Jenny had been before, back in 2011 and we have photos and small reminders in our house, so I was prepared, or at least I thought so!
We arrived early on the Saturday evening and were soon surrounded by children and from thereon it never really changed. We stayed inside the Convent and were blessed with incredible hospitality throughout our stay. Of course, it’s basic (the power went down on Tuesday morning and didn’t return until Friday), but the love and care more than makes up for any small sacrifices.
We went to the Church across the road on Sunday and the joy of being with hundreds of others, was exhilarating. I’d explained to Sister Phina that I wanted to help with the older children and she took me at my word. Patrick, the P7 teacher, was brave enough to allow me to teach (mainly English & RE) for a few hours each day and that was an incredible experience.
The curriculum is very structured and while I loosely followed it, I also broke away. We learned some songs, we discussed life through question sessions and went into rhyme and jokes; there isn’t really time for things like this in their schedule, so they were often tough concepts for the kids to understand, but we got there.
Between July and August, a group of 6 boys visited the school with a big project in mind – to build a dormitory for the boys living in the school. Successful with their venture, two of the volunteers, George and Tobias, have written a thorough recap of their time at the school. There are many challenges to be faced in a venture such as this, and we commend them for their generosity towards the people of St Michaels School!
So much has improved at St Michael’s over the years thanks in no small part to the volunteers who have visited the school… They have each given so much of themselves, with tireless enthusiasm and multiple skills, making a significant difference to these children’s lives.
The age range has been huge from 16 – 71 years old! All volunteers live either in the convent or the visitors’ house (both at the school) during their visits. Reading their feedback they have all loved Uganda and St Michael’s – playing and supporting these engaging and loving children… Some volunteers have revisited – some continue supporting us back here in the UK. Thank you to each and everyone of you.
We have had some really dedicated and enthusiastic visitors this year. Thank you to all the volunteers who contributed so much to the development of the school.
Nick and Vicki Beach
Vicki a Trustee and her husband spent 2+weeks at the school in February. Much of their time was spent in meetings and undertaking evaluations of the many projects we support around the school and in the community. They were entertained by a Thanksgiving Day for Leavers – singing, dancing, a meal and speeches. St. Michael’s is now one of the best schools in the District and several local dignitaries attended the event.
Duration of stay: 16 Days
When: July 2012
Occupation in the UK: Teacher
“An amazing school run by amazing people. A real sense of community!”
The whole experience was amazing. At first it took me a while to adapt to the simple living of being in a developing country. However, the love and hospitality of the staff made this transition bearable and a fantastic experience. Continue Reading
Departure Thursday 6th Feb. 2014
Left home with 6 suitcases within which was only 1 sewing machine this time! Just the 2 of us this trip as Sue had to cancel at the last minute. The journey was easy and we arrived at Terminal 5 about 7.45 a.m. and after checking in and through security we had about 2 hours before our on time take off.
We landed early about 10pm local time and were collected by the Colonial Residence, then to bed. In the morning we met Paul (Dutch joint owner with his Ugandan wife Claire). Just chatting to him he told us he paid his gate keeper/ watchmen 160000 Ug. shillings per month plus food i.e. about £40 per month – a normal wage for this job, highly sought after.
My 10th visit to St. Michael’s, Uganda – August 2013
It is always hard to summarise my visits to Uganda in only a few words, for even though I have been going to the school for over ten years now, each visit is different.
This visit was made special as I travelled with a friend, Stuart Beech for the first week. It was his first visit to rural Uganda. Only being able to spend a week at the school, he was thrown into the deep end, but you would have thought he had been there a hundred times by the way that he slotted into the community straight away. See his post about his experience here.
Teacher Education – sharing and learning
My first visit to Uganda in March 2013 with Vicki, Marian Marlow & Matthew and Rosemary Devlin was a truly memorable experience which began as we flew in to Entebbe close to midnight, with dramatic flashes of lightning and driving rain clearly visible out of the plane windows! This was my first visit to an African country and I was looking forward to new and very different experiences and culture, including views of the countryside, unfamiliar sights, sounds and encounters with new faces and communities.
Some thoughts on Leaving St. Michaels after my stay – August 2013
Some great lessons have been learnt while visiting St Michaels’s Uganda! One that stands out the most and provides me with clarity is the purpose of life! It seems these wonderful people live life for each day and don’t worry about what’s in store for them tomorrow, let alone at the end of the week! I think this is one of the main factors to why I feel unhappy living in a city that is so sought after and desired! I’m constantly worrying about future events and trying to over plan and compare to others, rather than enjoying the moment and the fruits of life that it brings, hence not being satisfied! I have learnt that just being around people you care for does wonders for my mood and providing help and assistance satisfying my soul.
I recently had the privilege of visiting St Michaels School in Busembatia, Uganda. I had visited Africa before so was familiar with some aspects of African culture. This was my first visit to Uganda and I was immediately struck by the beauty of the country and the friendliness of the people. It is difficult to describe exactly what is so special about St Michaels School , it may be the commitment of the staff, it may be the warmest welcome from the pupils, equally it could be the good will which inhabits the school generally, whatever it is, it is catching! To be able to share in the life of the school, not just an observer, is a truly life changing experience and one which I recommend to anyone who wants that kind of experience. I shall return to St Michaels in the future to experience once more that wonderful friendship and community rarely found in our busy lives today. If you are considering becoming a supporter of, or volunteer for St Michaels, you will not be disappointed.