My time volunteering
I had never been on a plane, never been out of Europe. I was met at Entebbe Airport by the Headmaster of Kamuli College - Father Damian Grimes, a chain smoking eternally black clad Mill Hill Father. We drove in his old VW the 150 miles to the school..the last fifteen miles was along a dusty murum track. The school was gorgeously set along the banks of the Nile 50 mile North of Lake Victoria. Former cotton storage sheds made for class rooms. Resources like books were scarce.
There was another priest, Father Zonnerveldt, another VSO, David James, and for the rest the staff were Asian or African. Despite our ages, we were quickly absorbed into the staff team. I loved every minute of it.
The impact of my placement
Despite innocence and ignorance I feel I made a real contribution.
I can sing the Ugandan National Anthem (sung every day in those nine months to the raising of the national flag) to this day.
The impact my placement has had on me
It has informed and shaped my journalism ever since...once about a decade ago..I went back with a Satellite dish as part of a Channel 4 News from Africa series..and transmitted live from Namasagali..to enormous effect!