Lake Bunyonyi Community Project
Lake Bunyonyi community is situated in southern Uganda, close to the border with Rwanda, high up on the banks of a large and beautiful lake dotted with islands, some 2000 metres above sea level.
There is no mains electricity or water. No roads or cars. There is no hospital. There are no jobs. Those that do have work, walk to the closest town, Kabale, 8 kms away.
There is a council made up of village elders and an elected community leader, Edison, whom we deal with directly.
There is a community school, a basic building with four rooms, very few desks and chairs, and only a blackboard as equipment.
With around 6 % of the population of Uganda living with HIV, children are all too often left without parents. Around 150 orphaned children, who have most commonly lost parents through AIDS, attend the school. The four teachers only get paid when there is sufficient donations so invariably their work is voluntarily.
The project began when a former employee of Oasis Overland began helping the community after visiting the area around ten years ago, and since then the truck has been offering travelers the opportunity to visit the community, meet the children and learn about their way of life.
As visitors ourselves, we were treated to traditional songs and dances, a tour around the village and to the top of the hill to see the wonderful views, and cooked a lovely meal with the freshwater crayfish that are indigenous to the lake.
There was no pressure to make a donation, but after meeting the very enthusiastic Edison and learning about the difficulties they all face , a few pounds from our indulgent lives seemed trivial to us but meant so much to them.
I know we are all a bit fed up with covid but I thought it important to give a mention to how the community is coping.
Uganda itself seems to have been less affected than most countries, and for our friends at Lake Bunyonyi, the issues seem to be more to do with the global knock on effects which have manifested in much higher food prices, which, ultimately we can only help by sending funds to help them compensate, which we have been doing as much as we can.
We run 'pedalondreckly' as a charity but strive to pay all our travel and administration costs ourselves so that all the donations we receive go direct to the community.
The several hundred families survive by growing food all year round, every day digging or planting, keeping animals, making items such as baskets or mats to sell, anything they can do to bring in some money for essentials like clothes, medicine, food staples of rice,sugar and salt.
We are trying to get the balance right by giving meaningful help without bringing unwanted or unnecessary change. We believe that only by going there and spending time with the people and listening to them has it been possible to do this, also ensuring that the people who have donated can see for themselves how their money is helping.
For more detailed information please read the other pages.
It takes on average half an hour each way to collect water, kids often making the trip 3, 4, 5 times a day.
Secondary education has to be paid for in Uganda, hence many children end up not going to school due to lack of funds.
It costs around £250 per year to send a child to school.
We have already funded several children to attend school after matching them up with sponsors.
We took some balls with us for the children to play with but soon found that because they had never had one before they had to be shown what to do with it, even how to kick the ball properly!
We often found that some of the children end up working in quarries, breaking up stones into gravel with a hammer, for £2 per day.