H.J. Cody student volunteer grateful to be able to help in Uganda

H.J. Cody student volunteer grateful to be able to help in Uganda

Bootsma learned a great deal about Ugandan culture and customs while helping those in need.

H.J. Cody student Taylor Bootsma has returned from Uganda with a feeling of accomplishment, after her first trip participating in several projects in the African nation, all of which were done in conjunction with the Rotary Club, and the Adopt a Village Program.

Bootsma took some time to chat with the Sylvan Lake News about her work while in Uganda, specifically with the Town of Masaka’s Rotary Club.

Bootsma noted a major theme of the work she did with Rotary in Uganda was to “give a hand up, not a handout,” when providing aid. She noted she helped to provide many villages in the area the resources they needed to get established, rely on themselves and prosper on their own accord.

A great deal of the assistance that was provided through Adopt a Village was gathered through a high tea fundraising event, which amassed a significant number of donations, Bootsma noted.

Specifically, Bootsma and the other volunteers were tasked with the administrative duty of checking up on an Adopt a Village program which was initiated a decade ago, “getting feedback, to see if the programs we were setting up there were still working, and making sure they had limited issues,” said Bootsma.

“They were doing awesome,” she said of the area she visited. “When we went there, they were giving us baskets of food; they were so grateful.”

A lot of the work Bootsma and the other volunteers did entailed delivery of products to villages in need, “making sure the right money was going to the right people, and those kinds of things, since one of the issues with a lot of these things is the money sometimes slips into the wrong places and you don’t know where it goes.”

Much of Bootsma’s work entailed the delivery of goods, as well. Bootsma reflected fondly on a point at which she visited a school in the area, whereupon she was able to meet numerous children whose education is sponsored by Canadians.

Bootsma described the experience of immersing herself in such a different culture “shocking and beautiful,” recalling how distinctly red the dirt was in Uganda, and how a vast amount of transport in the country relies on motorcycle-like vehicles called boda bodas.

“It’s crazy, compared to here. There are people who had absolutely nothing there, but everyone was still happy – it was very interesting to see,” said Bootsma, who added another interesting thing she learned was that “everyone carries things on their heads. I kind of thought that was just something made up to make art look cool – but it’s not, it’s real and they have amazing balance.”

Bootsma intimated it was a life-changing lesson to see people flourishing and happy in spite of their hardships, and noted it really made her aware of how sheltered, most average people in Canada are, by comparison.

“The Adopt a Village Program is so amazing – they select a village that’s more in a rural area, and donate cattle and chicken, and they give them a lot of seed. They build water tanks, so they can collect fresh water and wash their hands,” said Bootsma. “A major thing was setting up handwashing stations in these villages they worked in.”

Bootsma said it was inevitable a strong relationship was forged between the Rotary Club she travelled with to Uganda, and the Masaka Rotary Club, adding “we need someone to make sure there was someone keeping up with the projects. You can’t just set up a project and leave it.”

Bootsma had a great deal of praise for the Masaka Rotary Club, because “they didn’t have a whole lot, either. The poverty over there is so crazy. It was so neat to see how much they wanted to help out – even though they had so little.”

Bootsma said she wants to do something like what she did in Uganda again, adding that although it was her first time traveling there, many of the people she traveled with had been there before, multiple times.

“I wanted to go and gain the knowledge I’d need, so that if I wanted to do something like that again, I could take more of a leadership role in that,” said Bootsma.

Just Posted

Alberta is now below 3,000 active cases of COVID-19, as the province reported 2,639 Wednesday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer below 100 active COVID-19 cases for first time since March

69.7 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

Premier Jason Kenney says the provincial government is doing everything it can to encourage Albertans to get vaccinated. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Travel prizes added to Alberta’s vaccine lottery

More than 40 travel rewards available for those who are fully vaccinated

(Advocate file photo)
Red Deer down to 102 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 332 cases with 26 in hospital and five in ICU

Photo Courtesy of the Town of Sylvan Lake
Multiple edible parks found throughout Sylvan Lake

Apple trees, berry bushes and more have been planted in various parks around town

Curtis Labelle. (Photo Submitted)
More exciting music to come from Sylvan Lake’s Curtis Labelle

Curtis Labelle has been called Canadian Elton John or Billy Joel by fans

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Biden says meeting with Putin not a ‘kumbaya moment’

But U.S. president asserted Russian leader is interested in improved relations, averting a Cold War

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

COVID-related trash is washing up on shorelines across the world, including Coldstream’s Kal Beach, as pictured in this May 2021 photograph. (Jennifer Smith - Black Press)
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Most Read