There are many words that can describe my experience in Uganda - emotional, an eye opener, rewarding, mind blowing. Uganda really is a place that has changed my view of the world; how lucky we are and how some in the world are not. In Uganda our team spent a lot of time helping in a school, running children’s activities in and out of the classroom, doing maintenance work and learning how their school life is so different to our own. We visited shanty towns and some of the homes of the children. It was very sad to see how they lived and the struggle they have in life. The teachers of the school were very grateful for our help, but the experience meant so much to us and changed our lives.
We also had an opportunity to visit an orphanage and a women’s refugee community. It was so emotional for me to see people who have been so hurt and lost so much but can still smile and stand together in life and be there for each other. It made me think that, no matter how hard you can be hurt or how much you can lose in life, you can still go on in life and have faith and hope.
We did have happy days too! White water rafting on the Nile and seeing the wildlife in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It was so much better than seeing the animals on the TV!
When it came to end of the trip, it was hard to say goodbye and leave it all behind. I would have liked to stay longer and do more for these people who really appreciated our help. The whole experience had been something beyond anything we had imagined. It changed our lives, our perspective on what we have and how we see life from a different viewpoint.
Since my time in Uganda, I have now started sponsoring endangered species with WWF and organizations such as Save the Children. I will continue to help and support those who are in need. I would say to everyone that an experience such as mine in Uganda is well worth all the effort and we need to open our eyes to the world that we all live in and help each other make it a better place.
Today, 5 years on, I am fulfilling a dream that my Uganda experience gave me the confidence to pursue. I serve in the RAF Regiment. Our Regimental motto "Through Adversity" were the words I could not find when I came back from Uganda. Now I believe I can do anything, whatever the challenges.