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A Very Special Easter in Uganda

This isn’t going to be a long story, but I wanted to share it with you today, on Easter Sunday, a day I usually spend with my family. One particular year I was quite far away from home and I spent a special Easter in Uganda.

This a story of kindness.

Bujagali Falls Uganda Helen in Wonderlust

I was staying in the village of Bujagali Falls, on the outskirts of Jinja. I was just there for a few weeks, volunteering with a charity that I came across on my very first trip to Uganda in 2009 called Soft Power Education. It was around the time of the Royal Wedding and Easter so I took advantage of all the bank holidays so that I didn’t use up too many of my holiday days.

But, there’s something you should know about me – I don’t like being away from home on the holidays! Easter and Christmas are family time, so I was a little sad to be so far away.

Uganda

One afternoon after work, my friend Siobhan and I took a stroll through the village in the direction of the Soft Power Education Arts Centre, where each morning Kibii picked us up to take us to the local school we were painting. We walked along the dusty orange dirt roads, lined with green, leafy trees until we reached the office of another charity working in the area called the S.O.U.L. Foundation where another friend, Amanda, was the manager. Amanda had told us to pop in if we were passing, so we did.

S.O.U.L. Foundation Uganda

Outside the office was a small, school room. As Amanda was showing us around, children started to appear, curious to see what was going on.

Uganda

“Do you want to do a class while you are here?” Amanda asked.

Siobhan is a primary school teacher, and whilst I’m not a teacher, I used to be a qualified youth worker, so we were more than happy to take part. Siobhan did a maths class with some of the older children and I grabbed some art materials and made butterflies with the younger kids. It was one of the loveliest afternoons I’ve ever spent.

Uganda

Uganda

Uganda

After we’d finished, one of the kids, presented me with her butterfly. On the back it read ‘Thank you Helen, from your friend Abigel’ – I still have it.

Uganda

Abigel and her brother, Joseph asked if we would come and see their home. They took a hand each and led me down a grassy path towards the house. Lots of children followed, and as it turned out, many of them were from the same family. At the house, we were introduced to their mum, aunties and older sisters, Agnes, Brenda and Jessica. As we were leaving, they asked if we would like to come to lunch on the coming Sunday, Easter Sunday.

Uganda

I said I’d love to come, however afterwards I was a little apprehensive. I knew the family didn’t have a lot of money so I didn’t want to put them out, but Amanda was also going along, and after chatting about it we decided to each take a chicken.

Helen and Joseph in Uganda

Early on Easter Sunday morning, Siobhan and I met Joseph and his friend and headed through the village to a women’s chicken co-operative, also started by the S.O.U.L. Foundation to buy our chicken. I hadn’t really thought about the fact that the chicken would be alive when I bought it! Once purchased, we walked back to the village centre where we said bye to Joseph. He skipped off happily towards home, holding the chicken.

Helen and Joseph Uganda

Amanda and I arrived at the house promptly at 2pm. Everyone was there to greet us and they showed us inside. The house was basic with stone walls and a concrete floor and just a few rooms. There was a small couch, a chair and a coffee table with an embroidered cloth on. Amanda and I sat down. Bowls of food were put in front of us, chicken (sorry chicken), pork, potatoes, ugali, beans… there was so much food! I waited for everyone to tuck in. But no, the family had already eaten, this food was all for us. I wasn’t sure whether they had actually all eaten, or whether they had but had saved the best for us. But what I did know was that they had gone to a lot of effort to make us feel welcome.

Uganda

We were adopted by this wonderful family who went out of their way to welcome us, feed us and make sure that we had a nice Easter whilst we were far away from our own families. I’ve never forgotten that and I am still to this day, blown away by the kindness they showed me that day, and in the days afterwards.

Uganda

Each day we’d play with the younger ones on the way home from school. As I walked I’d often feel a little hand slip into mine and I knew it was Joseph before I even looked down. I became good friends with the older girls, and each day around sunset, my friend Kate and I would join them for a game of netball on the green overlooking the Nile, then sit around playing cards and talking about, well, usual girl stuff.

Uganda

Isn’t it funny how some of your best travel memories are sometimes the most ‘normal’ moments when you find yourself connecting with people, rather than that time you saw this big landmark or that big landmark. Making connections around the world has always been my favourite thing about travel.

Uganda

I hope to go back to Bujagali to visit my friends again someday soon. Until then, I will keep their kindness in my heart.

Have you ever been shown real kindness whilst you were travelling or been adopted by a family?

 

About Author

I'm a travel blogger and tour operator with a passion for Africa travel. I love the great outdoors, going on epic trips around the world and helping others travel!

16 Comments

  • Jo
    April 21, 2014 at 10:26 am

    The kindness of strangers! Love this story 🙂
    Jo recently posted…Hillsborough: 96 Victims, 25 Years and Still No JusticeMy Profile

    Reply
  • Helen
    April 21, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Thanks Jo! They were very kind, it was lovely!riting about it has made me miss them all immensely! I’ve found so many kind people on my travels! 🙂
    Helen recently posted…NEVER FORGET: Visiting the Rwanda Genocide Memorial in KigaliMy Profile

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  • Rachel of Hippie in Heels
    April 21, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Ugandans are still the kindest people I’ve ever met on all my travels combined! The people of that country were SOO welcoming to me! I’m glad you saw the same side and had an awesome Easter with them! I spent Christmas in Uganda and had lots of love from locals as well 🙂
    Rachel of Hippie in Heels recently posted…Everything You Need to Know: Traveling India By BusMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      April 21, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      So true! Africa often gets a bad rep, but I’ve generally found so much kindness wherever I’ve been. Only rarely have I come across anything different! Love Ugandan people! Glad you had a lovely Christmas there too! 🙂 I want to go back!!!!

      Reply
      • Joash Aswani
        March 27, 2016 at 5:01 pm

        Dear Hellen,

        Certainly a well spent Easter. Sometime ago last year I visited the Bujagali Falls. Unluckily with the dam construction we could’nt see the falls well. Then we had to visit the source of the Nile. Make it a point to visit it,
        Our organization also works in IN uGANDA. I will share our website and maybe one time plan our activities together.

        Regards,

        Joash.

        Reply
  • David of East African Trails
    April 22, 2014 at 8:18 am

    As a Ugandan, you have made me feel so delighted by your Easter experience you chose to share with the modest local community. The Ugandan people are by far some of the most kind & hospitable people, it is in the cultures where children are raised to be welcoming and respectable to visitors. Thanks for making this one of your most cherished Easter celebrations.

    Reply
    • Helen
      April 22, 2014 at 8:54 am

      Hi David! I’m so glad that I made you happy! The Ugandans that I became friends with on that trip were so lovely and kind. I felt so welcome! 🙂

      Reply
  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)
    April 22, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I love this story of sheer human kindness – it must have been such a moving experience 🙂
    Shikha (whywasteannualleave) recently posted…Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, ArgentinaMy Profile

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    • Helen
      April 22, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      Yes me too! They were really kind! I’ve met so many kind people on my travels. Especially in Africa. Can’t wait til I can get back and see them.Thanks so much for your comment Shikha!

      Reply
  • Mary Beth
    April 26, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    This is so sweet, Helen! I hope that you can go back to visit them one day too. 🙂

    Reply
    • Helen
      April 27, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Thanks Mary Beth! I hope I will! I am a sucker for returning to places so fingers crossed!!

      Reply
  • Advantage Safaris Uganda
    January 17, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Ugandans are very accommodative people ,this is a very good story portraying the positive side of our country. Thank you

    Reply
    • Helen
      January 17, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      I very much agree. Uganda is one of my favourite countries, and one of the reasons is for the lovely people. Thanks!

      Reply
  • Lisa Bunn
    March 27, 2016 at 11:27 am

    What a delightful read!

    Reply
    • Helen
      March 27, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Thank you Lisa Bunn! 🙂 xx

      Reply
    • Helen
      March 27, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Thank you Lisa Bunn! 🙂 xx

      Reply

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