Students’ Life-Changing Experiences With Uganda’s Acholi Tribe

Date: July 18th 2019

On 5th July 2019, a group of students from the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy travelled to Kampala, Uganda to help teach the children of the Acholi tribe, who were displaced from their homeland during the civil war.

The aim of the trip, the fourth “AfriDACA” trip organised by the Academy, is to improve educational outcomes and quality of life for those helped in Uganda, whilst giving our students the opportunity to experience a very different culture and challenge themselves to adapt to very new and different circumstances.

Before leaving the students, from the Academy’s sixth form, worked hard as a team to fundraise for the trip. They were supported by Year 7 colleagues who also helped with fundraising through their Team Academy sessions.

As well as teaching young children in the local school, the Darwen students visited the children’s homes and had the chance to talk to the community and see living conditions at first hand. Throughout the trip the party kept a blog of their experiences to share with friends, family and the Academy back home. As their time in Uganda came to an end they shared reflections on the 9 days, emphasising just what an impact the trip had. Here are just three of those comments:

Courtney: overall, I’d say coming to Uganda has been a life changing experience. I’ve learnt some huge life lessons and most importantly not to take the small things like a working toilet for granted. The things I’ve seen whilst being out here have changed my perspective on life. Seeing people much worse off than me has enabled me to open my eyes to things that I need to change within my lifestyle. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity to give knowledge and to teach the children in the Acholi quarter, as they will remember forever the time they were taught by mazungus (white person). This experience has been a truly unforgettable one, and one I will continue to talk about. I’m honoured to be part of the AfriDACA 2019

Fidelis: visiting Jaja’s house when we did the home visits was one of the most changing experiences of the trip. We’d spent 3 days teaching the children by this stage, but we had very little context as to the conditions they lived in and the lives their guardians led. When introduced to Jaja, I was amazed at the joy this woman felt for simply having us in her house, and the generosity she displayed when she gave us the bowls as a gift. Each of the bowls probably represented a day’s wage for this woman, and she gave us ours just to show her appreciation. In the van back to the accommodation I sat and reflected on what we had seen and decided that the bowl was probably the most valuable thing I owned.

Toni: this week has been packed with a variety of emotions. I have felt happy and sad, but most importantly I have felt welcomed. It’s almost as if I have found a home away from home. The Acholi Quarters, and all my experiences in Uganda, have made me feel grateful for all the small luxuries I have that I wouldn’t usually bat an eyelid at. Uganda, and in particular the spirit of the Acholi Quarters is something that I will never forget. I hope to come back in the near future, the people here are truly wonderful.

You can read the full blog and all of the students comments on their experiences here.

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