Having visited Suubi Centre in January 2012, Loretta Grecko was inspired to return this year with a group of seven university development students from Australia. Izzy, Jay, Satoko, Ash, Aaron and Daniel joined Loretta to spend five days at Suubi as part of their three week tour of Kenya and Uganda.
There was much excitement in the village as the Aussie team held a variety of workshops which had been organised for a wide cross section of the community. Young children, youth and adults in the community all were able to find a workshop to suit them. These included baking, art, tie dying, drama, keyboard, and chess. It was lots of fun for everyone, while at the same time passing on many new skills to all who participated.
Prior to arriving at Suubi the Aussie group donated money which helped to purchase an oven for the Centre. A bakery project, for the youth in the village, had been on the drawing board from some months but the cost of the oven had been holding it back. Imagine the excitement when it actually arrive at Suubi.
The Suubi youth were thrilled to see the bakery oven arrive at the Centre.
The new oven really got put to great use as Aaron and Izzy held bakery workshops for both pizza and cake making. With these skills added to those the Suubi youth had already gained, via a locally run entrepreneurship training last year, it is hoped that some of them will now be able to make an income by selling delicious bakery goods to people in the village and at Suubi Centre.
Aaron with some of the Suubi youth as he explained how to prepare pizzas.
Then it was into the oven for cooking.
Trying out the finished product was popular with everyone!
The tie dying classes which Jay held were popular with both the ladies and youth. Some of the ladies had previously tried tie dying so it was terrific to have these skills refreshed. Now that there are more people familiar with this versatile art form, perhaps some of them may like to work together to make things that can help to create an income for themselves too.
Jay's tie dying workshop in the training hall was filled to capacity.
The ladies were pleased with the brightly coloured designs they were able to make.
Many of the teenage youth were also keen to participate in art classes that were conducted by a Ugandan artist, Hellen, who is currently studying art at university in Kampala. With so many people at Suubi for the other workshops this was an ideal time for Hellen to pass on her skill to those in the village too.
Hellen watched over the participants in the art workshop. Perhaps some of them will be inspired to follow in her footsteps to make art their career.
Those with musical or drama interests were also catered for as Satoko held keyboard lessons and Ash a drama workshop. Although the keyboard is not associated with traditional African music, many of the youth in the village dream of becoming hip hop artist, while others of becoming actors or entertainers. You never know, we may just see one of these guys name up in lights one day!
Budding hip hop stars were thrilled to have Satako teach them keyboard skills.
Ash held drama sessions that combined both modern and traditional elements.
The final two workshops that were conducted may not directly lead to an income or career but Daniel's chess workshop will certainly help expand the minds of those who took part, while Izzy's scrap booking class, for the children, was lots of fun. These books will also be a wonderful keepsake for kids who otherwise have very little record of what has happen during their childhood.
Small groups of youth took the opportunity to learn how to play chess from Daniel.
The kids had lots of fun with Izzy as the put together their scrapbooks.
The volunteers time at Suubi was concluded with an exhibition and showcase which many people from the village attended. This gave workshop participants the chance to show every one what they had being doing and talk about the new skills they had learnt from various workshops.
The chess boys had to concentrated hard as they played in front of the big group of interested onlookers.
Some of Issy's group proudly showed off the scrapbooks they had made.
The drama group were happy to perform in front the big crowd.
Artwork and tie dye was also displayed and pizza and cake, which had been cooked by the bakery group, was shared amongst the crowd. To top it all off, DJ Mike pumped out some tunes which saw both volunteers and villagers dancing the night away.
So, as you can see, the five days that Loretta and her group spent at Suubi were a huge success. An enormous thank you goes to all of them and also to Ssemwogere David and the Suubi staff for organising everything before and during their time at the Centre. The volunteers will long be remembered and the bakery oven and the skills they left behind will continue to have a positive impact on the community well in to the future.