Uganda Expedition

One of the team with local children

Tom Baker, MEng Hons Civil and Structural Engineering

This year's expedition was to small village called Kich'wamba. The village is situated right next to Queen Elizabeth National Park and the area relies heavily on agriculture (bananas). Last year's team renovated an AIDS clinic in the area, our aim was to provide accommodation for children who have been orphaned by the disease. The accommodation shelter is first part of a five phase plan to eventually create a children’s village.

The shelter is designed to house around twenty children and volunteers. It also contains a kitchen, living room, prayer room, toilets and a store room. The other phases of the plan will create more accommodation, workshops and stalls to sell crafts, permanent toilet facilities, water tanks and a large eating space.

Week 1 – we moved into the temporary orphanage in Kich’wamba, with a vibrant welcome from the live-in volunteers and children.  We surveyed both sites and drew up plans for the site. The next day was spent everyone out in the heat using hoes to clear the overgrown site ready for next week’s foundation digging.

Week 2 – our most challenging week, getting used to the heat and, along with a team of local builders, we spent a large part of the day pick-axing and shoveling to create trenches for the foundations.

Week 3 - the ill people were set to finalising the drawings and chasing up the bank, while the rest of the team worked on site.

Week 4/5/6 – the biggest news from this three week period was our money finally cleared. We were able to bulk buy materials for the site, pay our workers and creditors. Under the new foreman, we managed to get back on schedule.

The funding that the ncl+ foundation provided to the Wider Mbarara Project helped provide enough construction materials to build a permanent shelter for orphans in the wider Kich’wamba area. One child told us that he and the children no longer considered themselves orphans because now they could live as a family in their new home. The support the foundation gave us was invaluable in helping us to achieve our goal.