January 30th, 2023

Eltham College – A Trip to Uganda, by Nabila

Hi everyone,

My name’s Nabila, and this time around 4 years ago now, I was sat in a presentation much like this, about to make an amazing decision just as you all have the option to.

I decided to embark on a once in a lifetime opportunity and before I left for the trip, I was of course apprehensive. I was about to travel to a part of the world I had never been to, and although I had some nerves, I was excited to immerse myself in a different culture and really get involved in the wonderful work that International Needs do. A lot of preparation was involved, and we really were given a good understanding of what our purpose was when we got to Uganda.

Eltham College students helping to dig the ground for a new girls dorm in Uganda

In July 2018 I travelled to Buikwe, a village in Uganda accompanied by my friends, teachers, and International Needs. Without a doubt it was one of the most incredible, enriching trips I think that I will ever be lucky enough to go on. After a long, but exciting journey to Uganda we arrived at the guesthouse and from the moment we were there, we felt completely welcomed into the community. From day 1 we were learning new things whether it was helping to build water resources in rural villages, attending church services, playing netball with the children at the local school or trying some of Uganda’s famous dishes. We had a lady called Irene cook for us in the guesthouse and honestly her food was quite phenomenal!

Group photo of Eltham College students

You will experience so much on this trip and getting to take part in the work that international needs do is truly inspiring, and you feel like you are actively making a difference to people’s lives. Throughout the trip you meet families and visit different schools and villages in the area, we were fortunate enough to join one of their lessons which was a great experience. One of my most poignant memories was helping to fill up buckets of water for people in the village and their families. It was devastating to hear the risks that these children, particularly girls face on this essential trip, yet they were grinning from ear to ear, giggling as us 16–17-year-olds struggled with the litres that they carry without complaints. But it showed the reality of life for some children in Uganda and really highlighted why trips such as these are important.

Students playing sports with young people from the local school

Upon my return back home, I took away a lot from this trip. The memories I made will last a lifetime, and I often discuss my time in Uganda with my peers that went with me as well as many others. There was a lot of fun and laughter, equally, there was moments that made me become more reflective on our privileges and what more should be done to help others who are facing the challenges of those faced in Buikwe. I have carried my experiences from Uganda into my adult life; I gained many valuable lessons, some of them include how important gratitude is and I realised how much we often overvalue materialistic items and get caught in things that don’t matter in the long run. In Uganda you will realise the culture is centred around valuing one another, I gained a perspective I would never have gotten had I not joined this trip, and it really opened up my eyes to a different way of life.

Helping to fill up buckets of water for people in the village and their families

I want to end by saying that the link we have with Eltham College and Uganda is so important and it helps all of this wonderful work to happen that really helps and changes lives. I hope that as a school and within the community at Eltham we can continue to support international needs and I wish the best of luck to the group visiting this year.

Thank you all for listening.

Group photo!

Nabila, former Eltham College student who went on a GoGlobal to Uganda with International Needs