Lily Shanagher

An African Adventure

In the summer, I had a spectacular and eye-opening experience when I went on a school expedition to Uganda.

We began our three-week trip in Kampala, the busy and bustling capital, where we worked as teachers in Sideview Education Centre, a school brimming with students aged from three to 16. I was assigned a class of approximately 40 students, to whom I taught subjects such as maths and English and also about my life in England. I developed a really close relationship with the children and it was emotional to say goodbye at the end of the week.

Lily (on the left) with friends

We then went on to tour around the south of Uganda, exploring the jungle and wilderness on a three-day hike through the Rwenzori Mountains (they separate Uganda from the Congo) and in the vast national parks such as the Queen Elizabeth National Park. In the parks, we went on fascinating safaris with brilliant guides. We were able to see a multitude of weird and wonderful animals, from lions that crossed the road right in front of us to a particularly cheeky baboon who jumped into our minibus and stole our cereal! Seeing untouched nature so close up was unforgettable and a rare opportunity for anyone.

The trip wasn’t very luxurious, and we did a lot of camping in jungles and mountains, faced with all kinds of bugs and beasts. There were some hard times, such as when our tent flooded in a freak tropical storm and we had to sleep outside with the mosquitoes and hippos, but overall the happy memories completely outweighed the bad ones. We mainly cooked for ourselves, which included a lot of jam sandwiches. Due to a series of very particular dietary requirements in our group, we were somewhat limited food wise, so our dinner times mainly involved rice and beans. A friend and I were the designated chefs for the trip, and everyone was always fed and happy come night-time.

We concluded our trip in the calm and wealthy airport city Entebbe, where we were treated to delicious restaurant meals and an array of interesting markets in which to buy souvenirs.

Throughout the trip, the locals we met were super-friendly, welcoming and chatty. They taught me their local languages and I developed close friendships with people of all ages, all of whom had wonderful stories to tell. A particularly memorable day was when we were camping on the top of a mountain and we played football with the local schoolchildren and teachers in the daytime. When night fell, we danced in a huge circle with the adults and they showed us their music and dances.

This amazing experience would not have been possible for me without the help of Peppard Educational Trust, who helped me out with some of the rather hefty payments and I would like to convey just how grateful I am that they enabled me to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

In conclusion, I had an amazing time that has made me realise how much I would like to travel around and discover more of Africa. And I seriously recommend it to anyone thinking about taking a similar trip: you will have the time of your life!

Lily Shanagher