By Linda Newton, Chair of Service Rotary Club of N-K
I was first introduced to the AZBGC by Paul Jay and Jimmy Sebulime who were the guest speakers in Feb 2015 at a weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Nepean-Kanata. I was so impressed by the work done by the group that my husband & I, with a donation from the Rotary Club of Nepean-Kanata decided to head to Kammengo for five weeks, first on our own as volunteers at the AZBGC and then as part of a CACHA education and infrastructure mission.
We jumped right in by helping in local schools, helping the children and youth with homework as well as painting the AZBGC building inside and out. We also cleared brush and so that a new cow shed could be built. The shed will become the home to two dairy cows that will provide a source of income for the AZBGC.
Finally, we cleaned out the chicken coop to get it ready for the new influx of chicks – another source of income for the Centre. The youth raise the chicks for approximately 12 weeks and then sell the young chickens for a small profit.
All of our meals were cooked by the youth (thanks Jimmy and Semaiya) who ensured we were well fed and kept happy. The old kitchen received a much-needed facelift and a new outdoor washing area, thanks to funds from CACHA.
Not all of the mission was about work, however. Interacting with the boys, girls and youth at the AZBGC made the experience even more rewarding. We sang, danced, played … parents in the village will forever wonder which muzungo taught their children ‘Round and round the garden, walked the little bear’ or ‘Pat-a-cake’. By the end of the mission I was accosted daily with a hug and an outstretched palm or someone grabbing my hand to ‘walk the little bear’.
Perhaps the highlight of the non-mission work was a group trip to watch the Uganda Cranes play Togo in a World Cup qualifying match. The Cranes had won 1-0 in Togo so the stage was set for a raucous home match. We showed up two hours early with about 30 youth and volunteers in tow. The noise, before the match, was deafening and the crowd boisterous but having so much fun.
For many of the youth, it was the first time they’d ever been to a soccer match and they were so excited to see their team win. After Uganda scored to make it 3-0, you couldn’t hear yourself speak or think from the vuvuzelas, horns and cheering. Our hearing took two hours to recover!
The Rotary Club of Nepean-Kanata has been involved in several projects in Africa but this was our first in Uganda. The club donated funds to the AZGBC, that were used to purchase toothpaste and toothbrushes, school books and supplies, and help take the youth on the group trip to the soccer match. In addition, the club donated funds to the next CACHA medical mission in Kammengo.
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