2018 Sand Filter Aid Team Visit The Kasese Area; Visiting Schools and the Sand Filter Conference

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A small team of six from the UK (and a seventh honorary member from Kampala) including teachers from New Mills Secondary School and members of Revive Church New Mills stayed in Kagando visiting the Kasese (pronounced 'Kas-es-ay') area. Here is a summary from the team


Trip Overview



People met and new connections made

  • Busyangwa Primary School

  • Staff and patients at Kagando Hospital

  • Meeting Road Barrier Primary School

  • Bishops and Reverends from 13 diocese across Uganda aiming to start making bio-sand filters

  • community centre looking to train local community

  • Environmentalist Deo Kiwanuka Kiggundu with 'Flying Foods'; a cricket farming venture in Uganda and Kenya

Day 1
11/08

Day 1, 11/08/2018 - Travelling


Meeting up before catching the flights The first real meet up with the UK team together in one place

  • Meeting mid afternoon for an evening flight to pack the bags of 100kg+ of clothes, Geoff having already taken 20kg

  • Anne is behind the camera whilst Geoff is in Uganda already



Catching the flights

  • It was off to Manchester for the overnight flights; travelling through two of the richest cities in the world and arriving in Entebbe near Kampala by Day 2. The intensity of the weather and wealth in Dubai and Doha was immediately apparent
Day 2
12/08

Day 2, 12/08/2018 - More Travelling

Arriving at Entebbe Airport

  • We arrive at Entebbe in Early afternoon and Reverend Yona Bairinga meets the team. We head off in the direction of Namirembe Guesthouse






  • The team stopped off at Entebbe Botanical gardens to strech legs after two days of travelling and to check out the filming location of Tarzan!







  • Colobus Monkeys like to eat the leaves and fruits of the trees






    There were lots of these termite mounds all over Uganda


Arriving at Namirembe Guesthouse, Kampala

  • The team (minus Pastor David from Kampala) arrived at Namirembe guesthouse, Kampala in the evening ready for an early start to travel down to the Kasese area
Day 3
13/08

Day 3, 13/08/2018 Even more Travelling!

An Early start to Catch the bus







  • Travelling in the morning meant clearer roads and so a shorter journey time




  • Geoff



    From front to back: Rev. Yona, Pastor David, Tim, Malachi, Jack's hand

A Seven hour Journey to kiparara (pronounced 'chip-arar-ra') near Kasese This is arguably where the visit really began as the team set about moving away from civilisation as we know it!

  • After half an hour or so getting out of Kampala the surroundings changed to become more rural for the rest of the bus ride. Lots of small towns and villages along the way, a number of which had roadside markets retailing to locals and people stopping by in taxis and on buses

  • For sale: Bananas, pineapples, mangos, avocados, passion fruit, watermelon, roasted maize cobs, chapatis, bottles of pop, and biscuits


Arriving at Kiparara

  • Driving through the nearby Kasese town it looked comparatively built up having a bank, a number of small shops and several other amenities




  • The conference (at Kasese) is about seven hours drive from Kampala and an hours drive from Kagando where the team was staying



    The team, at kiparara, about to get the taxi and motorbikes (boda bodas) to the guesthouse at Kagando


The last leg to Kagando

  • The last twenty minutes by taxi or motorbike (boda boda) was on a direct dirt track to the guesthouse (which is situated opposite Kagando Hosptial)

Visiting Kagando Hospital

  • The guesthouse is across the road and only two minutes up the slope from the hospital and so the plan was to visit the leprosy ward. They have to buy their own food whilst staying in the hospital and so some food from the hospital shop was much appreciated; the leprosy ward only had five people and so there was enough food for the fistula ward and a few other patients of the hospital.

Planning the week with Jethro Baita

  • After a couple of hours much needed sleep the UK team met up with Jethro Baita to discuss the sand filter conference and the following week

Local Life

  • After a short prayer for the clean water project and other activities, a praying mantis became the first local insectoid friend; perching on a water bottle!
Day 4
14/08

Day 4, 14/08/2018 - The First Day of The Conference

A brief stop at the equator in Kikorongo

  • Every day of the conference the team drove across the equator and near the monuments at Kikorongo




  • Malachi, Tim and Pastor David: You can tell it is early by the long westward shadows!

The First Day of The Conference

  • The team arrived at Road Barrier Church building ready to start with the introductions and the theory day of the conference. Already there were up to a hundred sand filter trainees

  • The first day had an introduction to all the pastors, reverends and bishops who had traveled from the 13 diocese across Uganda. Next there was a sermon on agreement and commitment. After this was a lesson about clean and pure water and the theory of a sand filter


  • Each day of the conference had a couple of times of song and dance.


  • Generally a break for tea called 'break tea' happens at 11-12 o'clock and then there's a late lunch at 2-3 o'clock


  • After a lunch with three of the staples; mashed matoke (savoury banana), rice, and lentils, and the option of goat, we had to head back into Kasese to meet Margaret who has been testing the new filter design




  • Geoff on the back of a boda boda heading back into Kasese (there's room for one more passenger at the front)






    Wherever people live there is usually a group of children who crowd around new arrivals!!


  • After visiting Margaret the team head to the river to collect input an input water sample

  • The taxi moved us to the river Nyamwamba which is a major source of drinking water for the area to take some samples which were measured for heavy metal content

the evening at eden guesthouse

  • The guesthouse had cooked meals (matoke, rice, g-nut sauce and other local produce) with a chance to talk with other people visiting or working in Kagando and so each evening there was a chance to spend time with Becky; a doctor practicing at the hospital, and Georgia who was working with a sustainable coffee company
Day 5
15/08

Day 5, 15/08/2018 - the second day of The conference

souvenir rocks from the nyamwamba at road barrier

  • In the morning back at the conference centre some participants of the conference wanted souvenir rocks from the Nyamyamba river across the school yard, and so the opportunity was taken to see the river, test the water, and get a photo


  • Back at Road Barrier Full Gospel Church an introduction to the day and an initial song and dance took place then it was off to the training ground about 100m down the road




  • The first practical day involved making mud rings which were then stacked to create the moulds for the filters, so the first job was to make the mud; prepared using hoes and feet




A visit to Road Barrier Primary School

  • As the training was coming to an end the UK team (minus Richard and David who continue working) visited the Primary School at the back of the church building


  • A teacher at the school, the head teacher, and Jethro with the newly painted sand filters that are ready to be filled with sand, gravel, rocks or charcoal to help clean and purify the water for the school children



    Geoff tests the mathematical ability of the school children and we all learn a few things



    The Head teacher welcomes us, gives a status update and shares where funding may be best directed



    Part of the UK team standing with the teachers of Road Barrier Primary School

The evening back at the guesthouse

  • In the evening on the way back we visited the pharmacy for a bottle of pop after a very sunny day and it was decided to rent a boda boda for the rest of the time the UK team was in Kasese
  • Back at the guesthouse Tim quickly developed a new way to make a cheaper, multipurpose mud ring mould in the evening, having bought some supplies during the day. The usual evening meal and review of the day followed by an early night
Day 6
16/08

Day 6, 16/08/2018

The Third Day of the Sand filter conference



  • The new mud ring making process was trialed and deemed a success!


  • On the final practical day of the conference the filters were to be formed around the mud moulds and so one of the first jobs was to mix the cement with river sand and water

the team splits to busyangwa school, road barrier, training, and road barrier school

  • This was the first time the UK team was spread over multiple locations; since the locations were spread out, a couple of taxis were necessary

Craig and malachi go to busyangwa school

  • Busyangwa Primary School is three or four miles from the base at Kagando, part way up a Rwenzorian mountain and so the first leg was done by car and then a hike up the steep mountainside. The objectives were to start a dialogue between New Mills school and Busyangwa school, to find out about the school, and to get ideas about what might be the best course of action on the next visit (this will come at day 10).


Surveying the river 

  • Geoff, Jack, Tim and Yona head to Kilembe mines to survey the water running down into Kasese
  • The effects of the floods from previous years were seen en-route to the mine
  • One of the streams running into the Nyamwamba was a blue-green tinged leachate which, over time, has stained the rocks turquoise. The large boulders (and some much larger ones around) were washed down during the floods of 2013 possibly suggesting that the smaller rocks in the stream have stained over a period of up to five years



  • The next tributary stream further down the river had stained the rocks orange; this could be iron oxide in the water



  • Banana and cassava plantations were seen along the way (as is common all over rural Uganda) and amongst them was this dilapidated house was probably affected by the floods in previous years:

Richard and David continue the training

  • Back at base camp Richard and Pastor David continue working on building a filter. The filters were carefully constructed and given an even finish, ready for the 12 day curing process

  • A sand filter engineer, David, another sand filter engineer, and Richard, after having finished the final stage of the main filter build


training moves to road barrier primary school

  • Everyone at the training centre moved back to Road Barrier Primary School where the newly painted filters were filled with the filter media as a demonstration

  • The crushed charcoal being washed before it's ready to be used for the charcoal filter


  • After the river walk the children gathered to receive some of the clothes given by New Mills school and a number of people from New Mills area. They were greatly appreciated by all the children and parents


Tim visits road barrier school

  • Geoff and Tim went to Road Barrier school to hand over few things including official Manchester United training clothes given to the football team

meanwhile back at kagando

  • After visiting Busyangwa Primary School and with promises to return with the whole team on the 20th with more people, the team there head back to Kagando, visiting the social club to watch a local football match
Day 7
17/08

Day 7, 17/08/2018 - The final day of the conference

heading into kasese for the final day

  • The plan was for Geoff to have a much deserved break before it was decided to bring the certificate ceremony forward a day, and so everyone was up again in the morning and heading back into Kasese to St. Paul's Cathedral


  • It all started with a couple of songs, then a couple of speeches from the bishop, and Jethro, then a speech by Geoff, all followed by a man giving his testimony and then the certificates. The Certificates were presented to everyone there who had completed the training. Also at the event were a number of people who were graduating from The Alpha Course. There were perhaps seventy people at the event

to kinyamasika!

  • After the ceremony all the sand filter trainees and the rest of us head to Kinyamasika to see where and how the filters have been implemented
  • The village has a soap making business; we were taught the process and given a demonstration



Back to Kagando to make bubbles



Day 8
18/08

Day 8, 18/08/2018 Prospecting and Resting

Exchanging Gifts

  • Receiving a jackfruit and giving a goat! Jethro spent some time at the guesthouse in the morning to discuss plans for the rest of the week

heading into the rwenzori mountains

  • Before mid-day on the track in Kagando, a team of boda bodas were hired almost everyone incl. Phil set off to trek up a mountainside. Craig remained to spend a day at the guesthouse whilst Pastor David had left back up to Kampala the previous evening
  • As the boda bodas rode to the start of the trek there was a stop off along the way at a church built by a project of St. Matthews, Hayfield. A few people were resting there

  • A typical foothill of the Rwenzori mountains



    At  one of the peaks of a small foothill (with Ricard behind the camera), ready to walk through the small-holdings and plantations along the ridge



    Coffee is often seen drying on tarpaulins in the sun... And here's some cassava



    A very brief stop at a village on the way back


Day 9
19/08

Day 9, 19/08/2018 a visit to Queen Elizabeth National park

heading into the rwenzori mountains

  • Kagando and surrounding villages are squeezed in between The Rwenzori mountains (to the North) and Queen Elizabeth National Park (to the South)
  • Two vehicles took the majority of us and a few others to the park, and then onto Mweya lodge
Day 10
20/08

Day 10, 20/08/2018 - Busyangwa and Masaka

Back visiting busyangwa primary school

  • The team, including Phil, headed to Busyangwa by taxi and four big bags of clothes were taken by boda boda to be carried up the mountain to the school
















A welcoming celebration





    Music made with whistles, singing, drums and marimba  also accompanied with dancing













meanwhile in MASAKA



  • Jethro, Yona and Jack go to Masaka to see the farming processes there. In Masaka they are adapting forms of cricket, katydid, and other insect farming techniques from the Netherlands and it's wondered whether crickets could be used as a farming demonstration in the Kagando area too in order to become another source of protein for animals and/or people.
  • It's a three hour journey to Masaka and a couple of guides were needed for finding the location of the farm. A reverend who attended the conference happened to know of the project and so came along to direct the search and visit the farming research and demonstration centre.


Day 11
21/08

Day 11, 21/08/2018 - School and small holding

A final day at Road Barrier 

  • The team went back to Road Barrier with he team went back to Road Barrier with Craig, Malachi and Tim helping a group play against the football team! Then there was a netball game. The church, the school, and a member of the UK team put together some money for the new temporary classroom and then there was a another celebration






  • About to be presented with some t-shirts by the head teacher

Visiting Jethro and the community centre

  • Meanwhile in Kisinga; a couple of miles from the guesthouse at Kagando, Geoff and Jack visit, looking at the farming demonstration projects there. Tilapia are being farmed with the help of the other produce being grown on site; earthworms, jackfruit, pigs, etc. There are also bees, bananas and vanilla vines. Everything has been chosen to create a farmed ecosystem in the form of a small holing/demonstration site

    The earthworm project
Day 12
22/08

Day 12, 22/08/2018 - Coffee and crickets

Seeing the agri-evolve set up

  • The team (minus Jack who went back to Kisinga) go with Georgia to see the agri-evolve sustainable coffee company who Georgia is working with to help streamline the coffee production in the Kagando area



  • Visits to Canaan Church and All Saints Church




back to the community centre

  • Next the whole team went to see Jethro's setup at the community centre which takes a different approach to give rise to local flourishing

  • A meeting is held at the community centre to discuss the outcomes of the time spent in the Kasese District and by early evening the cricket enclosure has taken shape, to be completed the next day

The t-shirts COURTESY of busyangwa!

  • Back in Kagando in the evening the meal and a game of charades is followed by the arrival of the tailor who has made the shirts from the cloth received from Busyangwa
Day 13
23/08

Day 13, 23/08/2018 - cocoa and crickets

  • A cocoa plantation is visited by the team


Cricket Enclosure Continues




  • Meanwhile Jack head back to the community centre, continuing to build the enclosure with Ham
  • Everyone moved back to the community centre for a debrief from the diocese a debrief from the diocese




Day 14
24/08

Day 14, 24/08/2018 - TRAVELLING to entebbe

This time by Taxi

  • Heading back up to Kampala there was a stop at a restaurant and we were willingly weaned back onto a Western diet.
Day 15
25/08

Day 15, 25/08/2018 - Final TRAVELLING entry

Back to the UK via dubai and doha

  • Arriving back for a catchup and debrief at Geoff's house

updates since the visit

temporary classroom built at Road Barrier Primary School





Other developments

  • Geofrina the goat is eating well and is almost ready to give birth




  • The community centre has been stocked with crickets which are growing at a rapid rate