In 2008 when Paul and Rachel Wilson told their teenage daughters the family holiday was taking an unusual twist, in the direction of Uganda, they didn’t know how it would go down.
But the girls were more excited to leave homely comforts behind than expected, even being sponsored to forgo electricity and other utilities to raise funds for the trip.
Paul, of Stonegate, Spalding, said: “For a lot of people it’s a one-off experience. We went out and it got in our blood.”
Having seen the two week trip advertised the family began raising money to cover the experience.
Since then they have visited Malawi and Zimbabwe, one of their daughters changed her degree to African studies and took a gap year there, and Paul became a trustee of the Chilli Children Trust, working to improve the lives of children in Uganda.
The charity supports the ‘North Kigezi Diocese Growers, Orphans and Disabled Children’s Project’ based in Rukungiri.
They help orphaned and disabled children in the very South Western end of Uganda, ensuring they have medical access, education and learn to grow chilli as a livelihood (hence the trust’s name).
Next month the couple are returning to see what work has been done, assess what to do next and support those working there.
Paul said: “They are building a new school block for special needs children.
“And hopefully we will get to see some of the children who were having operations last time we were there, running around.”
For Rachel, who teaches at the Spalding Parish Church of England Day School, this is only the first visit she will make this year.
Having seen the new school facilities she will return in August with a group of teachers to train the Ugandan school staff.
Unlike their adventure in 2008 the couple are not raising money for this visit. They will fund the trip themselves but are welcoming donations of five essential items.
Paul said: “Last time we took boxes of stuff but it is better to take money and buy from their economy.”
“If we decide to go it’s up to us to fund it and not rely on others. However, if anyone wants to contribute materially to what we are taking then that would be great.”
For more information visit www.chillichildren.co.uk