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Lake Bunyonyi Community School – by tour leader Joe Kennedy

As part of your African adventure with Oasis Overland your tour leader may give you the opportunity to visit various projects that Oasis and the tour leaders support, one such one is the Lake Bunyonyi Community School a short drive from Kabale, Uganda.

The lake itself is worth the visit, at 20 kilometres long and 7 kilometres wide with 29 islands it is the second deepest lake in Africa and the third deepest lake in the world. Surrounded by the lush green countryside of south western Uganda, it is a beautiful slice of the world.

Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda

As with most places it is the people, as much as the scenery, that make places such as Lake Bunyonyi truly special and a visit to the community school is the perfect opportunity to experience the warm hospitality of the people that call the lake’s edge home. However, like so many of the smiling faces you will see in Africa, those smiles are in spite of what is a difficult life filled with hard work and a fair share of adversity. Uganda has left behind its civil wars and dictators but the ever present poverty and the impact of HIV/AIDS remains.  The result of this, is a generation of adults being stuck down, victims of the high rates of HIV in many cases leaving behind a generation of children without one or both of their parents. In Africa, families in most cases are large, and without parents to provide for them it is left to the older children to provide for their siblings thus robbing them of not only a childhood but an education and a chance to improve their ‘lot in life’. If they are lucky they have an elderly grand parent or an aunt or uncle to house them. This is where the Lake Bunyonyi Community and School come into this story.

Edison Twebaze

Edison Twebaze

Around ten years ago the community got together and decided something had to be done to help the children of the area. Chief among their goals was to establish a school for the children so that they may have great prospects for their future. They also wished to provide food and access to health care for the children that needed it most. Lofty ambitions for a small group of locals with no government or NGO backing. Edison Twebaze was one of these dedicated locals and it was a chance meeting with an Oasis Overland crew Mel and Franco in 2007 that started an amazing friendship that has gone on to mutually benefit both the community and visitors to the area ever since.

From that meeting it was agreed that Mel and Franco would visit and that they would see what they could do to help. At this stage there was nothing more than a group of dedicated locals and a lot of children in need. They took the plight of this community to their passengers and began arranging for them to visit the community and see for themselves what was happening here. There was no expectation of them helping, just a great day with welcoming locals and a yummy local lunch. Needless to say many of the passengers wanted to return this hospitality by helping as they could.

This was the boost the community needed, and after group after group of generous people visited, the community was able to procure the land it needed to build a simple school and begin providing education to some of the children who needed it. The visits did not stop and as word spread amongst the Oasis tour leaders they began visiting with their groups. I hope you can see where this story is going…

Siblings at Lake Bunyonyi Community School

I first visited the area in April 2013 as part of my training as an Oasis Tour Leader and immediately fell in love with the place. At that stage the school had three simple classrooms and a few wooden frames that would become huts to accommodate anyone that might want to stay with them and help out. Today, a year on, the huts are all bar finished as is a two story structure intended to be an area for visitors to take their evening meals, enjoy a beverage and take in the stunning scenery all around them. They are currently using one of the rooms beneath the dining room as a class room, meaning they can now teach four individual classes. Work has begun on adding another classroom on the end of the existing classrooms when this is finished they will move the kids in the temporary class into it. They have even been able to procure some land so that the kids have a play area and the community can grow food for the school to use. The end goal to all this is to be able to generate the income needed to become self-sustaining.

Enjoy watching Joes dance moves at Lake Bunyonyi Community School!


Main classroom, Lake Bunyonyi Community School

Completed huts, Lake Bunyonyi Community School

On top of the education and construction they provide lunch to their 150 pupils each day and Edison and some other community members house ten children without a home. They also pay for 11 of their most promising pupils to continue their education at a boarding school in Kabale and when needed they pay for children to receive health care for things varying from burns to malaria.

Catching the ferry, Lake Bunyonyi

All pretty amazing stuff, made more amazing by the fact that is it largely funded by Oasis travellers and crew.

A visit to the school begins with a drive to the lake shore where Edison will meet us and ferry us across the lake. After a short and tough walk up the hill we are greeted by a horde of smiling faces who are eager to sing us the songs they have learnt in class and dance like only African children can. You will work up quite the appetite so the fantastic lunch prepared by Edison and his family is a welcome sight. We then walk back to the boat taking in the panoramic views on offer and after a boat trip back across the lake top of the day with a refreshing swim and beverage at a lake side bar.

Nothing has changed in all these years there is still no expectation of people helping. It’s just a great day with welcoming locals and a yummy local lunch. If you want to help, or make a donation contact us and we will put you in touch with Eddison.



Joe at Lake Bunyonyi Community School







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