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With a brand new steel motorboat from the Netherlands about to arrive, the pupils of Bwama Primary School will now be assured of two motorboats that guarantee their daily safe transport to and from school over Lake Bunyonyi!
We are of course more than happy to have achieved this new milestone and not in the last place are we proud of the unique way in which we have achieved it. Except for its engine, which was purchased in Uganda, this second motorboat has completely been constructed in the Netherlands. The boat is the great result of a cooperation of some institutions and companies from the Netherlands who have, each in their own way and free of charge, contributed. On top of that, both young and old have been working on the boat with enormous dedication.
After the project had been finished in the Netherlands already in May last year, we have unfortunately experienced major delays in transporting the boat to Uganda, mainly due to the currently ever-changing and for transport organizing companies confusion causing import rules from the country that had to be met; yet, with the boat now almost having reached its final destination, our patience has finally been rewarded!
Please read all about this unique project below…
First motorboat in use since October 2018.
The first motorboat, that we have been able to provide the school in October 2018, was gratefully received by Bwama Primary School’s team, its pupils and their parents. The boat, made of wood, was locally in Uganda constructed. It has led to a great improvement in both the safety for the pupils as the time management of the school.
Previously, the only way to transport the pupils over Lake Bunyonyi had been by using dugout canoes. The canoes are the traditional and most used means of transport at the lake. Unfortunately, they are far from safe. The weather circumstances on the lake can change abruptly and when the weather turns bad the water can become very rough. Sadly, from the local community only very few people know how to swim. They fear the lake that varies in depth from 40 to even 900 meters and in which every month one or two people will drown. It occurs regularly that more members from one family drown after their canoe has capsized in bad weather. It is very hard to find someone in the area who has not lost a dear one to the lake.
Not only is the motorboat much more safe than the canoes, it is also many times faster and it can transport a many more children; as a consequence, there are now every day more hours available for teaching. Following the introduction of this first motorboat, the number of pupils of the school has started increasing from almost 200 to 275.
Once the boat was in use, we were confronted with the problem that there were no landing docks present at the 5 places where the pupils gather every morning for them to be picked up by it. With the motorboat being much higher than the canoes, boarding and disembarking it from a bank without a landing dock turned out to be very difficult for many of the children. On top of that it turned out that it was a very heavy task to push the boat back into the water from the banks. With the school itself already having its own landing dock, the problem did not occur there. We are most happy that we have, thanks to generous donations, succeeded in constructing the 5 needed landing docks. They will not only be used by the first and second by us provided motorboat, but also any canoe can moor at them, meaning that the entire community can benefit from them! Following the increased number of pupils also the number of life jackets has started falling short. Today, still another 20 life jackets are needed.
Very much worth mentioning is also that it is thanks to the enormous efforts of our local Managers, Aaron Twinomujuni and Noah Mubangizi, as well as the willingness of the local community to join hands with us, that we have succeeded in making the first provided motorboat self-sustaining. On week days, during the hours that the pupils are at school, and also in the weekends, the boat is, with Noah as a most experienced guide, available for tourist trips. Besides that, the local community is encouraged to use the boat for their local transport and the parents of the pupils are asked for a small fee. From the proceeds of all that fuel for the boat can be financed and future maintenance and repairs can be paid.
Second motorboat highly desirable.
As mentioned above an additional advantage of the introduction of the first motorboat, has been that more hours have become available for teaching. Yet, the large number of children that need to be transported can impossibly be transported all at once; every morning and every evening the boat has to sail back had and forth several times to bring all children safely at their destination.
The fact that the number of pupils in the school has grown considerably as a result of the introduction of the boat is of course great news, given the undisputed importance of education for every child! The boat has made education accessible to more children in the area. However, in order to further improve the time management and thus the quality of education of the school, this second boat is highly desirable.
Various factors have made our second boat project a unique project. As mentioned above, the vessel is entirely made in the Netherlands. Since in principle we strive to stimulate the local economy in Uganda in everything we do, this is not a choice that we have consciously made beforehand. Rather, there has been a wonderful coincidence here, a coincidence that we could not possibly ignore and for which we are happy and grateful.
The construction of the boat had started as a learning project for students of two collaborating parties. Vocational school ROC de Leijgraaf offers various types of training, one of them being metalworking, to a total of currently around 5,500 students; SMO is a foundation that connects students and companies in the metalworking sector, that way allowing young people to gain valuable practical experience, while companies are given the opportunity to invest in their future staffs.
ROC de Leijgraaf and SMO were together looking for a comprehensive project within which all practical construction skills could be realized in one object. They decided for the boat project that was originally intended as a practical assignment for the third-year students of the Allround Construction Worker course. After the students had successfully completed the assignment, they started looking for a good destination for the metal boat. When heard about our foundation and the transport problem for the pupils of Bwama Primary School, the decision was made to donate the boat to us. With commitments from SMO to cover the transport costs of the boat to Uganda and from ROC de Leijgraaf to finance the purchase of the engine for the boat, we knew the costs of the project already largely covered.
Once the final destination of the boat was known, second-year students of ROC de Leijgraaf also worked on the boat. They have made metal steps in it to facilitate the boarding and disembarking for the children, as well as metal brackets around the inside of the boat as a base for seating. Subsequently, students ‘Wood and Furniture’ of the school completed those seats with wooden benches and they also took care of wooden decking on the metal bottom of the boat.
Both Project Leader and Instructor Albert Sengers from ROC de Leijgraaf and Will van Roosmalen, Project Manager at SMO, look back on the project with satisfaction. Both point out the importance of practice-oriented education for their students. After all, practice is the best learning school for a profession and during the construction of this boat they experienced how to approach a plan from A to Z.
The boat was then transported to what is named ‘Solidariteitswerkplaats Uden’ (SWU), where normally goods such as bicycles, rollators, hand and electric sewing machines and also hand and electric tools are thoroughly refurbished , so that these can get a second life in the Third World. The volunteers of SWU, committed as they are with our charity goals, and also by way of reciprocity, have carried out the last work on the boat. Marc Verhagen, member of HWMCO-Nederland, is also active as a volunteer on the board of SWU. The mostly retired volunteers, after the metal boat was first blasted at a professional blasting company, covered it with various layers of paint; they also added a number of transversely arranged wooden benches at our request, so that more children can safely sit in the boat. In addition, SWU paid for the purchase of a boat trailer, necessary for the last part of the transport of the boat over land to its final destination. Ton van der Vegt, chairman of SWU speaks of a much encompassing expedition and says that in his opinion it is very acceptable for this kind of development work to ask for serious effort.
Below are once more the companies/institutions who have generously supported this unique boat project:
Already on 9 May last year, the boat was ready to be transported to Uganda. In the presence of everyone who had contributed to the project, it was handed over to our foundation during a festive ceremony, with also the local press present. Yet, from that point we start experiencing major delays while having to comply to the ever-changing and confusion causing import rules of the country.
Eventually, the boat has, as planned, been transported to Uganda in a sea container, first making the journey over sea from the harbor of Rotterdam (Netherlands) to the harbor of Mombasa (Kenya), and from there, while still in the sea container, over land to Kampala (Uganda). It left the harbor of Rotterdam on 11 November for it to arrive in Kampala for clearance shortly before Christmas. Last week, on 15 February, we received the message that it had been cleared and could be picked up.
This week, the motorboat is transported to the location of NiCA Foundation at Lake Bunyonyi where it will as soon as possible start transporting the pupils of Bwama Primary School, that way contributing to both the safety of the children and the time management of the school.
The photo slider below shows images from the first start of the construction process of this unique motorboat to its arrival at Lake Bunyoni. As the photos show, the boat bears the name ‘Nicky’, which is the name of our in 2011 deceased son, in whose honor ‘Nicky’s Care for Africa Foundation’ (NiCA Foundation) was established.
On behalf of the entire joint team of HWMCO-Nederland & NiCA Foundation we thank everyone who has in whatever way contributed to this unique project!
If you want to help us achieve our goals please click here to read about ways to do so. Every contribution, no matter how small or large, will of course be highly appreciated!
Please stay tuned for more updates about this second motorboat to follow soon…
HWMCO-Nederland & NiCA-Foundation
“We Fight Poverty by Bringing Development.”
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