Some days are golden. When a professional photographer strolls into the Amigos office offering his extensive skills and expertise, and willing to cover all his costs, you know the sun is shining on Amigos.

In a jiffy Roy Riley (photographer) and myself hopped on a plane and flew 4000 miles for 10 days to capture the magic in Uganda.

Amigos projects are growing fast, success is-a-plenty and we had one mission: capture as much as possible to show you where your money is going.

We saw Kira Farm graduates passing on their vocational skills in community groups, we witnessed villages whooping with joy when a borehole was installed, and we donned beekeeping suits (and prayed there were no holes) as we watched beekeepers work together to harvest honey.

Chances are, you’ve seen the results of that trip on this very website, in the Annual Review, on social media, and in the Christmas Appeal… but here are the out-takes, and a hint of what it took to get those shots. Safe to say, it was sweaty, dusty and there was some dad dancing involved.

 

Bikes are in hot demand up north, so we shot a video to show how two wheels can make a job like carrying water infinitely easier. 3 jerry cans on the back of your bike, or 1 on your head? No brainer. Fortunately all the brilliant people who saw the video in the Christmas Appeal agreed with the maths and now hundreds of bikes are being distributed in the north. And yes, that is my finger in the corner of the shot. There’s a reason we love professionals…

 

There might have been a weird flashing light in the middle of a maize field, but Kira Farm graduate Ramadan, took it all in his stride. Ramadan’s father was killed by a rebel army, his brothers were abducted, his uncle stole the family land and his mum re-married and didn’t want Ramadan around. After a year at Kira Farm he is training his community in conservation farming, running a savings group (like a small bank) and teaching people how to make energy saving stoves. Talk about inspiring.

 

And this is what Ramadan looks like when he’s being shot by a pro.

 

After long days under the scorchio sun and with red dust between our toes, we were blessed to have Kira Farm’s Guest House Manager, Mary, cook up a storm every night. 

 

Time came to say goodbye to Mary (and her cuisine) as we took a bus up north and became a little fixated on the stickers inside the vehicle.

 

In Gulu Roy rolled around in the dirt taking shots of a recently installed borehole, built to provide clean water for 2500 people. The community had worked together to build fencing around the borehole to protect it from livestock and had formed a committee so they could take care of repairs and maintenance. 

 

The village whooped with joy to have clean water, as did Roy when he saw this shot and realised all the laundry was worth it.

Members of the village generously thanked us with some chickens and a truck load of melons.

 

Next stop was Agnes – an amazing young woman and Kira Farm graduate who has set up a tailoring school for vulnerable girls. She told us: ‘Kira Farm changed my life and now I want to help change the lives of other girls.’

We loved Agnes. What a star.

 

Agnes’s shy students were reluctant to smile  – cue the Funky Chicken.

 

It was the 98th time Amigos team, Titus and Sam, had seen the Funky Chicken that week.

 

Final stop – time to check out the groups who had just been trained in beekeeping. They were a brave lot, and super pleased to harvest their first batch of honey. It was golden – just like the trip.

 

Rachel Lewis, Communications and Fundraising Officer.

Roy Riley Photography