Walking in the rain

 

One day on the mountain, as I was sitting on the porch of a camping site it started to rain. I was there handing out leaflets to tourists ( who had come to see the remaining mountain gorillas at Bwindi National Park)  about the newly created organization Rescue Africa. As the rain didn’t stop I decided to go to the organizations little shop to see if the children of the community I am staying at were still there. When I got there they were packing up and getting ready to head back home. The rain was in no way an obstacle to them. The walking distance was 3,5km, something that these children do every day in order to go to work or to school.  Everyone at the community has a different job e.g. cooking, cleaning, selling handmade souvenirs etc.  Their ages vary from 4 to 20 years old.

When I arrived at the shop, I saw Joseph (6 years old), Wilbert (10 years old), Isaiah (12 years old) and Fiona (18 years old) who is in charge of the shop.  I gave Joseph some cookies leftover from my breakfast.  He immediately shared them with the others and then ate his.  As we were heading home it was still raining but they had no problem continuing without umbrellas or anoraks.  Only Wilbert had a bag to cover his head .  We chatted about their day on the way.  In broken English Fiona asked if I wanted to borrow her coat as I was wearing shorts and t-shirt.  I said I didn’t need it and the others laughed at me because they could see a  ”mzungu” getting wet like them.  As we continued there was thunder and lightning , the scenery was magical.  On the way the 5 of us became 8 as we were joined by the rest of the community kids. 

 

During my last few days this became my daily walk.  I didn’t use my bike but walked as everyone else in the village did.  I ate whatever they ate.  Most days they eat the same food for breakfast lunch and dinner and that doesn’t bother me.  The short time I stay  here is an experience but for these children it’s their life so I am trying to fit in as best as I can.   Life for these people is not easy. Finding food and staying healthy is a daily struggle. 

 

 

 

The goal of the organization “Rescue Africa” is to strengthen and help all Africans who are struggling and especially in Bwindi. 

In the village Buhoma where “Rescue Africa” is taking its first steps, the residents have the ability to get in touch with the organization to ask for help. The people in the house where I was staying varied from mothers with infants who find it difficult to survive, loads of children under the age of 18 whose parents are unable to pay for schooling, orphans, to adults who through the organization learn different skills which will help them stand on their own feet. 

 

 

 

There are 9 different programmes running and they all have a mutual target which is to upgrade the quality of African life. 

They are as follows:

  • Rescue Agriculture

This programme  teaches children how to grow things at school so that when they leave, they will be self sufficient. Whatever is grown is consumed by the school children.

  • Batwa Development Trails

The Batwa community has lived for centuries in the tropical forests of Bwindi.  They have lived in harmony with nature and haven’t been influenced by modern civilization.  They hunt and use raw materials  from the forest for the construction of shelters without affecting the balance of nature.  In 1991, Pygmies were expelled from Bwindi forests when it was annexed by the National Bwindi Park.  They had to completely change their way of life and adapt to the community which was very hard for them.  They still struggle to survive.  They have no income apart from tourism and whatever income they have is used to educate their children, health care and buying land so as not to have the same problem as in the past.  The main goal of this programme is to build accommodation , buy land, help educate  and anything to help with their survival.

  • Orphans Rescue

The goal of this organization is to create and develop infrastructure for the orphans.

  • Community Health Programme

This programme  provides  aid for health care that is needed for the members of the community.  When they have enough funds, they will build a health centre so that the residents have free access to health care.

  • Bwindi Heritage Highschool

The goal is to help the students with basic knowledge in how to survive after leaving school

  • Grand Haven Baby Care

This school hosts orphans and poor children.  It’s goal is to stop children begging and provide them with shelter and education

  • Community Skills Rescue

A programme  that gives the ability to the members of the community to train in a wide range of activities  that will help them stand on their own two feet.

  • Bwindi Nature Walking Safaris

Because the National Bwindi Park is a tourist attraction this programme gives the ability for tourists  to gain new experiences through the activities they organize.  The income of this programme is for the maintenance  of the other programmes

  • Cultural Heritage Experience

This programme also applies to tourists with activities  that give you the ability to see the traditional African way of life from the past to the present.  This programme has a series of activity .  The income of this programme  is for the upgrade of their lives and their education.

 

 

 

The days I was there as a volunteer, I had different activities during the day.  Some days I was working on the land cultivating vegetables, other days I would go to the expensive accommodations of the area to let tourists know about the organization and  to promote their activities.  I also helped to organize the souvenir shop.  The housework was endless so when I was there I always had something to do.  When I was a volunteer at Rescue Africa schools were closed for the summer, so my school activities were limited, although we did build new toilets for the schools were everyone helped including the kids.

 

 

During my days here I learned different things. Like how to make traditional baskets for tourists and how to cook traditional African meals. If there is anyone that would want to help in any way they  can either contact me or can visit the website below for more information.

www.rescue Africa.co

Also if there is anybody interested in the handmade baskets that the women of the community make ,contact me and if there is an order big enough they will be sent to Greece.

                                

          
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