What's it like to volunteer in Uganda, Africa? After volunteering here for a few months, Anna answered some questions about her experience.
If you've dreamed of going to Africa, now is the time! With this adventure in Uganda, you can spend a semester abroad making a difference as you serve others, meet new friends, and travel. We are smitten by this country and think you will be too.
Not sure what to expect in Uganda, Africa?
Check out our guide to learn more about what a semester will be like!
What's a typical day like volunteering in Uganda with ILP?
Days vary a bit throughout the experience, but a bulk of the focus is on helping kindergarteners learn English. You'll also have plenty of free time that you can use as you'd like — maybe explore the town, relax with your group at home, or find ways to get involved with service in the community. We chatted with Anna Bonney who was one of our recent volunteers in Summer 2023 and this is a quick look at a typical day for her, just to give you an idea of what it might look like!
"6:30 — Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, do your dishes, grab your supplies and snack for the road.
7:30 — Walk to school with your group.
8:00-10:00 — Teaching the kids, break, dance time with your students (our school played music), and snack time.
10:30-12:30 — Second half of the day, teaching the kids
12:30-1:00 — Walk back, eat lunch, put away supplies, take a body shower or change clothes
1:00-2:20 — Free to do what you want; typically volunteers chose not to leave the compound during this time
2:20-2:50 — Go to the orphanage. It was only a 15-minute drive, but you had to wait sometimes for people.
2:50-6:00 — Time spent with the babies and toddlers. It’s good to know their names, push them on their kids’ boda-bodas, and help bathe and feed the babies.
6:00-6:20 — Go back to the compound
6:20-7:00 — Do something before you aren’t allowed outside the compound. Typically, dinner was ready by this time. Some volunteers would go down to the well to hang out and dance with the children, and others would simply stay.
7:00-10:00 — Time spent how you’d like to. Some people worked out, others did laundry, some stayed in their rooms and watched movies, others read books, some called home (WiFi was horrendous then because most people were on WiFi at that time), and others talked. Sometimes, some volunteers invited the staff to play cards or card games, and they would have a good time. Some people would prep for thier lessons (since Arts and Crafts, and then Kitchen needed prior prep). Other times, the volunteers would teach us a game. And sometimes, you were just in for 3 quiet hours before bed! "
What are the kids like?
" They’re wonderful. They’re so happy and so strong. They love to run, laugh, dance, and live. There wasn’t a day I wasn’t happy to see them. There wasn’t a day I looked at them and didn’t just love them. They are so incredibly happy and strong. They will take what you teach them if you teach it effectively and with love."
What's your favorite part about Africa?
"My personal favorite part about living in Africa was spending time outside the compound being active. That means working with the kids, dancing with the kids, talking to the local teachers, digging spring wells, and doing a Waka-Waka flash mob with three other volunteers. I enjoyed the moments where I felt most alive and most involved where I was."
What experiences have really impacted you?
One neat opportunity you'll have in Uganda is to help build areas for thousands of local families to get water from fresh springs. Many locals don't have access to clean drinking water so this is a huge blessing for them. Learn more about the water projects you will work on here.
"The experiences that really impacted me while volunteering involved interacting with others. I felt an outpouring of love for the children I saw and worked with. I became so grateful for what I have and what I am able to experience. I was put in a position where I could not get away from my ILP group, and we lived in a small space. This pushed me to get to know two volunteers that changed how I live my life. They helped me discover comfort and joy in myself and in actions that I hadn’t experienced before. They were part of the flash mob for Waka Waka, part of my Kenya group, and some of the teachers of my school. And they changed me this past summer."