Bamboo - Uganda Volunteer Program
99% Rating
(7 Reviews)

Bamboo - Uganda Volunteer Program

Bamboo currently has opportunities aimed at providing primary and secondary education to needy children, and community outreach and counseling with our partner organization in Uganda. This provides an opportunity to experience Ugandan life first-hand while working to improve your host community.

Our partner works with a number of small community based organizations that provide counselling, care, and education for rural people and orphaned children. Perfect opportunity to experience Ugandan life first-hand while working to improve your host community.

This program starts on the 1st and 15th of each month year round and you can participate from 2 weeks to 3 months.

Locations
Africa » Uganda » Kampala
Africa » Uganda
Length
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
Language
English
Housing
Host Family
Starting Price
$0.00
Currency
USD

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    96%
  • Support
    99%
  • Fun
    89%
  • Value
    96%
  • Safety
    90%

Program Reviews (7)

Default avatar
Ross
Male
31 years old
Brisbane, Queensland
University of Queensland

Master Yourself

9/10

African people, especially Ugandan's are very welcoming and humble people. I was sitting in my room of the guest house on night getting ready for bed when the young woman/lady who did alot of the food preparation and washing came in asked if she could sing for me. She sat down and sang me a couple of songs, some from Bon Jovi and some Celine Dion. If was one of the most heart warming experiences I have every had. It must have taken alot of courage to do what she did and I am grateful that she did.

How can this program be improved?

The only thing that I could suggest is the preparation time for teaching at the primary school. Knowing what grade we were going to teach and when.

Default avatar
Kristen
Female
24 years old
Ontario, Canada
Wilfrid Laurier University

The Real Uganda- The Real Grassroots Experience

10/10

My time in Uganda was life changing. I have an overabundance of stories of my time in Uganda, and cannot talk about my time there enough. The Real Uganda is an amazing program that offers outstanding opportunities for both Ugandans and volunteers.

If you choose to let this experience continue it never really ends. I still keep in touch with the director of the project I worked at,Tony, through Whatsapp every week. I graduated two weeks after I left Uganda, in June, and I had let Tony know the date. He made the effort to call me while in one of the villages with the women's group I worked with, and the women sang me a cultural song in congratulations. It totally blew me away, although it didn't surprise me at all because that's just how amazing those people are. There was also one time when he was at home at the compound, where I also lived while there, and he put the kids that live there on the phone (which totally made me bawl my eyes out). It could barely be considered a conversation because of their limited English and my limited Luganda, but we just kept saying the same words over and over because we were so excited to speak to each other. For me, these two things totally reinforced everything about my experience and the relationships I formed there.

The director of The Real Uganda was a source of endless knowledge and helpful information for me. She provided me with fantastic resources for planning tourist excursions on weekends, and helped me learn how to navigate and better understand the Ugandan culture. We discussed how to work from the ground up, and not be just another person with a "white Saviour complex". She helped me in a way that made this an optimal experience for me and the people I worked with. I could not be happier with my experience with The Real Uganda, and I cannot wait to be back- I am already planning my next trip.

How can this program be improved?

The only thing I can think of to improve my experience would be for it to have been longer.

Default avatar
Sam
Male
42 years old
Adelaide, South Australia
University of South Australia

Amazing Experience and made a difference

10/10

I loved riding on the back of a boda boda (motor bike) through the sugar canes to the school I taught at in Kitoola. The school administrator was very helpful and welcoming.
People where very friendly I made so many great friends who I still keep in contact with.

How can this program be improved?

More cultural awareness before and during the experience.

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Hannah
Female
26 years old
Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh

Uganda 2015

10/10

As a young woman who'd thought she'd done it all, seen it all blah, blah, I was wholly unprepared for the emotional impact that those 3 months would have on me.

I remember getting off the plane at Entebbe, dazed and sweaty, I followed the crowd towards the visa department of the airport. Being scanned with a thermometer (as an ebola screening?-I'll never know!), having my hands sprayed with sanitiser and being told aggressively to look at the camera I hadn't even noticed. The fear of "Oh my God, what if my luggage isn't here?!" "What if I can't get a hold of Leslie?" At this point in time I was still under the impression that Leslie was a man. Mostly due to the way she spells her name! My mistake Leslie, sorry!

After wandering around like a lost sheep trying to find the driver who was picking me up, I got in the car and we headed to the backpacker's lodge. This was the scariest drive of my life. It was also my first real experience of Ugandan roadsense!

We'd headed down the main road and on to the dirt track, there was work being done on this road and lots of machinery had been left lying around (at the side of the massive ditch that had been dug)-Alas, the driver decides to brave it anyway. I didn't feel that I could say anything because I didn't know any better and honestly, as long as I lived, I didn't care how we made it there. All I wanted was a shower and a nap. As we were making our way along this half formed road in this beaten up old Toyota, the car is sliding further and further into the ditch with the lack of traction from the dust. Before I knew it he was driving on two wheels of the thing! [email protected] hanging on to the handle of the passenger side door for dear life and thinking "I've been in Uganda for less than 24 hours, don't let me die. My mother already thinks this was a bad idea".

We made it in the end. Doesn't mean I wasn't scared though! I will never forget it.

Overall, I would recommend TRU and GVN to anyone and everyone. Of every race, gender, age, sexuality, religion, you name it! Don't be afraid to get yourself out there. It can only bring positivity into your life. You will learn and you will teach. Sharing your knowledge, skills and wisdom with others will never be a bad thing.

How can this program be improved?

I wish i'd known that you have the option to postpone your trip! I couldn't really afford it! Being the stoic Scot that I am, I insisted I do it anyway.

Default avatar
Kelsey
Female
24 years old
Ontario, Canada

GVN Public Health Project in Uganda

10/10

I spent six weeks in Uganda volunteering with the Public Health Improvement project. I was based in Mukono and each week travelled out to different villages to participate in some public health initiatives.

The first village, Kitale, we visited a Primary School specifically for children who are orphans. We were working right in the classroom, and teaching the students about sex education, as well as sanitation. We spent hours playing in the field - I taught them how to play Frisbee, a popular Canadian game where you throw a disc through the air, and the kids ended up playing better than I did!

The second village, Bugadu, was one of my favorites. We visited local homes and took surveys on the knowledge villagers had regarding their own public health - birth control, family planning, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS awareness, healthy eating, water sanitation, etc. In this village, we spoke with a local group of women, who diligently work together to empower each other economically - by growing corn, as well as making beads to sell. During a meeting in this village which was being conducted in Luganda, which I did not understand, I spent four hours just playing with the kids. Laughing, and dancing. Throwing balls around and again, playing Frisbee. It was one of the high lights of my trip. Just the kids and I.

In Kasana, the third village, GVN's partner organization was just visiting for the first time. We did a lot of initial work by consulting with individuals who were extremely passionate about the welfare of their home. This trip was full of meetings. By the time we were set to leave, we had plans to set up a water sanitation system, because the villagers were fetching their water from a mud hole as well as the Nile, neither of which are clean water sources.

There was one week that we stayed based in Mukono. During this week, we went to local high school and told them about GVN's partner organization, which hopes to be a public health leader within their school and community.

I loved being in Uganda. The GVN partner and her team were incredible, and I have kept in touch with all of them. Weekends were for free time, and there was tons of things to do in the surrounding areas of Kampala, Mukono, and Jinja, as well as the options of travelling to Northern or Western Uganda.

I've had a once in a lifetime experience, and I have plans to go back some day.

How can this program be improved?

Everything runs on Uganda time, which can be anywhere from fifteen minutes late to a day late. It is very frustrating when in Canada, it is a level of respect to be on time. In this case, you need to prepare for all of the downtime. Bring word puzzles. Bring books. Talk to people. This is a cultural issue, not a program issue.

Default avatar
Ellen
Female
42 years old
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
University of Winnipeg

Orphnage in Golomolo village

10/10

I spent two weeks in Golomolo village volunteering with an orphanage. My volunteering includes classroom teaching, teaching kids new games, community outreach, grade six and seven girls group sharing circle, and other duties.

During my stay in Golomolo village my room was in close proximity to the girl's dormitory which brought enjoyment to hear the voices of four year old girls singing each night before they go to bed. This was a revisit in itself to my own childhood of singing and laughter. Several nights I managed to sleep for only five hours because I could not cease to listen to those beautful voices.

I am an African woman and was challenged by the Ugandan cooking techniques that was different from my own traditional cooking techniques.Cooking style, food type, all these were challenges for me, in addition to having minor food allergies.The Ugandan food that I enjoyed and could eat for all three meals in a day was Chapati. I really enjoyed it and since my return to Canada, I've craved chapati on several occassions and longing for the moment where I can have it again.

On my way to Golomolo village, the discomfort was a bit extreme for my back not to mention others. The road condition was severe, the infrastructure was poor. I was not totally shocked, I was experiencing the reality of most less developed countries governance. Too many cars without adequate roads to accommodate them, though I must say that the Ugandans were expert drivers but I did not have the courage to drive there. My two weeks in Golomolo was an amazing experience, meeting with new amazing peope, learning processes and life encouragement. Anyone interested in grassroot development; Golomolo village is an ideal and a match for you!

How can this program be improved?

More volunteers are needed for long term specfically Nurses, Social Workers Psychologist, and Dietician

Response from Bamboo

Thanks for your feedback - we appreciate your input on the need for experienced staff. We hope to have outreach from our public health volunteers to various placements, including Golomolo.

Default avatar
Cristina
Female
42 years old
Rochester, NY

Uganda changed my life

10/10

I volunteered in Uganda with GVN's local partner organization and taught in the Children's Village.
I stayed with the family of the man who created the program, Valance. Valance and his wife, Doreen, made my stay very welcoming and comfortable. Doreen is an incredibly sweet woman with a big heart and cooks amazing food! The local food was good, not overly seasoned and high in dense carbs.
The people in Uganda were all very friendly and warm, and full of smiles. The children LOVE you! As soon as they see you they want all your attention! I felt kind of like a celebrity. ha ha
You take your life in your hands every time you get in a taxi or on a boda-boda (motorcycle that takes passengers). The boda experience is fun, but sometimes a bit scary. Taxi drivers are crazy and I recommend you sit towards the middle or back. You don't want to see them drive! Also, they will try to overcharge you so make sure you know what the price of the taxi or boda ride is before you get on, and negotiate the price before hand.
While I went through GVN, they put me in contact with Leslie who runs their partner NGO. She then placed me with Valance and his NGO. Leslie is a wonderful woman who really helped me out when I decided to come to Uganda. She was willing to answer any question I had no matter how silly it sounded, and she never made me feel silly for asking it. She was very welcoming and happy to have me there.
The school I worked with was great! The children didn't speak much English as they were learning it there in school. But the teachers would translate what I said to them during class time so we were all understood. The teachers were very supportive. My favorite teacher was Madam Sara who taught the Kindergarten. I could see that the children really enjoyed her class and were learning a lot! She understood that the little ones have short attention spans, and she would have them sing and dance and have a 5 minute break to run outside. She loved having volunteers come in and teach new things. She is very smart and full of energy. She had to be since her class had 50 students!
On my last day at the school I couldn't hold back and ended up crying as I said my good-byes. It practically broke my heart to leave them! We are told as volunteers, not to cry in front of the children because they will think it's their fault that you are crying. And I tried so hard to hold it in, but I couldn't do it! I was so overwhelmed with emotions that I cried for almost 20 minutes as I left the school and headed back to the taxi stop.

My volunteer experience in Uganda lasted one month. I spent the first 2 weeks feeling like I was on an adventurous vacation. In the 3rd week, the culture shock of it all finally hit and I realized I wasn't on vacation and I wanted to go home. By the end of the 3rd week and beginning of my last week, I was ready to move to Uganda. It was a very sad day when I left.
I have since been back to visit once, and plan on going back again! Uganda will forever hold a piece of my heart, and my experience is one I will never forget. I know I made a difference with some of those kids, but most importantly, that experience made a difference in me.

About The Provider

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Bamboo is the next step in independent volunteering and adventure travel.

We're dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what responsible tourism is all about. Our dedicated team, consisting of the perfect mix of international travellers and passionate locals, know exactly how to ensure that both

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