Tuesday, by Paul and Rowan

As we awoke in Mityana this morning it dawned on the team that this was their last full day in Uganda. Two years of preparation, planning and delivery of AfriDACA 2017 was coming to an end. Being surrounded by the beautiful sights and sounds of rural Uganda, it is easy to believe that life is idyllic in Mityana, however as we travelled back to the main road we passed workers in the tea plantation that we had visited 2 days before. This brought back the realisation that life is hard for these communities as people undertake back-breaking work for a few shillings a day.

On our return to Kampala, the team visited a local craft market, where they had the opportunity to practice their bartering skills as they haggled for the best prices for their memories of Uganda.

Following a final visit to the shop, shop, shop we all returned to the sanctuary of John and Sophie’s. The team agreed it felt like we were returning home, and Sophie told us she had missed us and was eager to share her secret chicken recipe with some of the girls.

Before dinner we had a visit from Benson, who is the founder and trauma counsellor from the organisation ILA Uganda. He shared his own exceptionally painful and harrowing experiences with us about the atrocities of the Lords Resistance Army. He spoke in detail about the child soldiers and the fact that every single person of the Acholi tribe was affected in some way, no family or person was untouched and many still live with the scars of the actions that they witnessed or undertook themselves as part of the war.

Whilst many parts of Benson’s stories and experiences were difficult to hear, his pioneering work has allowed people to start to heal with the possibility of being resettled in their tribal homeland. As of tonight 76 people in 16 families have been successfully resettled back in the Gulu area, with many more families in the process.

The reality of the Acholi people is that up to 11,000 still live in extreme poverty in the Acholi Quarter, as an internally displaced community. Benson’s story touched the hearts of the whole team and many of us felt inspired to become involved in his work somehow in the future.

As we pack up on our final evening, we want to thank John and Sophie for their hospitality; and Stephen and Sam for keeping us safe as we travelled around Uganda. A thank you to Helen for her logistical coordination on the ground, and to Harriet and Miriam and the Acholi, who inspire hope in their communities every day, in some of the toughest conditions possible.

To the parents of all the students who have taken part in AfriDACA 2017, you should be exceptionally proud of all they have achieved in extremely challenging conditions in Uganda. We have had the pleasure of witnessing them grow in confidence and also shape the lives of the young people they engaged with over the last two weeks. There are many stories and experiences to share with you over the coming weeks.

Finally, A massive thank you to everyone who contributed in any way to the success of AfriDACA (Uganda) 2017.

We are coming home for a rest……

Paul and Rowan

PS from Helen – sorry, no photos today, but I would like to add in a ginormous thank you to Paul and Rowan for all the time, effort, support and self-less leadership that they have given to this project right from the start. Without them, this trip would never have happened, and they have quietly, tirelessly pushed it through and enabled 13 DACA young people, 80 Acholi youngsters, 22 Acholi ladies and many many more to have experiences that will leave long-lasting positive impacts in many ways.

So thank you Paul, thank you Rowan. It has been an honour to lead with you.



  1. To Paul, Rowan, Helen, John, Sophie, Stephen and Sam
    Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done to make this life transforming trip happen and keeping all our loved ones safe.

    Thank you also for all the hard work you do year on year to help and support the Acholi community, you are an incredible group of people and thank you for allowing my daughter Hannah and all her friends to be part in this life changing experience!
    Wishing you all a safe trip home, I cannot wait to hear all about your adventures. ❤

  2. Michelle and Graham Pedder

    Joel Pedder I can’t wait to see you on Thursday a big hug followed by a bacon butty then to listen to u recall some of the things you have seen in Uganda . Thankyou everyone for the blogs I have smiled cried and been overwhelmed by your words your all amazing. Thankyou to all involved for taking such care of our loved ones I’m sure you have encouraged them all to go forward and be the best they can and make themselves proud xxx

  3. Dear Paul, Roman, Helen, John, Sophie, Stephen and Sam.
    A big thank you from us for keeping everybody safe and giving Rebecca and her friends the chance of this fantastic opportunity. You are all AMAZING! Thank you for the blogs and the photos…so nice to know what you have been doing. Thank you! ⭐?

    Team AfriDACA. So proud of all you have achieved and you should be too. You are a fantastic group of young inspirational people. Memories will last a lifetime. Have a good trip home…big hugs waiting at the airport!♥

  4. Dear Paul, Roman, Helen, John, Sophie, Sam and Stephen,
    From a very proud Grandparent may I say many thanks for all your efforts during the last 10 days for enabling the team to enjoy such wonderful experiences and create so many memories. Also for keeping them all safe and motivated. Thanks also for the interesting and emotional blogs and the fantastic photos.
    AfriDACA team…..well done and have a good trip home. Big hug to Becci from GranJan and John and love to all.

  5. Looking forward to seeing you when you get home Becci? x Lots of love and hugs. Grandma xx

  6. Wow! Amazing reading, I am very emotional but happy and proud of you all! Thanks to all the people that made this happen and kept our children safe to enable them to have this great experience.
    Looking forward to seeing you Lewis at the airport and hear about your amazing times, not forgetting the rabbits.lol.
    Afridaca team, you should all be very proud of each other, you are an amazing team! Have a safe journey home! Thanks for all your great pictures and inspiring words about your thoughts on your experiences! Great to have read this story!
    Lots of love ❤️ Lewis, see you soon.
    Love Mum x

  7. A huge thank you to Paul, Roman, Helen, John, Sophie, Sam and Stephen for keeping our youngsters safe and for enabling them to experience this amazing journey. Memories that last a lifetime and a small piece of Africa that will always be in their hearts! To the whole team you are inspirational youngsters and you should be so proud. Sam and Tobryn can’t wait to see you tomorrow. Have a safe journey home love you loads xxx

  8. Rowan not Roman……predictive text!!

  9. I really don’t know how to explain how grateful I am to you all who have been involved in the Africa Team 2017. Eve has absolutely loved every minute of it and it really must have been life changing for you all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking Eve and looking after her for us all.
    Love and thanks to you all ?❤.

    • It was our absolute pleasure and she was a credit to all of her family and friends throughout the whole trip.
      Thank you for trusting us and allowing her to open her mind and heart to the Acholi Community.
      Paul and Rowan

  10. Michelle and Graham Pedder

    To all involved either in Uganda or England thankyou so much for looking after our loved ones. I know the experience has touched our children and made them see the world in a life changing way. They will go forward in life hopefully taking what they have learnt and use it in there chosen careers . I know Joel has enjoyed his experience and realised already that material things don’t make you happy what makes you happy is appreciating what you have and enjoy the life you have . From the bottom of our hearts thankyou xx

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