Dit artikel is hier in het Nederlands te lezen.
As previously shared, we had made a well-considered decision to add the construction of a Swimming Instruction Center to our goals. We are very excited that we can today announce that we have been able to realize this goal!
In Uganda, in spite of a fifth of the country being covered with water, the majority of the citizens sadly never learn to swim. Statistics about the overall traffic on Lake Bunyonyi, the area we are focusing on with HWMCO-Nederland and NiCA Foundation, show that every month one or two people will drown in the lake. More than 70% of the population who cross the lake every day, mainly by the use of dugout canoes, cannot swim. Lake Bunyonyi is the deepest lake in Uganda, the second deepest in Africa and the third deepest in the world. It’s depth varies from 40 to 900 meters! It is hard to find someone in the area who has not lost a dear one to the lake.
Since we started offering help in the lake area, we have come to understand that a vicious circle is existing considering the way people fear the lake. Because of their fear they are afraid to swim and because they cannot swim they are at risk to drown, which actually happens regularly; because of the drowning of people, the overall fear of the lake that lives in the population gets confirmed and they continue avoiding swimming…By focusing on the children in the first place when offering swimming lessons, we hope that this existing vicious circle will in time be broken.
During the meeting we had at Bwama Primary School as our joint team, we all agreed that constructing a swimming instruction center from where the pupils will get swimming lessons shall be seen as part of our program to improve on their safety while crossing Lake Bunyonyi every day. After we have in 2018 provided a first motorboat to ensure their daily safe transport over the lake, financed the construction of five landing docks earlier this year, and with a second motorboat project far in progress, we all concluded that the construction of this Swimming Instruction Center shall be given priority above any goal we discussed.
The photo slider below shows the construction process of the swimming center, which was built on a bank as an integrated part of the lake. The process has started with the clearing of the location, which was swampy and overgrown. Then the very heavy job of cutting and transporting purchased trees that were, as poles, to form the basis of the swimming pool followed. Black wattle trees are the most suitable for that purpose because they are very strong and also water-resistant. For that reason they are also often used in the construction of landing docks. Also other for the construction needed materials such as sand, coarse gravel and wooden boards were purchased and collected at the location. With all that done, the actual construction could get started, first of all marking the outline of the swimming pool and fixing the poles into the lake. Next, with the entire frame of the pool ready, wooden boards were fixed on it, that way creating a path around the pool; also a real diving point was created in that stage! The walls of the pool are formed by coarsely meshed nets. To create the bottom, a mixture of coarse gravel and sand was added. For safety reasons, a beautiful wooden fence was made on the lakeside. As the finishing touch, on part of the construction a layer of paint was added. Last not but not least, to enable the children to change ahead of and after swimming, a changing room has also been constructed.
This Swimming Instruction Center has been built to serve the community at large, with the focus of course first of all on children. Besides classes of Bwama Primary School, also classes of other schools are very welcome to receive swimming lessons, after first contacting us to make arrangements. A small fee for each child will be asked, which is meant to cover some costs we have to make (like fuel for our boat whenever children need to be transported to the swimming pool with it) and to make future maintenance of the swimming pool possible, so that it can stay for many, many years.
We are again asking the community to join hands with us so that we can all together make this another successful project. In this context, please visit the page ‘What We Stand For’ to read about our principles. Considering the swimming pool, already one school, Burimba Primary School, is proving to be a great example in how to join hands! A group of actively cooperating mothers of pupils of the school have offered to contribute 40 liters of fuel for the boat each month. This considerably reduces the fee we have to count for pupils of that school. We thank this group of mothers for joining hands with us this way for the better future of their children!
A big thank you also goes to the people who realized the importance of this Swimming Instruction Center for the community at large and who offered to volunteer in its construction. Thank you for your great effort and for joining hands with us!
We are very excited about our swimming program getting started in the next weeks. It is our aim to have the lessons given as much as possible by trained volunteers.
Please stay tuned for our updates!
HWMCO-Nederland & NiCA Foundation
‘We Fight Poverty by Bringing Development.’
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