Volunteer Africa Orphanage – UMB1
Tire yourself out giving care to abandoned and orphaned infants in Mbale on this International Volunteer Africa Orphanage Program. Chase after toddlers, help teach, and come away with a heart filled with warm memories.
The babies’ home, where you will be living and working, has orphaned and abandoned babies left in the care of the sisters. The orphanage is sponsored by the Catholic Church on the same property and they are always short-handed. Cooking is done in an old and very hot kitchen.
The kids at the orphanage are almost all babies or toddlers. There are a few older kids aged 5 or 6 who are siblings to the little ones. The sisters work very hard there. To get into town, you can get a motorcycle taxi easily.
International volunteers will tell you that their hearts melt at this orphanage and their lives are forever affected.
Arrive today at Entebbe International Airport. Once in the immigration hall, you will be able to purchase a Ugandan tourist visa. Please have US, GBP or Euro cash available for this. Once you have retrieved your luggage, you will exit the immigration hall where your driver will be waiting. There are ATM machines at the airport, just as you exit the immigration hall to your right, and at Barclay’s Bank, Standard Chartered Banks and some petrol stations. 500,000 Uganda shillings is approximately $150 US. Your drive is about 5 hours so you may wish to ask the driver to stop on route for some water or snacks.
Days 2 – 6
Orphanage volunteering days could consist of feeding newborns, changing diapers, bathing kids, cooking, gardening, or just playing – mostly whatever they need at the moment. Be prepared to be quite tired by the end of your day; however, it is very rewarding. If you are staying at the guest house, you will be able to walk in about 15 minutes; or if staying in a hotel, you will need to catch a taxi or boda boda (motorcycle taxi) to the orphanage.
The children are spoken to in their local language as well as English, so may not understand you if you are speaking English to them. However, they will know you are there for them and you will feel the rewards of their appreciation and love. The place just keeps growing. 4 years ago there were only 22 babies and at last count around 50.
You are welcome to take days off if you wish. Do some shopping in town or take a weekend excursion. Ask the sisters about transport if you want to go to Sipi Falls for a day or overnight.
Today you will be returned to Entebbe International Airport or Kampala. Your pickup time can be arranged with the driver to depart 7 – 8 hours before departure of your flight. You can save time by checking in on-line ahead of time. There are showers, a restaurant and shops at Entebbe airport.
The town is located in southeastern Uganda and is 5 hours drive from Entebbe. It lies at the western foot of the extinct volcano Mount Elgon, 4,321 metres, 120 km northeast of Jinja. Located in a fertile coffee-growing region, Mbale is an agricultural trade centre. Pop. (2011 est.) 91,8100.
Sipi Falls is very close to Mbale, towards the Kenyan border, and provides great views of Mt. Elgon. Guided walks take you to the bottom of the main waterfalls, and to the top of the plateau, passing 3 other waterfalls in the Sipi area. You can also do some weekend day hikes on Mt.Elgon, or opt for the full guided trek to the peak at 4321m, approximately 4 days.
The Landmark Inn has great Indian food, if you feel like a change in cuisine. There are some nice hotels in town as well if you want a break from the orphanage.
Sipi Falls – about 55 km north of Mbale, the falls are lovely to look so be sure to stay somewhere with a view. We can assist with bookings.
Mount Elgon – trekking this mountain has become a popular activity as of late. Elgon’s tallest peaks encircle an 8 km wide caldera studded with crater lakes and hot springs. Two bases are available for relaxed exploration of the lower slopes. 12 km from Sipi is the Kapkwata Forest Exploration Centre. There are log cabins there where you can stay and do day hikes from. Contact the Uganda Wildlife Authority office in Mbale for bookings. Serious hikers can also arrange multi-day treks with them, hiring the necessary guide and paying appropriate fees as well. Those wishing to climb the mountain will require camping gear.
For a day hike, the distance is approximately 70 kms. from Mbale to Kapchorwa or Budadire. You will need to depart Mbale as early as 6:00 am in order to be there on time for an immediate start. Once arriving in Sipi, you can be assisted by the Uganda Wildlife Authority Warden who will allocate a ranger for a day’s hike. The cost of the hike is approximately $90 US.