In this week’s blog post, Zuri Project Ambassador Danielle reflects on her first trip to Uganda, and tells us how getting involved in the projects was a truly unforgettable experience.
Landing in Uganda for the first time, I wasn’t really sure what to expect after hearing so much about this relatively small, landlocked country in East Africa. However, the excitement of grade five rafting at the source of the River Nile, experiencing an incredible three day safari in Queen Elizabeth NP and of course visiting the projects that the Zuri Project Uganda are currently supporting in Kihembe, pushed aside my fear of the unknown. After a near death experience on the Nile (maybe a slightly dramatic explanation) and an amazing safari experience we headed to Kanungu district where our scheduled meetings with community groups and development organisations would take place. So far, I was taken aback by the beauty of the country and I was looking forward to what the rest of the trip had in store.
Meeting Herbert Niwagaba, one of the key people involved in setting up The Zuri Project and being welcomed into his home, made my arrival into the village a wonderful experience. After visiting the first couple of projects, I was brought to tears by the community spirit, the positivity & happiness of the people, along with the fact they were absolutely delighted that we were there to meet them. Visiting the village and meeting the community made me realise many of the first world problems I face every day really aren’t problems at all. It changed my perspective for the better. After visiting more projects and community groups over the next few days, as well as playing games with the local children, I began to realise what a wonderful village Kihembe is. It was very clear from our meetings, that the local people have a great vision for their development, and we’re absolutely thrilled to be supporting them achieve this vision.
The village is incredibly rural, and is not far from the border of the DRC. Ross and a local government official took a dip into the Ishasha river that separates the DRC and Uganda, and we were assured that this is perfectly safe, from both rebel groups and crocodiles! After numerous boda boda rides, lots of interesting food and many life changing experiences, my trip had come to an end and I was travelling back on a 11 hour bus journey across Uganda, reflecting. What the Zuri Project has done in collaboration with the community so far is incredible, and seeing what potential projects can be supported going forward I felt delighted to be a part of it. The positivity of the community without the materialistic things many of us in the UK require to make us happy is humbling, and it really made me think differently about the things I take for granted and complain about!
The people of Kihembe are doing wonderful things to develop their community, and the Zuri Project are delighted to be supporting a number of different community led projects. As I boarded the plane in Entebbe airport to head for London, I was filled with excitement about returning next year and putting all my effort into working with the community and supporting the Zuri Project in its development.