Uganda trip unforgettable for teen
Spending time in another country and experiencing another culture has been a life changing experience for Anna Watkins.
The former Matamata College student spent three weeks in Uganda in January and said the best part of the trip was experiencing a new culture and interacting with people from different walks of life.
Watkins volunteered at Bulrushes Babies Home, which pairs four babies with a mother who then looks after them until they’re ready to go into a village.
‘‘Basically they’re at the babies home for about two years and then they go to one of the Watoto villages and get a new mother that’s their mother for the rest of their life.
‘‘The people that were working there are amazing because the mothers often have families of their own and they’re taking time out to raise another family.’’
Watkins was able to meet others from New Zealand who were also undertaking a mission trip. At the babies home in Watoto there were also volunteers working from Canada, America and Australia. She said it was great to be able to meet these people. ‘‘It was great to see where you can go, because you have to do a short trip before they’ll take you on for six months or so.’’
On the back of this exciting trip, Watkins will now begin studying for a Bachelor of nursing in Otago. She then plans to work in New Zealand for two years before heading back to Uganda. The teenager said she was hoping to do another trip before then, but eventually she would like to go back and undertake more aid work and perhaps live there.
Watkins said she was grateful for all the support given to her. She wanted to thank those who had helped her with sponsorship for the trip.
She had saved a lot of her own money from working part time while attending college, but received a lot of help from others.
‘‘It’s a lot of money at this time when you’re trying to save up for polytech so it was really helpful and encouraging that people wanted to give to this cause.’’
GREAT EXPERIENCE: Former Matamata College student Anna Watkins travelled to Uganda last month to volunteer at a babies home.