Out of Africa: The story of inspirational Bideford family

12:00 01 February 2012

Samuel (left), Jill, Noah, Guy and Benjamin Robinson are excited to meet the children they sponsor in Uganda

Samuel (left), Jill, Noah, Guy and Benjamin Robinson are excited to meet the children they sponsor in Uganda

Archant

An AA mechanic and his deaf wife will be taking their three young sons out to Uganda for a ‘life changing experience’

A remarkable Bideford family will be relocating to Uganda for three months to carry out valuable work for a Barnstaple charity.

Guy and Jill Robinson and their three young sons Samuel, 10, Benjamin, nine, and Noah, seven, will be staying on Kira Farm, a training project for vulnerable young Ugandans run by Amigos Worldwide.

Guy, an AA patrolman, whose dream was always to use his skills as a missionary, said: “I don’t just want to go and paint a toilet block somewhere or nail two bits of wood together.

“I want to be able to pass on a skill or trade that is practical and these young people can make a living from.”

Kira Farm will be acquiring two second hand “boda-bodas,” motorbike taxis which are a popular form of public transport in Uganda, and Guy will teach the students mechanical skills to maintain them.

His wife Jill, who is deaf, is a keen artist and hopes to use her skills to brighten up Kira Farm by painting murals, as well as visiting a separate project for deaf children.

The students at Kira, who all come from poverty-stricken backgrounds, learn many vocational and life skills including farming, health and hygiene and catering.

Jill explained: “I want to paint murals on the classroom walls so that the students are constantly looking at them and learning. I hope they will learn more from these than they will from textbooks, which can sometimes not be respected.”

Guy said: “We are hoping this will be a life-changing experience for the boys, and that it will inspire them to come home and continue to help others.”

The boys’ headmistress Mrs Zoe Batten at St Helen’s School in Abbotsham has been extremely supportive of the trip, and hopes it will help the school develop links with Uganda.

The boys will be home-schooled by Jill in the mornings, and will be writing their diaries on a blog every week to stay in touch with their classmates.

The family will also meet the two children they sponsor through Amigos, and get involved with all aspects of life on Kira Farm.

Phil Pugsley, director of Amigos, is elated at the family’s involvement in the project. He said: “They are a remarkable family, and have supported the charity for years. Guy used to keep an ‘Amigos tin’ in his AA van and when he received tips on a job, he would donate them to the charity.”

The Robinson family will be flying to Uganda on Sunday. You can follow their trip on their blog: www.thefamilyrobinson.wordpress.com

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