Uganda trip life chang­ing

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By TERESA HAT­TAN

Spend­ing time in an­other coun­try and experiencing an­other cul­ture has been a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for Anna Watkins.

The Ti­rau res­i­dent 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.

This first trip and its ex­pe­ri­ences re­ally reaf­firmed this for her, she said.

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.’’

Watkins said the hours and hours spent work­ing and sav­ing money in the lead up to her trip were def­i­nitely worth­while.

Anna Watkins says trav­el­ling to Uganda and work­ing in a ba­bies home was ev­ery­thing she had hoped for.

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