• Charity Ride Donations

  • Ride Start DateOctober 5, 2014
  • Twitter Updates

Uganda photos

So it’s taken  little while but I thought it was time to add  few of the photos that depict our time in Uganda. Understandably Watoto are not keen for photos of children to be posted online so they won’t show any close ups of the children we met. I hope they can give you a bit of a feel of the experience we had. I can’t wait to go again in 2017, perhaps you’ll join us?


All ready to set off!


The view from our guest house.


Living Hope.




My wheelbarrow of concrete ready for the path.


Hot work!


Everybody got stuck in!


Jess got stuck in!!


It’s coming together!


The first section complete!


Baby Watoto.


The house of our sponsered child!


Playing outside.


The team we built paths with!




The church at Suubi.


Looking towards the stage! What a view!


On the goat farm that provides the milk!






Mud huts on the way to safari.


The River Nile!




Buffalo on the African savannah!




We were able to get out with the giraffes!


More walking with giraffes!






African Sunrise!




A warthog.


Murchison Falls.


Murchison Falls.


Murchison Falls.


Cultural show that we went along to watch.


final day meal.


Final day meal.


Lake Victoria.


Just landed safely if a little bumpy!



Last full day!

I can’t believe we’re so close to the end of this trip, today being our last full day on Ugandan soil. We went around a variety of places today.

We began having been picked up at 10am by going to Watoto downtown church where we were able to watch on of the choirs rehearsing which was amazing. Steven had managed to arrange a group of children to sing happy birthday to Wendy which was a very emotional experience but nevertheless amazing. 

Next we popped in to Living Hope to meet the ladies who are working there and spend some time with them finding out about what they do. They are very skillful and make many gifts for the shop that is attached. We were able to buy some of the things they had been making.

After grabbing some lunch in a local eatery we went up to a craft market which consisted of lots of stalls all in together sell a huge variety of Ugandan goods. Each stall holder was very keen for us to go in to their stall and spend but we managed to do pretty well at getting the things we’d planned without overspending.

Following a lightning trip to the supermarket we came back to the guest house with an hour or two to spare before tea. So most of us went for a wander up the road to grab coffee from a local cafe and generally soak up the atmosphere.

This evening has been a mixture of devotional time, playing games and the inevitable packing! As I write this we are all packed and ready to head to the airport late morning. 

This will probably be my last post while in Uganda but once I’m home I will set about the 100s of photos I’ve taken and put up a few photo blogs. Thank you for all the prayers and support while we’ve been out here. I have had the most amazing time far greater than I ever could have imagined. I feel my life and attitude have changed for the better and I am completely driven to do all that I can to let people know that they are not forgotten. There are two overriding things that have been said to us and have inspired us. Firstly the many housemothers who said simply ‘thank you for loving us’ And then the Watoto village manager who said ‘thank you for showing us we’re not forgotten’ Simple words but hugely impactful on us. I’d love to tell you the highlights but there have been so many it’s impossible here without re writing each blog I’ve already written!

Day of rest!

Sunday morning gave us the opportunity to visit another of the churches in the Watoto group. We left on a 9am pick up and went out to the church. In looks it couldn’t be more different to last week. The church was on a huge piece of land with a variety of marquees. The large main marquee was where the service took place then there were a couple of children’s marquees for their work and then they were also offering free medical advice, treatment, vaccination etc to people who were unable to afford it. The place was packed with at least 100s of people as it had been at the earlier service which was finishing as we arrived and then also at the service that followed the one we went to. It was a great service with a great message about forgiveness! 3 of the 4 walls on the marquee were open too which allowed a real outdoors feel.

After church we headed in to town to grab some lunch which was very nice. I had some local fish which was caught in Lake Victoria and very tasty.

Following lunch we came back to the guest house for a couple of hours of chill out time before heading out again at 5pm to see a cultural show.

It’s difficult to know how to describe the show, there was some stunning drumming and amazing dancing. It was all compered by a funny guy who had lots of jokes and fun giving the performers time to change. It was incredibly long though. They performed all sorts of dances and drum routines from around the East Africa region and it was very high on tempo and energy but it did last for 4 hours!! They were truly amazing performers and kept incredibly in time with each other but we were struggling to concentrate by the end! 😉

All in all it was a good day experiencing some new things and we look forward to our last full day in Uganda tomorrow!

Back to Kampala.

Yet another early start today saw us getting up at 5:30am so we could get an early breakfast and get packed into the vehicles to catch the 7am ferry across the Nile. This allowed us enough time to drive around to the top of Murchison Falls and experience that end of it.

We pulled up and immediately we could hear the power of the water as it closed down to its 6-7m width! It was immense! The thundering of the water on the rocks and the spray it created was amazing. There were lots of viewing points which were able to wander around to get different angles of the falls, including one where the spray created an almost constant rainbow and another where you got refreshingly soaked by the spray which in the heat was very nice. I’d loved to have been able to hike down to the bottom too but sadly there wasn’t the time as we had to be out of the park by the same time we entered it (10:15am in our case) or face a $40 per person fine!! 

We made it out gladly and saw lots of baboons on the way sitting on the track. We also came across a vast number of police trainees all completing a 20 mile run as part of the training. There were literally 100s if not 1000s of them. It was quite amazing. We spent the time jollying them along and giving encouragement which they seemed to appreciate!

After we had left them behind we cracked on along the road to Kampala at a good speed, only slowing down once we reached the city where as usual the traffic was completely crazy finally arriving back at the guest house by mid afternoon!

A group of us decided to head out of the guest house to have a look at the local shops and spent a fun hour doing that and dropping in on a local coffee shop. It was nice to just explore places and see what was on offer.

The rest of the evening we spent at the guest house chatting and resting after a long day. I’m now looking forward to heading out to church in the morning and breakfast being at a relatively normal time!! 

Fulfilment of dreams

This morning began with a 5am shower and get ready so that we could be in reception by 5:45 to take an early morning game drive. We headed out in the dark and after picking up our guide, set off into the park! We were treated to an African sunrise along with some hyenas first of all.

Soon we were deep into the Savannah spotting various animals at distance and some up close including giraffes and elephants.

We were watching a huge herd of the jacksons Hartman when we noticed that they were spooked (not by us) and some were moving at speed being chased! We headed off the track to take a closer look and discovered a lioness and 5 cubs stalking them. We literally followed alongside them as they circled and watched. It was phenomenal to see. They didn’t make an attack while were there, lions choose their attacks very carefully to save energy, but the certainly wound up the hartman!! 

We left the group hiding in some bushes and moved on to find a lion and lioness laid in the grass a little way away just watching proceedings. They weren’t bothered by us at all and we approached to within a few feet. It was was an out of this world experience to be sitting on top of the front of our vehicle with lions just feet away. We got the occasional look and growl from them which made me feel a little precarious but mostly they watched the others.

After spending a good bit of time with the lions we then moved on to a watering hole at the edge of the Nile to find hippos!! We were able to get out and approach them to take photos. I can’t explain what it is like to walk across African savannah take pictures of amazing animals. 

Once we were all back in we headed back round seeing more giraffes and elephants as well as lots of birds and herds of buffalo. My words don’t do the trip justice, we were out for over 3 hours and it was the sort of stuff dreams are made of!

We returned to the lodge for breakfast and some time of relaxation before lunch mainly around the pool.

Following lunch we went down to the river and caught a 3 hour river cruise up to Murchison falls. Along the way we saw loads of hippo, a variety of birds, a few crocodiles and amazingly a couple of groups of elephants bathing!

We eventually reached the falls which were stunning! The river narrows significantly from at least several 10s of metres if not more down to 6 or 7 metres. This make for an exceptionally powerful waterfall. It was spectacular. After spending a while there the boat turned and took us back to our start point where we had food and continued with our nightly devotions that have been a significant part of our time in Uganda.

These two days have been amazing and have recooped our energy for our last couple of days in Kampala before returning home on Tuesday (arriving Wednesday). Once again we have an early 5:30am start in the morning so that we can take in the top of Murchison Falls on our journey back. We are really looking forward to being able to get back and to see and be a part of some more Watoto activities. 

Safari day 1

4:30am the alarm went off this morning which was early enough but not helped by a loud group of people arriving at the guest house at 2:30am!! We dressed, had some breakfast and were in the road by 6am heading through the streets of Kampala which were jammed with people, some from the night before, some from their early starts. 

We were soon through Kampala and heading into more rural areas on our journey to Murchison Falls National Park! It was a 6 hour journey that started with nice metalled roads but about halfway in became dirt roads where the dust at some points made the route and incoming traffic completely disappear! Along the way we spotted a few monkeys and baboons!! Finally we reached the River Nile and had to cross on a short ferry ride. The river is nothing short of spectacular! As we headed off the other side we spotted our first elephant! Soon after we arrive at our safari lodge, which is lovely! We grabbed some lunch and then had a couple of hours to chill out before the evening game drive.

We were treated in that time to a pretty amazing tropical thunder storm!! This cleared up just in time for our game drive. We headed out into the park with our guide on our open topped vehicle. It started fairly slowly with sightings of baboons, Ugandan cob and jacksons hartman (I think that’s what they were called). The rest of the drive was difficult to put into words as we saw giraffes, elephants, warthogs, lions and a whole heap of birds. We were within 10 metres of a group of feeding giraffes which was amazing. A little further up the road we were able to get out of the vehicles to follow a group of giraffes for giraffe selfies. This was unreal!! But 400 yards or so up the road (having got back in) we came across a male and female lion and again got within 10 metres of them. I can’t explain in words how amazing this was, sitting on top of the roof of our vehicle that close to lions in their natural environment. I have to say I jumped pretty sharpish back inside the vehicle when the lion eyeballed me and then went on to give a pretty ferocious roar! Shortly after this we found their cubs too, 5 of them playing like kittens!! Over the rest of the journey we saw lots more giraffes and a few more elephants as well as a plethora of hartmans, warthogs, buffalo, cob and lots of birds.
The whole thing was simply an incredible experience of the wildlife of Africa getting up close and personal with the most amazing animals all the while sitting on top of our vehicle with an African wind blowing in our hair! It was an immense privilege and outstanding experience that will stay with me forever.

Tomorrow we have a 5am get up so now I need to be getting my head down in preparation for an early morning game drive!

Another day, another house painted!

Today was another 8am pick up and heading back to Suubi village to paint another house picking up some extra meds for my leg on the way! We were all quite surprised to find that the 2 items on the prescription amounted to just 90p!! We made our regular trek through Kampala where the traffic and the driving really does have to be seen to be believed! There appear to be very few rules other than just go for it!! Eventually we made it out of the city and on our way to the village! The excitement of the children we pass in the more rural areas never ceases to amaze me! They wave like mad and occasionally chase the bus along the road laughing and shouting after us. Their lives are so basic and simple and yet they have great joy. We could learn an awful lot from them!

On arrival we went down to the house we were to be painting today and met the local workers. We began with devotions all together which is really great way to start and then we set about the painting! Jess and a couple of others went up to baby Watoto for part of the day to help with the babies and chat with the social worker there. This was great for them to be able to do as the paint that is used on the houses is really strong smelling and affected their asthma quite significantly. They were able to do some of the outside work though as it was much fresher in the open air. It’s really good to see the team serving Watoto in so many different ways and making a difference in all parts of the village!

In the midst of all the painting we also managed to visit the goat farm that they have. It was fascinating to hear about the breeding programmes and how they use the milk for the Watoto villages keeping them very self sufficient along with the produce from Lubbe Farm which we visited earlier on the trip.

In one of our breaks we played music from the Watoto CDs and very soon were surrounded by a number of the children who were singing and dancing along! It was great to see how much they enjoyed it with lots of laughter and smiles!

We dropped in at the village church which is a stunning building! It’s wall are glass all the way round in a large circle and the views are phenomenal. It’s a wonderful place to worship as you behold God’s creation in front of you!

By the end of the day we had painted the whole house which included all the internal walls, the window and door frames, all the doors and the cupboards which was a significant amount of coverage!! Sadly though this was our last visit to Suubi village for this trip. At the end of the day we toured around our sponsored children to say goodbye. It was lovely to see them one final time but very emotional to say goodbye to them. Their were lots of hugs and a few tears!

We then made the journey back via a Kampala supermarket to stock up on a few bit and pieces for our long journey tomorrow when we head at for a couple of days on safari. We all found that whilst we are looking forward to the safari we would actually have loved to have stayed in the villages. I think it’s probably a good thing though as we have worked very hard over the time we’ve been here as well as all the emotions that are being felt with everything we have seen. We need the couple of days to rest in preparation for the last couple of days with Watoto.

As breakfast is at 5am in the morning ready for a 6am pick up I am going to sign off for now. Hopefully there will be wifi at the safari lodge so I can continue the daily updates! You’ll find out tomorrow evening I guess! 🙂

Painting and a medical trip!!

Today began with an 8am pick up after breakfast to head off to the other Watoto village called Suubi. Today we were painting. As usual we arrived, following lots of waving by children along the roads, and met with the local workers. We all shared in a time of devotion and then dug into the plethora of painting equipment we’ve brought with us

We were painting one of the houses and all set about different areas with brushes and rollers! It was pretty hot work being inside and the paint was very strong smelling as it contains paraffin! We needed to make sure we took regular breaks to avoid headaches etc. It was really nice to be back in Suubi as a number of children came to visit during the day, some sponsored children and some children who were members of the choir that visited earlier in the year. In one of my breaks Steven our guide (who is a complete star) took me up to the medical centre due me having a rather swollen and red ankle following an insect bite. I now have lots of tablets to help it improve!! 

It was a really good day, we managed to paint all the walls in every room in the house as well as making a good start on the window and door frames. But as well as that being able to meet the variety of children that we did was great. Chloe even managed to meet with one of the social work team at Baby Watoto which she was very excited about!

We then returned to our guest house to shower and change for an appreciation dinner with Brian one of the Watoto church pastors and his wife Violet and Alex who leads the management team that oversees all the Watoto villages. We had a lovely meal and some great chats as well as celebrating Colin’s birthday with a cake. The Watoto guys spoke to us about what our visit means to them and thanked us for coming reminding us that the walkways we built would be walked by the leaders of the future! But one thing particularly stuck with me. While he was speaking Alex said that a visit like ours reminds them that they’re not forgotten! That will stick with me and drive me for the rest of my life, that so many people around the world think the are forgotten or are in danger of thinking that way. It was truly humbling to hear just what our visit means to the adults and the children who are involved in Watoto!

There is so much more I could tell about our visit but it would be virtually endless as we see so much on a daily basis that it is overwhelming on the senses and emotions!! I do know though that there are literally thousands of children living safe and secure, getting a good education, having their medical needs looked after and so so much more because of Watoto as well as the many women who have been helped by them too in the various projects. It’s mind blowing to think we are playing a part in all this and for one (and I’m pretty sure 12 others are too) am driven to do all that I can to further the amazing work of Watoto!

Tough but fun!

So today we were back to physical work!! At 8am we headed back to the village we were in on Friday continuing our path laying! We now make sure we carry extra food to give to children we encounter on the way. At the big junctions they will come up to the bus and ask for food. They were clamouring for some ritz biscuits today and literally stuffing them down as soon as they get them. It is incredibly difficult to watch as they are generally young children no older than Jessica and some of them carrying babies too. 

We arrived at the site at around half past nine where we spent some time with the local workers in devotion and then got to work. It was the same routine of mixing up the concrete and barrowing it down to be laid and smoothed in to a path! We made around 200 barrow loads moving it quite a distance to the path. This related to around 2 tonnes of cement plus sand, water and aggregate!! Therefore by the end of the day we were pretty tired but well satisfied the we had laid a decent amount of pathway. I have to say that the local guys were a fantastic bunch and made the hard work a lot of fun. There was a lot of laughter ringing out across the site. We also had the children from the village around us wanting to help with bits and pieces but also randomly simply holding hands or hugging us. But the most humbling part was the housemothers that passed by, each of them saying ‘thank you for what you are doing, thank you for loving us’. And that is the reason we made this trip to love people who really need to know that people love them. For them the fact that we have come far outweighs anything we do because it demonstrates to them our love. It was very moving to hear!

We were sad to leave today as it marked the end of our work with that village and probably the last time we’ll see the children and people we worked with but we left with a sense of having achieved something really important. The rest of our work will be in the other Kampala village, where our sponsored children live.

The journey back was an interesting experience to. Firstly a few of us needed to change up some money. Going to the shopping centre is different here. We were searched and scanned on entry, got the money and then carried on to a supermarket where we were searched and scanned again. I guess this is a result of the Kenya attack.

After having got the stuff we need we got back on the bus and headed towards the guest house. We had saved some of our sandwiches incase we came across any children who needed food. At one particular busy junction we had to set and wait for a while and children began to appear. They were so incredibly grateful for the small pieces of sandwich that we shared out putting huge smiles on their faces. It was particularly moving when one girl came up carrying a baby and when she got the sandwich she fed it to the baby along with a bottle of water we had given her. It was overwhelming to see so many kids so hungry and begging at the bus windows on an extremely busy junction. This is an everyday occurrence and is the tip of a huge iceberg with so many suffering in poverty living on less than a pound a day. 

We continue to do the best we can but knowing we can’t do everything inspires me to not let this go when we come home. Seeing, smelling and hearing this place up close is profoundly changing my life and I think also those who are here with me too.

Another amazing day!

After having breakfast we were picked up at 9:20am to go up to Watoto Church Downtown for one of their services. There are 4 on a Sunday attended by approximately 10000 people! It was a fantastic 2 hours of worship and teaching and we were all very moved by the whole thing. There was a real sense of freedom throughout the whole service.

Following the service we headed back up to village where our sponsored children live picking up an ice cream each on the way as it was a particularly hot one after some early rain.

We arrived in the village and were dropped off at the relevant places and were so blessed to share a traditional meal with the family. It was such a humbling experience to be mad so welcome and given so much. The food was fantastic comprising of rice, potatoes, plantain, matoke banana, peas done in a very Ugandan way, chapati, a chicken dish and a ground nut sauce. Martha was very proud to tell me that she had prepared the chicken. I think this will inspire Jessica in to learning some more cooking skills!! Hope so anyway! 🙂 Our children were really good and tried all the different foods on offer. We followed up with pineapple. 

After lunch we opened the gifts we had brought for that family and that led to a wonderful time of laughter and playing. Games ranged from ludo to skipping to football and the children had great time playing together too. The afternoon flew by and we were soon giving hugs and thanks and were sad to leave but glad that it had been such a good time. We’re working up in that village for a couple of days next week so hoping to be able to catch up a few more times before we leave!

Spending time with the people of Watoto is proving to be far more inspiring and humbling than I ever could have imagined. They have come from the most unbelievable of backgrounds and yet are some of the most loving, caring and joyful people I have ever met.

On the way home we continued to be moved by what we see. One little boy with no shoes approached our bus and asked for food. Sadly we didn’t have any and he sat on a post looking distraught. We called him over and gave him a bottle of water instead. He then went and sat beside the road and was picking up stones and pieces of dirt and eating them whilst drinking the water we’d given him. This is just one of the many children we see around who have nothing. It is so difficult not to be able to make more of a difference but we continue to do our best with what we have.

We then returned to the guest house for tea and a good rest before a working day tomorrow!

Thank you to all those of you who are praying for us. It is a life changing experience and I look forward to coming back and bringing some of the drive and passion that is being lodged firmly in my heart.