stop as they were running back to the pavement shouting “no don’t stop keep going”!  They then thanked me for actually managing to stop and cheered me on.

Graham on Tower Bridge

Graham on Tower Bridge

Tim Constable, Trustee, and also a Challenge Africa participant reported on facebook when he got home:

OK – well that’s over.  Everything hurts. My toes hurt. Is that normal? Came home and hit the neurofen, bath, stella but to no avail so far. Wife unsympathetic!

Mark Shields said:

Thank you for the opportunity to take part in the Nightrider event, I had a fantastic time and hope that I can do it again next year. On the whole it was great fun though the last 20km were a little more challenging! We chatted to a couple of people at the finish whilst having a cup of tea, discussing how great it was to have finished, unfortunately it was only their halfway point! We felt pretty sorry for them.

Mark and Graham at the end

Mark and Graham at the end

Chris Mee, Trustee, and also a Challenge Africa participant:

It was a lot harder than I’d hoped and I definitely struggled for the last 20 miles at 4am in the morning!

Chris at the end of the ride

Chris at the end of the ride

Everyone agreed it had been a great experience so roll on Nightrider 2014!

Savings Lives at Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda

August 5, 2012 Leave a comment

For the children who live on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi,  the second deepest lake in Africa, collecting water and travelling in canoes on the lake is part of their daily life.  The  lake has a steep drop off from the land and fetching water  poses a high risk of children falling in and drowning.  Canoes often capsize in bad weather or when they are overloaded, and on average  between one and two people a month drown here. It is difficult to find someone who has not lost a close friend or relative to the water.

 

Going home from school

Going home from school

 

Edirisa’s swimming programme is part of a larger effort to mobilise swimming at schools around the lake. The Lake Bunyonyi Development Company train teachers in swimming with the hope that they will make time in the holidays to run swim camps with their students. At our centre in Bufuka the lessons are staffed by our volunteers and run during term time PE classes as well as during the school holidays. We are lucky to have the facility to teach students in a locally made swimming platform that sits in the lake rather than take novice swimmers into dangerous, deep open water.

 

The swimming platform

The swimming platform

 

Kids by the pool

Kids by the pool

As the school term ends our volunteers have started planning a summer swim school for the month-long holiday. It’s a part of the volunteer programme that is very much appreciated by the students and wider community as it continues to help save lives. Students at Bufuka have come a long way in the last year; Julia Fellinger and Ziva Skrlovnik recently took the first group of advanced swimmers on a 300m open water swim with great success.

We would like to say a big THANK YOU to all of our Teach Inn Bufuka volunteers who have been at the centre of this project. It is their efforts that have made such a big difference and we hope that our continued support will give these children not only confidence in the water but also the ability to swim to safety if needed.

 

This is fun!

This is fun!

Swimming

Swimming

 

Sarah teaching swimming

Sarah teaching swimming

We are also grateful to our partners – Edirisa Slovenia – who have just donated funds for much-needed renovations of the swimming platform. It is almost ready to be painted by volunteers in time for the summer lessons (watch this space!). Vrtec Volce, a Slovenian nursery, has also donated a number of children’s swimming costumes, towels and arm-bands which are much appreciated.

A GREAT TEAM EFFORT

Creativity, fun, sports and more with Carpe Diem Education Volunteers

April 14, 2012 1 comment

Carpe Diem Education (www.carpediemeducation.org) are regular visitors to Edirisa, stopping in Kabale twice a year, each with a different group, as part of their East African semester. A semester with Carpe Diem provides students with a unique opportunity to study and volunteer abroad.  Volunteering, community and cultural exchange are central to Edirisa UK and Carpe Diem,  and it was great to welcome another group this March.

A visit to Kitanga’s Special Needs Education Center (SNEC) has been on Carpe Diems itinerary for the last two semesters and is becoming a favourite amongst it’s students. Days at SNEC were split between classroom renovations and creative workshops. Due to the fast expansion of the school in recent years there are more classes than classrooms at SNEC, requiring different abilities and ages to be taught in the same classroom. Edirisa UK with the help of Carpe Diem  have provided partitions for two classrooms to ensure a more practical learning environment. With the help of students and teachers  Carpe Diem painted educational material specific to different classes on each side of the wooden partitions, creating a fun and informative backdrop for each lesson.

Bead Making

Bead Making

 

Creative workshops in the afternoons provided an opportunity to work closely with the small classes of students, each with specific learning difficulties. The theme this year was jewellery and our visitors taught and assisted the SNEC students to make their own necklaces and bracelets using hand made beads of rolled paper. With these beads now fashion statements in Europe and America it was a great workshop for Carpe Diem to lead and a bright, colourful, fun and very sticky afternoon for the SNEC students.

 

The second half of Carpe Diem’s visit took the team to the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi, and the ‘Heart’ of Edirisa. First on the itinerary was a day spent with one of Edirisa UK’s women’s craft groups at Rubona. This gave the students a chance to look over the plans for the future Rubona development – an orphanage, nursery school and craft workshop at the top of the hill over looking the lake – and to experience a day in a craft woman’s life. The craft lesson started with the ladies teaching the group two simple bracelet designs; one using banana fibers and one with raffia grass. After the students mastered these (some better than others!) it was time to learn to use the pedal powered sewing machine. This caused some problems for the students used to automatic electronic machines, but proved to be a fascinating learning experience.

Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi

After a deserved weekend relaxing and visiting islands around the lake, the final task for the volunteers was to run the annual Edirisa Nursery School sports days, over 2 days, at Bufuka and Kyabahinga Nursery Schools. The nursery students were split into teams, each with an American team captain and over the course of the morning competed against each other in a number of grueling relay races.

An obstacle course kicked off proceedings at both schools which saw the toddlers negotiating a tricky arrangement of balancing beams, tables to crawl under, and benches to jump. Then came an egg (ball) and spoon race, a hilarious three-legged race and a very excitable sack race! Although one team from each school had to be declared a winner, a great time was had by everyone and the teams went home satisfied with their performances.

Obstacle Course

Obstacle Course

The following evening we bade our visitors farewell, and wished them a safe onward journey to Kampala. Here in Kabale, we’re already looking forward to welcoming a new group in the ‘fall’.

Olympic Athletes in Training

July 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Despite a near total lack of sports equipment (donations please!) or clothing, we do try our very best to give the children of our nurseries a sports day to remember! That means putting our thinking caps on to come up with some fun competitions and events that require little, to no, apparatus. We think we were successful this year – well, according to the children’s smiling faces at the end of the day we were!

Split into groups the children took part in three-legged, relay and wheelbarrow races as well as an obstacle course – all demonstrated by our wonderful teachers and volunteers – to the great amusement of the children!

The ninety children at Bufuka Nursery may have started the day seeming quite shy and unsure but they finished with buckets of enthusiasm and competitiveness to rival Lewis Hamilton.

Thanks to all the volunteers and teachers who made this day possible.