Monday, 30 August 2010

Billy's Ugandan Journal

Having now returned from Uganda, and having the experience of a lifetime, I have decided to gather my thoughts and stories and compile them for the readers of The Painter's Chronicle, but most importantly, the rest of the Great Generation Team. Keep logging on every Monday for the next 15 weeks as I take you through day-by-day the thrills and spills of one unforgettable trip...

Day 1 – Friday 16th July
Finally, after just under 12 months of fundraising, debate, planning and preparation the big day had finally arrived. We all met at Huddersfield Train Station around midday and it was at that point it really hit me that the next two weeks were going to be one great experience, and as I looked around I thought to myself what a great group of people to be experiencing it with. I knew just from the faces and the characters that the group had within it that we were going to become one close family that would be there for each other whether in times of sadness and challenges or times of banter and spontaneous comical moments. We were all sporting our extremely luminous yellow T-shirts, each with a number and nickname on the back, I think we stood out quite a bit to be honest! Several members of the group at this point were also getting slightly worried about exceeding their bag allowances, only to be made worse when Jez decided to surprise us all with several kilos of additional soap to take out too. This didn’t bother me in the slightest as I was rather smug about how much my bag weighed, you’ll find out later exactly how light it was.

We then said our goodbyes and farewells and boarded the train at 12.15pm to head to Manchester Airport. I think that this was the point where the true adrenaline and excitement really did kick in. There were moments of pauses and big grins on the faces of everyone and constant phrases of ‘I can’t wait’ and ‘I wonder what...’ The giddiness between the lads then rose to the next level when Patrick, in his ever observant mind set, spotted what turned out to be some peoples highlight of the trip (David Hyatt). Sky Sports pundit Chris Kamara was sat in the next coach to us, this sparked an immediate reaction and countless amounts of ‘Unbelievable Jeff’ muttered beneath our breaths. We’d all seen Chris Kamara, which was quite a shock and one we would remember, but for some people, namely David Hyatt (who else) a sighting wasn’t good enough and before we knew it he was stood in front of Kammy trying to make conversation, stuttering and clutching a piece of paper at the same time at this point we were all rolling our eyes and chuckling away at Hyatt’s attempt to impress. We could have carried on watching for the remainder of the journey and count the number of awkward silences between the two but it was the first day after all and I decided I couldn’t be quite that harsh just yet. I decided to bite the bullet and help the poor guy out and between the three of us we managed to get a rather interesting debate going about the recent World Cup and England’s performance. A really nice person and the same person we all know and love from Soccer Saturday. With this in mind and the sight of Hyatt nervously clutching a pen and paper, I thought I’d better ask for an autograph otherwise Hyatt would be kicking himself for 2 weeks in Uganda something none of us would be able to deal with. Kammy duly obliged and was even kind enough to have his photo taken with 17 people dressed in radiant yellow T-shirts, a brave man indeed. It’s just a shame that not everyone realised who we managed to meet, one female member of the group even thinking we’d met Lionel Richie!

'From Kamara, to Kampala'
We then went into the airport and had the dreaded bag weigh in. I was relatively impressed, most people’s were a respectable 15/16kgs, not quite as impressive as my 12kgs but we’ll say no more on that one. A quick mention for Louis though who narrowly came 2nd. However, the greatest shock of the trip yet was when Hannah placed her bag on the scales to have it weighed, 24kg! It was so heavy even the airport staff looked at each other in amazement. Perhaps she’d packed goodies for everyone...

We then went through to the departure lounge, checked the weather for Kampala and saw that it was heavy rain for the next 7 days, oh dear! There’s a surprise we weren’t hoping for, it’s going to be a wet two weeks. We then boarded the Turkish Airlines flight and were on our way to Istanbul...


  1. "However, the greatest shock of the trip yet was when Hannah placed her bag on the scales to have it weighed, 24kg! It was so heavy even the airport staff looked at each other in amazement. Perhaps she’d packed goodies for everyone..."

    To be fair I did add like loads of stuff; Tennis Racket, Tennis Balls, Two bags of soap, text books, a football, paper, pencils, clothes and toys... so yes I was bring goodoes for everyone :)