“It is the link between two schools in learning and friendship. That is the help that changes lives and not just the lives of those in Uganda but the lives of everyone who involves themselves in the link,” reflects Year 11 pupil George Sidnell on his visit to Uganda with 25 other pupils and 3 members of staff last July.
For several years PGS has been building links with Kikaaya College School (KCS) in Uganda, raising funds to complete building works and to aid with the running of the school. During the visit in July pupils spent time undertaking project work involving planting trees, plastering and painting classrooms – much of it funded by the very generous donations from the PGS community through events such as PGS Come Dancing earlier this year.
The pupils were also able to enjoy a cultural exchange of learning and performing songs and dances from both countries. Of particular poignance to many on the trip were the visits to families of KCS where pupils and staff were humbled by the hospitality shown to them. The opportunity to talk to children and adults about life in each other’s countries was eye-opening. Of particular fascination to our hosts was the thought of people in the UK having different wardrobes for summer and winter and also that some people in the UK do not believe in God.
Pupils and staff also had the opportunity to get very involved with lessons at KCS. All 3 PGS staff taught lessons to class sizes ranging from 12-90. Pupils were involved with helping to teach, as well as being taught by Ugandan teachers and working with the pupils from KCS on joint projects. Some Ugandan pupils travelled with the PGS group to Jinja to the disputed ‘Source of the River Nile’ – a part of their country that they had not had the opportunity to visit before, and others spent time eating and playing games with PGS pupils at their Guest House – time and experiences shared to build lifelong relationships.
“‘This trip was definitely the best two weeks of my life so far,” said Dodo Charles, Year 12. “We went out expecting to help and we returned having been helped in a different respect. I have made some really strong friendships and I hope that I will have the opportunity to spend time with them in the future. Our link with the school is strong, and we hope to heighten this, and to continue to help them learn, and to learn from them.”