The Real Uganda
The Real Uganda Programs
The Real Uganda needs volunteers to assist our partners with a variety of agriculture and conservation activities. Because subsistence farming is a way of life in Uganda,...
The Real Uganda Reviews
I felt safer there than I did in downtown Rochester NY!
Submitted by Christina Klosterman - Rochester, NY United States | December 05, 2017
Most places and people you talk to will freak you out about going to Uganda. Those people usually have never been to Africa. They just hear stories about war after war after war and think, “Well, Uganda is in Africa, so they must be in a war and have all kinds of crime and chaos going on, so obviously if you go there, you will probably die.” I had so many visions of giant killer bugs, insane mosquitoes, getting deathly ill, getting abducted, killed, whatever… hahaha! Turns out that I felt safer there than I did in downtown Rochester NY! That’s where I live… That doesn’t mean that you throw caution to the wind or anything. Be safe, be smart, and be cautious, but definitely relax.
Tasks changed from day to day
Submitted by Nighttrain Schickele - Berkley | December 05, 2017
I signed up for the “Agriculture and Conservation” but my volunteering was not as straightforward as picking up a shovel and being shown what to do. I was given time with another volunteer to brainstorm on things we could add or improve in our designated school, “Hopeland”. We formed dozens of ideas for the farm, soccer pitch, kitchen, garden, school beautification and education. Then we just went for it and started digging. There was plenty of undeveloped land and we tried to tackle every idea we had. In between, there were errands that needed to be done around the school, so we would give a helping hand. We dug out the foundation of an old building to plant grass, dispersed rubble from the demolished building to divert rainwater and to build a ramp for walking, cleared out land for the garden, used broken bricks to improve a pathway and border the garden, planted seeds that we bought and watered everyday, taught classes for a week on environmental concern and our home-countries, helped the construction of a temporary farmhouse, and started a “Bottlebrick” project to collect plastic waste with students all over the school and reduce burned rubbish. Tasks changed from day to day. Some weeks were labor intensive and others were interacting with the children.
Jump in, try everything, step out of your comfort zone
Submitted by Kate Silverman - Washington United States | December 05, 2017
I spent weekday mornings (roughly 8:30am-1pm) at the “garden”—a much too modest translation for the extensive fields they own. I was always there with someone else and would help them with our tasks for the day. I often helped clear land for planting, mulch or add manure, plant beans and cover the seeds.
After time back at home for lunch, I would go to the school to help out. The students were on holiday break, so my first week I found various ways to help the teachers, like making educational posters for the classrooms. My last few weeks, I ran an afterschool recreation program for the kids. About 30 kids attend optional school during the holidays, and by 3pm they’re ready to be out of class running around. From about 3pm-5pm we would go to a field and play lots of games and soccer.
Jump in, try everything, step out of your comfort zone (even if it’s just one step at a time!) Learn some Luganda—it goes a long way. Embrace the mzungu calls and throw back a greeting in Luganda. Introduce yourself and get to know the local kids. They’ll see you everywhere and it’s nice to be greeted by your own name for a change. Spend time at your homestay and at least a couple weekends in the village. Go to church with your family. Play with the kids. Walk through town. Buy fruit at the market. Play soccer with the males in town. Learn how to make chapatti. Be smart, but don’t be afraid of street food. Eat a lot of sugar cane, especially if you’re working in the garden.
Be patient and go with the flow. Things and time operate differently there and it’s best if you’re open to experiences and ready for anything! Be flexible. Take it all in. Unplug from home. Enjoy the simple life and inspiring people you’ll meet.
Stay in the moment
Submitted by Kisha Spears - New York United States | December 05, 2017
When volunteering for the Real Uganda, I split my time between a village farm and the owners’ small community school. While working in several of the farm’s gardens, I helped to till land, add natural fertilizers and plant seeds of different varieties. I was able to assist in digging holes for and plant fruit tree seedlings. I also had the opportunity to learn about how various fruits and vegetables grow. Additionally, I was able to share my knowledge about producing soymilk from soybeans, which was used to further develop a sustenance food program for the school’s elementary students. While working in the school, I spent time visiting classes and was able to help improve the school by providing teacher-training workshops to the school’s staff. I conducted several workshops on enhancing reading skills amongst learners and creating child friendly lesson plans.
I would suggest that future volunteers come to their placements with an open mind, leaving any expectations of personal gain out of their journey. They should stay in the moment each day and give fully from the heart. Since volunteering is a path of giving, people should share their knowledge but also stay humble. And, they should conduct themselves, as respectable individuals in all situations to produce greater esteem.
Ugandan trod. journey of a soul
Submitted by Judy Worrell - London United Kingdom | December 05, 2017
Disillusioned with working in the West and approaching middle age, I embarked upon a mini journey with a mission to rediscover who I am and find out what life options might exist beyond managing the menopause and looking forward to my pension. I have always enjoyed previous visits to Africa as a tourist but was looking for immersion, just to find out how I might cope with living and working out there in the future.
From the outset The Real Uganda lived up to it's name by providing information about Ugandan daily life and cultural norms before and during the volunteering experience.
Help was on hand for the practicalities of sorting out mobile phone data and useful information provided on how to access health care, what currency to bring and where to get a hot shower etc.
What I loved the most was the availability of the TRU director Leslie Weighill and her passion and commitment to Uganda. She is real and incredibly experienced. I would recommend The Real Uganda without hesitation and cannot think of one negative aspect of my experience in relation to her care.
Even when I had a mishap with the public transport system out there, she made herself available and provided useful advice.
It is evident that Leslie chooses her her host families with care. Mine were amazing. Like Leslie, they were passionate about community and cultural empowerment. They were a tight family unit and in no time I felt I belonged. I enjoyed my reasonings and eating their great food all organically grown. Actually I would come back for the food alone if I am brutally honest.
The culmination of my experience with TRU has left me feeling refreshed and motivated. I also have a vision and one that embraces the "Ubuntu" ethic that Leslie talked about during my visit. Although my currebt work in the UK restricts the length of time I can volunteer, I would love to repeat the experience with The Real Uganda again.
Program: Community Empowerment in Uganda