Water Hyacinth Student project.
Stories from Maikah & Naomi Gulu University-Uganda
Story of Maikah Bazil E.
Being in Kenya away from the hot sun of Gulu to the coldness and quietness of Egerton University was an experience to cherish. As a person who really loves wearing warm cloths something you don’t get the opportunity to do that much with the hot sun in Gulu.
The trip became exciting right from the long bus ride from Kampala to Nakura my very first crossing a border on a bus something different from the traditional airport protocol I am used. With the diversity in culture and uniqueness of every participant and the excitement in the mentors, it was the strangest two weeks of my life. I moved from a reserved person in the early days to building relationships and friendships that will probably last a lifetime something I am always excited about but not so greatly.
The three-days field trip in Kisumu and Homa bay was intense and something I never anticipated. I often saw myself tired halfway into the day but the great impact model of the groups visited, the smiles and enthusiasm on the faces of the men and women of Dala Rieko and Rambo groups could not have been any less of the kick I needed to crown the day with excitement for the next. A taste of a local dish of the fishing community of Kisumu was mouth-watering, I ate the biggest fish of my life.
Credit: Fahad Lutah
Far away from school, learning never stopped and experiencing competence-based learning and problem-based learning at its best form during the challenge makes me a strong believer in the impact and influence it has to revolutionize the academic system of most African institutions. An eye opener on the role each individual contributes to the global scale of change is something I could not ignore any further.
My greatest moments of the trip were the visit to Lord Egerton’s castle with the great team-building activity that bettered the relationships among participants. The walk through Lord Egerton’s story amazed me with the power of love and relating in a less romantic scenario on how with much love for humanity, the welfare of locals affected by water hyacinth can be a castle of success and sustainable well-being if only we care enough.
To sum up a long story short, returning back to Uganda and continuing to work remotely in the challenge will cement the connections and friendships acquired during the trip. It has been an experience of a lifetime and I look forward to eating Kisumu fish again.
Story of Oryem Naome Juliet
It was a wonderful fun-filled experience with a lot of amusement and light-hearted pleasure with new friends from different cultures bonding and coexisting together.
Due to the intensity of team building, connections and friendships which will last for a lifetime were built. The students from Egerton and HAMK Universities were friendly, kind and warm towards us and taught us a lot about their cultures and how they differ, as we taught them ours too. Of course the diversity in cultures was met with some shocks, but all these helped us get along well.
We had the pleasure of making compost manure from water hyacinth which was harvested from a nearby swamp. It showed us how much responsibility the community is willing to take when they are engaged from the beginning. They had the project at heart and even owned it because of the trust built through partnerships. We were also honored to visit some companies which were utilizing water hyacinth to produce goods such as animal feeds, bioethanol and biogas.
However, not the whole trip was about working on the student challenge. We visited the the famous and historical Lord Egerton Castle, taking a tour through the castle of one of Kenya’s most influential lords, who lived in the colonial era. We toured the castle and played a couple of interesting games including dodge ball, swinging, among others.
Our Finnish colleagues had a chance to visit Lake Nakuru national park riding through the park. We also had the honor of visiting Lake Victoria in Kenya during our free time in three day field visit to Homa Bay and Kisumu. We were elated to visit a number of stakeholders in the community, who gave insight into their culture and ways of living as well as the challenges they usually face in their day-to-day life.
To sum up, our field trip truly was a once in a lifetime adventure that we will cherish forever! We returned to Gulu with new friends, connections and a better understanding of our surrounding. These are the moments we will cherish forever! Thank you Egerton and HAMK student for making it worthwhile.