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Ugandan Trip Has Huge Impact On Students

Two Sixth Formers who visited Uganda during half term say they felt humbled by the life-changing experience.

Chris Usher and Christina Mangin from Year 13 spent a week at the Discovery Centre in Uganda for the Jinja International Youth Meeting 2010.

They both gave a short presentation on a topic and then listened to talks from young people in Uganda and pupils from other schools in Northamptonshire.

They visited nearby villages and during the evenings, helped to entertain the children who stay at the centre.

The Discovery Centre was set up in the wake of the country's AIDS crisis and is used by children who cannot afford to go to school.

The CBA students, pictured with other stduents from Northamptonshire, learnt that religion and politics is central to young people in Uganda and that education is a priority for them.

Christina said: "I was talking to one boy and he gets up at 6am to start studying and doesn't stop until 10pm and he studies on Saturdays.

"We went to one school and they showed us their classroom. It was like a barn and they didn't have any books in front of them. There was about 100 children in there but they see education as a way out of poverty.

"The poverty was the biggest thing that will stay with me because when you're actually there and you see it, it's 10 times worse.

"But every single person we met had a smile on their face. They are so happy with what they have got, even if that's virtually nothing. It makes you feel bad about what you have.

"I would love to go back."

Christina's presentation at the youth conference was about social justice and the Ugandans told her that while developing countries benefit from resources from developed countries like the UK, they need the expertise to help show them how to use things like energy-saving products.

Chris' talk on global civilisation touched on whether the Olympic Games and World Cups bring the world together.

The young people from Uganda told him that major events like the World Cup in South Africa help to show their continent in a more favourable light.

Chris said: "It was an amazing trip. It was such a contrast to how we live and your emotions can overcome you. You want to help but you can't help everyone."