Bideford family return from life-changing trip to Uganda
The Robinson family felt inspired by the resilience of the young people they met on their three-month trip.
A REMARKABLE family have returned from a life-changing trip to Uganda where they worked with vulnerable young people overcoming traumatic experiences.
In February, the Gazette told how Guy and Jill Robinson and their three young sons Samuel, 11, Ben, nine and Noah, seven, would be living on Kira Farm for three months.
The centre, run by Barnstaple charity Amigos, works with young people who have been orphaned, abducted, forced into violence, become sex slaves or forced to leave school to gain valuable vocational skills.
Guy, an AA patrolman, spent his time teaching the students how to work on two motorbikes he purchased for the farm.
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“The first lesson I took every single student was there; they were all so eager to learn,” said Guy.
“One of the bikes we bought wasn’t working, so we took it apart and had been attempting to put it back together.
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“The day before we left I was packing my things when Dennis, one of my students, rode the bike right up to the banda where we were staying.
“It was so rewarding to see he had taken on all I had taught him and had managed to fix the bike by himself.”
The lack of mechanical tools was one thing the family noticed about the country, and Guy has since bought several kits to send out to Kira Farm.
During their stay in the country, Jill, who is deaf, painted murals in the classrooms to help brighten the student’s education.
They also visited a school for disabled and deaf students, and were shocked to see the lack of facilities and help available.
The boys spent their interacting with the students, taking part in farming and lessons and learning about the way of life in Uganda, in between their home-schooling.
Noah said: “I spent a lot of time with Alfred, the guard, and he even helped me make a bow and arrow; my friends at home were all really jealous when I showed them.”
Ben added: “I was really surprised at how different life was out there. Every body lives in houses with tin roofs. It made me realise how lucky we are.”
But it was the resilience of the people out there that really stood out in Guy’s memory.
He said: “One of last year’s students, Christopher, has come back to work at the farm, but he has been through so much.
“His mother died in 2005 of AIDs and his father shortly after, and while we were out there his sister died too.
“When your parents die in Uganda, your uncle becomes your ‘father’ and takes on your father’s land and belongings.
“Christopher’s uncle sold all of the land that would have been his, and now he has nothing; it makes you realise the things you take for granted.”
The family now dream of returning to Uganda for a longer trip, to continue their missionary work.
Guy said: “We would love to go out there for a few years and set up something where we can really make a difference.”
For more information on Kira Farm and the work Amigos carries out in Uganda visit www.amigos.org.uk