Montana Allen- Canada
To my Isaac,
Oh man, what can I even say to thank you?
Nothing seems adequate. Thank you so much for giving me a full tour of your country and linking me to work with many amazing projects! It has been a super fun month traveling around the country with you. From the 12-seater car in Kamwenge, receiving Robyn (the chicken), Trans-cargo bus journey, the boda-chicken dance, and all the other hilarious moments along the way.
Thank you for making me fall in love with Uganda! See you in 3 years!
Ariel Pilotto- Italy
I am Ariel Pilotto, I am 25 years old and I come from Italy. I hold a degree in foreign languages and literature from the University of Genoa and a master in European Business from the ESCP Europe Business School.
After a poor work experience in a company in Melbourne, Australia, I decided to spend sometime doing volunteering abroad. Since the beginning, I had a clear idea of what I could and I would have like to do: teaching, micro-finance, marketing and other activities related to my studies.
Most of my pre-volunteering preparation work was dedicated to the choice of the country and the association. I looked for an NGO that could offer me a nice experience, both from personal and curricular point of view, and the possibility to discover new interesting places.
Beacon of Hope Uganda was a perfect candidate being located in Uganda, one of the most fascinating African countries, and offering a wide range of projects to choose from.
Safety played an important part in my decision. I would have never chosen to travel to Uganda if there had been serious risk for my person.
My experience at the school was amazing. I had never worked with kids and I had never taught before, nevertheless I enjoyed the school from the first day to the last. I will never be grateful enough for the great time I had. I had the opportunity to develop as a person under many aspects while doing something good and tangible for people less fortunate than me.
Many, many thanks to all of you, Isaac, Patrick, Samuel, Theopista, Loi, Vicky and all the others, I do hope we will be able to keep in contact and see each other again soon. A special thanks goes to the kids, they are so great and I will miss them a lot, but I am sure they will have a bright future with your support.
Ashley Swan- United States of America
I traveled to Uganda seeking an opportunity to work in healthcare within a rural community. In particular, I was very interested in educating the community about healthcare issues and I was also very interested in working in an HIV clinic, testing and counseling community members. While seeking a trustworthy volunteer company in Uganda, I found Beacon of Hope Uganda that initiates rural community projects. Through BoHU I came to work in Gayaza, Rakai District.
During my stay in Gayaza, I engaged in a variety of health-related activities. The majority of my time was devoted to shadowing the community nurse with the Gayaza Community Health Clinic. I also gave health educational talks to students within primary and secondary schools, which was by far my favorite experience. Once a week I also traveled to visit members within the community and to visit local AIDS clients that BoHU is helping.
Although BoHU and its partners are helping as much as they can, there are still many children that are not attending school. Self medication is definitely an issue within the community as almost no one came for treatment but instead insisted on buying medication they thought would be suitable. No health is taught at schools on a regular basis (other than my role) and no counseling is provided to the students. In the seven weeks that I worked at the clinic, not a single person purchased a condom or sanitary pad.
The community is undoubtedly challenged by poverty, but this no way differs from other rural communities of Uganda. Few people have money to spend and therefore small businesses cannot flourish because of limited customers.
I came into this volunteer program with few expectations and an open mind. I did not want to set any expectations because I did not want to be disappointed in the end.
I was definitely terrified/sad/anxious the first few days I was here. I honestly did not think I was going to make it off the coach bus in Mukono from Nairobi. I was dropped off past midnight in a foreign country whose language I didn’t know meeting a strange Man: Isaac. He was great. Young, willing to talk to me and all. The next day I met the Italian Stallion Ariel. We hung out, read, made beads, went into Mukono town via boda-boda (motorcycle!!) and went on the internet and ran some errands. Uganda is definitely not how I expected, then again, I didn’t really have any expectations.
Sabine Goerg – Germany
Educated as a civil engineer I have worked in the field of wastewater treatment and later switched to database programming. Right now at my beginning fifties and my daughter having found her own life I took a gap period to find out how to spend the rest of my life. Concerned about climate change and the challenge of food security for all I want to widen my horizon and bring some experience about living with less resources to my homecountry. After collecting some knowledge on development cooperation my interest focused on Uganda. And now in January 2013 I am here in Namubiru near Mukono and happy to share my experiences with anyone who is interested. I enjoyed my experience working with Isaac and staying with his family in Mukono and I will grately recommend this experience to anyone who would like to go Uganda
Matthew Montgomery- Canada
It isn’t easy giving up the comforts Caledon has to offer. Beyond all the services, stores and hobbies, there are the more mundane niceties people don’t even think about, like running water, toilets and cars. But I did just that when I left Caledon to work in Africa with the Beacon of Hope Uganda organization.
I arrived in Mukono after travelling through England and Kenya. Mukono is a small suburb of Kampala and the likelihood of it becoming a slum is very high, unless something changes. The area has a much higher rate of urbanization and population density compared to the rest of the country, as well as a higher incidence rate of HIV and AIDS.
Beacon of Hope Uganda is working to make changes through a variety of programs and services that help people help themselves. I knew what I was getting into and ran at it full force,”
I helped implement a new binding constitution for them to follow, as well as established a finance department to better keep track of donations and funds used toward our beneficiaries – disadvantaged youths and orphans. I also helped setting up several small sustainable income generating programs for youths to become involved. There are now before and after school programs for the disadvantaged youths. It gives them a way to make money so they can afford to pay for school fees.
From day one I was enthralled by every aspect of Ugandan life, everyone loves you and you rarely encounter a miserable person,” he said. “The people are incredibly hospitable and go to a lot of trouble to make sure my stay here is enjoyable.
When it comes right down to it, working for Beacon of Hope Uganda is about the children, and it was the best part of my job. If you take a minute out of your day and stop to talk with them, or even just say hi, it makes their day, they fall over laughing or run up to you just to touch your hand. I never got tired of waving to them or saying hello. They deserve the attention. I only wish I could give them more.
The children in the area are infectious, their smiles are hard to forget and are a force that drives you to get up and work hard each day, because those kids deserve a chance, and to a life led without despair and I urge the people of Caledon to reach out to the less fortunate. If not the children of Uganda, then the children suffering in other parts of Africa, South America and East Asia. There is an abundance of children quietly drowning in a whirlpool of poverty.