CoRSU (Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda) Hospital provides a hostel to give accommodation to patients who either live too far away to go home before their operation or for orthopaedic patients who need intensive and regular physiotherapy, making it more convenient for them to stay at the hospital. There are often lots of children staying there together but unfortunately there is very little for them to do within the hospital.
Along with my dad I managed to organise a few trips to the UWEC (Uganda Wildlife Education Centre) in Entebbe. We visited ahead of time to organise a discounted entrance rate as well as ensuring that there was an appropriate circuit for wheelchairs. Interface Uganda agreed to provide the necessary funding.
On the day we picked up the kids and their parents/ guardians in our minibus and a hospital vehicle, squashing as many as possible into seats because so many wanted to go.
It was a great success; the kids were so excited to be out of the hostel. It was the first time to see the animals for a lot of them, even the parents. We had to keep reminding one mother to pick up her son in a wheelchair because she was so excited at seeing the animals.
The chimps were very popular; everyone was fascinated by their human-like behaviour. During the first trip a member of staff came out, calling them each by name and throwing over fruits and treats for them.
Despite the beautiful animals, the highlight for many of the kids seemed to be the plate of chips and soda at the end. We sat in the restaurant with a beautiful view of the lake and tried to protect our food from the monkeys and afterwards everyone had a go in the playground, even if it just meant being placed on the merry-go-round and holding on for dear life!
During my penultimate year at school I was able to do three of these trips; they were a great success and Grace Kembabazi, the head of the hostel was always eager to do more.
We were able to do each trip – entrance and lunch for around 25 people – for £40 – £50.