Christina Ryan – Play Action International, Volunteer in Uganda

Written by Christina Ryan, BSc Psychology, Play Action International, Volunteer in Uganda, 2023.

19 Oct 2023   2 min read

Christina Ryan – Play Action International, Volunteer in Uganda

Volunteer in Uganda, 2023

“My trip to Uganda was probably if not definitely the most incredible experience of my life”

Culture and challenges

There definitely was some similarities and differences in the culture. The main difference I noticed was the stress-free, laid back lifestyle of the Ugandan people.

There was not many challenges as we were made feel right at home the minute we stepped off the plane! However, I did get an initial culture shock when I first drove through the local cities. Although, this quickly faded when I realised how joyful and amazing the culture and way of life is!

Bonding with local children

One of my favourite stories is that one evening before going to bed, I let a pupil who lived at the school play "Subway Surfers" on my phone. I heard my name being whispered at my bedroom door the following evening as I was getting ready for bed, and I saw eyes peering through the keyhole, so I got up to see who it was. All the kids were outside wanting to play games on my phone when I opened the door, and that started a nightly routine for the rest of the trip!

It was amazing seeing how fast they caught on to be able to play the video games, their ability to know at such a young age to share and take turns, and to be able to share back with them hobbies from my culture as they had been constantly showing me their ways of fun. They had been showing me their ways of having fun, so it was incredible to watch how quickly they picked up on playing video games, their ability to know to share and take turns at such a young age, and how I could show them popular hobbies in my culture.

Memories to last the lifetime

If I hadn't taken part in all the extra activities that Play Action International had to offer, my trip to Uganda would not have been the same. First up, I spent the day kayaking and paddle boarding across the River Nile with my group. It was a great way to meet new people, share stories, and form friendships—especially after a few beers!

The following weekend, we all hiked to a different camp to engage in the most thrilling and adrenaline-pumping sport—white-water rafting! After being paired with an instructor, then set out to cruise the Nile's waves. After, we all enjoyed a BBQ that the camp had prepared for us volunteers.

When the third week arrived, the Safari was here! You can go camping, rhino trekking, or just drive across the fields and snap pictures of gazelles, lions, elephants, and rhinos! I’ll also never forget the time I spent river cruising with hippopotamuses!

The bungee jump I did on my final day of travel was the one that really made me face my fears. My friends talked me into it even though I was nervous. After all, I never would have imagined that I would be volunteering in Uganda or bungee jumping, so I realised that anything is possible. This is your sign to take that leap to volunteer for Play Action International!

Advice for others

Stop making excuses and just do it!