The Explorer Belt - Heather and Richard's Story

    General Information

The XB (Explorer Belt) expedition, part of the UK Contingent of Scouts who went to Uganda, consisted of 10 Venture Scouts.

XB Expedition (with Nick and Mr Dick) at Jinja

Each XB team had to be a pair, but special permission was sought from UK HQ, in order that the pairs could be of mixed sex. This was only permitted with parental agreement, but was deemed necessary due to the number of girls taking part.

The expedition took place in the Kamuli district of Central Uganda; Africa, and ran between Tuesday 15th August and Thursday 24th August 2000. Once in Uganda, each pair was placed with a nominated Ugandan Scout, who would accompany them throughout the expedition. This was to further the links with the Ugandan Scouts as well as helping with communications, and any other problems which may arise whilst in a developing country. Before any ideas are taken that we had a guide for the ten days, most of the Ugandan Scouts had never been much further than their own district, and so had no choice but to leave the navigation up to us!

The XB teams were;

Heather (me!) & Richie, with Barbara

Heather, Barbara and Richard

Fran & Paul, with Idiris

Rob & Jenny, with Emma (short for Emmanuel)

Stuart & Athol, with Patrick

Cavus & Dan, with "crazy" Ronald (as we knew him!)

Each UK team had a route planned before we flew out, and as we discovered, the map we received in the UK is not really accurate enough for measuring distances!- but it was the only map we had! We were fortunate enough, however, to receive another, larger scaled map when we arrived. Not everything matched up, distance wise, but we couldn't change our routes then! But we did the best we could with the maps we had, and made the most of the situations we found ourselves in! Nick did give us a little advice/guidelines to adhere to;

1. Use the village bore holes to get fresh drinking water- there may not be too many, so stock up whilst possible.

2. Try to be at camp/set up camp, no later than 4pm.

3. Be careful of the sun; set off as early as possible to complete the mileage before the sun rises/or at least gets too hot, i.e. midday.

4. Transport is available to hire from the villages, for covering any distances over the set mileage; taxis, trucks, pickups and Buda Buda's (motorised bikes), etc.

5. Obligatory; XB participants have to keep within the set budget given to them, this also includes staying within the separate sections, i.e. food, transport, water, etc. So if we don't spend any money on fuel, it doesn't mean we can eat more!

The teams had already decided on their major research projects, so all that was left to do, was to receive the minor ones; they came in a small white envelope, which we weren't allowed to open until we had been dropped off at our start point!

My daily journal of events, team budget and some of our 'pics' are all included here, for you to share in our adventure.

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