The final few days that the FIR17 Glasgow team spent in Africa were surprisingly in Uganda, accompanying a group of Year 4 Architecture students from the University of Rwanda on an educational field trip. As one of their project requirements in order to complete the year, these students need to visit another country and frame their project around the architectural differences they observe between this country and Rwanda. For us, this was both interesting from an academic perspective, a new cultural experience and a way for us to have a short holiday to round off the project.
Our first stop was Kabale and Lake Bunyonyi. The lake is believed to be the second deepest in Africa, and contains 29 islands, including the famous “Punishment Island” recently featured on the BBC (article here). We stayed in a lovely resort overlooking the lake, and took a boat ride around some of the islands, taking in the beautiful scenery and enjoying the cooler weather!
The second destination was Mbarara Town, near Lake Mburo National Park. We took a day trip around the safari, managing to see all sorts of animals – giraffes, hippos, impala, warthogs and zebras, to name a few!
One handy aspect of this short trip was that here we were able to purchase and pick up the AFRIpads, for which we had held a fundraiser during the time leading up to our trip. A Deluxe Kit costs ~£4, which meant we were able to purchase 180 from the raised funds. As the company is based in Uganda, doing all the transactions and shipping within Uganda saved us a lot of time and money, and ensured we would receive the kits before we left Africa.
Although our initial plan for the AFRIpad kits was to distribute them ourselves, we realised that they were most needed in areas that were far from the city. Consulting with our Rwandan team, it was clear that this was a good job for them to do without us. We already decided that it would be inappropriate for the Glasgow team to be going to villages, as we felt that the novelty of a visit from foreigners may overshadow the content of the workshops and the meaning behind the project. Therefore, we are happy to leave our AFRIpads behind and allow the FutureYou group to take care of the distribution efforts. We know our Rwandan girls are passionate about taking this project outside Kigali, therefore have no doubt that we will see great things coming from their club in the coming months.