We got straight back in to work after our midterm weekend away, as there was plenty still to do, and just less than four weeks left to make a difference!
It’s interesting how you can get such new and different information from the client halfway through the placement! In week 5, after speaking at length to our business owner, we managed to get a completely different perspective on the future of the business from the one we had previously. Our typically entrepreneurial client has spent so long focusing on the long-term dream of running a recycling centre here in Uganda, that he talks about it so immediately, and had convinced us of its immediacy too. In actual fact, it is going to be many more years before the processing plant is up and running, if it even goes ahead. So this week we changed our initial plans: now we will lay out a Business Action Plan for the next five years, which will help him achieve his goals more quickly and more smoothly.
We also visited the printing centre in town (crazy hive of paper-based activity), and got some advice from a graphic designer on our promotional material design. He advised us to redesign some aspects of our leaflet, as in general middle-class people (our target market) would not read so many words. Instead they focus on pictures, which are more attention-grabbing and informative. For her client’s honey business, one of my colleagues, Gwenno, has commissioned an illustrator friend to draw a comic strip explaining the story of the honey production process. It’s a really lovely marketing touch, and a great example of thinking outside the box and using your networks.
Finally this week, the inevitable happened and our first volunteer, Kate, has been struck with malaria! She’s recovering just fine now, after prompt attention at the clinic.
Weekend – Another Hope orphanage
After a speedy team meeting at Nob View Hotel, some of us girls had a salon afternoon, and are now sporting pink cornrows on one side of our heads (looks better than it sounds, honest…)
Sunday was an amazing day and will remain a programme highlight for many of us. We visited Another Hope orphanage in Wakiso, to spend the day with the children there and give some of our time to a community cause. We had all of the children paint a white t-shirt to keep for themselves, and later some of the older kids performed songs and a short drama for us.
This week we have been working on the Business Action Plan and promotional material redesign. A huge challenge has been that we haven’t been able to spend any time with our business owner, due to his other commitments. This means that things have been moving really slowly, as we’ve not been able to get feedback from him to move forward.
Otherwise, I really enjoyed visiting Naira’s sister’s restaurant in town one lunch break, and have cooked for my host family. Thinking of ever-inventive carbohydrate-based food to make in a frying pan which they won’t have seen before, I went for potato rosti and Spanish omelette. We also said goodbye to one of our British volunteers, Magique, and welcomed a new Regional Programme Manager on board, Nadina.
Weekend – International Uganda Marathon
The weekend saw another programme highlight for us as we headed back to Masaka for the International Uganda Marathon! On Sunday 24th, many bleary-eyed volunteers arose at 4:30am for their voluntary stewarding activities. They were positioned around the course and helped direct runners, hand out water, and control traffic. Eight of us took part in the 10km run, 3 Ugandans and 5 Brits, including yours truly! I can proudly say that we all did amazingly…especially Gwenno, who was the female winner of the 10km, and first international runner to cross the line!
We all enjoyed basking in the sunshine after our hard work that morning. The race was so much fun and the atmosphere in Masaka was buzzing. In the evening we went to the Athlete’s Village to receive our medals from the organisers.
All of the proceeds from the event go to fund 9 local projects, which are being sustained by these donations for at least another year. If you’d like to sponsor our and donate to some great causes, please follow this link: http://www.inspiredescapes.com/fundraising/challenges-world-wide
If you feel like you missed out on something great, don’t worry as registration for next year’s event is already open, and the marathon hopes to continue running (pun intended) for many years to come!