The Uplands Community College Blog from young volunteers Finn and Max (who did the most!)

We woke to a breakfast of toast and cereal and prepared ourselves for the day ahead involving lots of hard work. The groups split into 1+3 and 2+4 and we set off. Whether it was 3 hours of ‘hoeing’ the field or throwing bricks to build toilets we were left feeling exhausted but satisfied at our work.

In this time groups 1+3 had cleared a whole pile of bricks by throwing them to each other, making sure not to crush someone’s foot, and watching Alice slowly improve her throwing giving her the title ‘most improved’. It truly showed the power of teamwork.

Meanwhile groups 2+4 had covered a field now ready to grow crops while making friends with the chickens, even naming one Cluck Norris.

We headed back covered in sweat and some of us giving out an orange glow like a bad fake tan from the brick dust. After several showers and a refreshing soup lunch it was time to brainstorm for our development challenge while others visited the school for their literacy lesson, which involved story-telling and teaching the kids.

The literacy session involved a story about fairness, discussions on what is fair- some of their responses were incredibly well thought out and we were all very impressed. They also did weighing and measuring and some vocabulary practice. We finished the session with taking a Polaroid photo of each of the children we worked with- they absolutely loved these and were very proud to take these away at the end of the session.

The day was still not over as by 2:30 we were being taught how to drum and dance with the Ugandan dancing providing lots of funny moments including Ollie and Max’s dance off (ending in a draw if you’re interested despite both claiming to be the best wigglers). The other half were basket weaving proving difficult for the less crafty of us who were left with very uneven small baskets.

This day had still more drama to come as after dinner we were treated to the songs and dance of both the primary school and groups from the village. The singing and traditional dancing was very impressive causing us to give massive rounds of applause after each performance. However, the night truly ended on a high when one of the dancers gave Jack a cheeky wink and gestured for him to join him. Jack leapt at the opportunity nearly face planting to the ground as he ran over our seats. An animal skin dress like clothing was tied round his waist and Jack was away. One by one and soon everybody was taken onto the ‘dance floor’ and Uplands students showed their attempt at the African dancing. Even if our technique may not have been perfect you could not fault our enthusiasm perhaps inspired by the initial energy from Jack. 10 minutes later and almost collapsing to the ground we were led back to our seats. An exciting end to a jam packed day.

We drifted back to our rooms with the comforting reminder that breakfast was an hour later the next morning. We were told that there was a lunar eclipse at 10:30 however when the time came the most we could see was a slightly orange tinted sky. Miss Leader sent us back to our rooms disappointed but still smiling as nothing could change what a great day it had been.

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