Holidays… this was our first thought when we arrived at our campground on the shores of Lake Bunyoni. It looked so peaceful, we almost felt like we had suddenly ended up in Ticino, the Italian part of Switzerland. We were looking forward to relaxing and having a swim in the lake after our “short” 6-hours drive and a stop in a village, waiting for our tyre to be repaired and having a Rolex (a chapati) with eggs) and Chicamado. We were offered an upgrade to have a cozy safari tent, who could say no to a proper bed after camping for so long? What do you mean two nights don’t qualify us as long campers? Rude! Joking aside, it was amazing to have a beautiful safari tent with a balcony overlooking the lake; we knew we would appreciate it even more after a our trek in the forest to find gorillas. We had no clue how long it would take us nor how hard the trail would be but we had the feeling this additional comfort would come handy after our trekking.
During our stay at the lake, we were able to rest a lot but also visit a school for needy and / or orphan children: Little Angels. This project allows orphan and needy children to have an education. With about 367 kids, this school was founded by Duncan, who had had the chance to be sponsored as a child by an English family and decided to pay it forward. We had the chance to meet a few children who were on a school break but living close by and we had a fantastic time, learning how they are being taught by their enthusiastic teacher, Catherine. Every child, trying to answer a question, was celebrated by his classmates with claps and a song “Marco, Marco, you are so special”. I would have definitely loved to have my tiny successes at school noticed and celebrated. Those kids were very cute; we spent a few hours singing and dancing together, having our hair braided, skipping rope, playing soccer and of course learning about the project itself.
The teachers and the project directors were putting so much effort, energy and enthusiasm into giving those kids an education, it was very inspiring. Every 6th child with high marks in Uganda will be given a scholarship to study. M and I had a long talk, this life has been giving us so much opportunities and chances, we felt it was the right time to give back. We were ready to sponsor our first child together. Say what?! Unable to decide which child we should sponsor, Duncan picked a little girl for us, raised by a single mother. Her name is Bronia and she is 7. She can still change her mind but at the time of writing, she would like to become a nurse. Her smile when she understood that she will have now sponsors, making her life easier and supporting her and her family was heartwarming. The yearly fee of $600 for Bronia will go towards the teaching team (10%) and the rest towards Bronia’s clothes, school supplies and food.
If you want to learn more about this project and help a Little Angel, check out their Facebook page: little angels Uganda. This project is special to our hearts because we met the team personally and believe that education can make a difference but there are many projects where you can get involved. Don’t be shy, there are many ways to give: volunteering, money, time. If you can change one life, you already made the world a better place at your own level.
Next: how our hearts were stolen by a family of Gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Happy trails and remember: Carpe Diem!