Wrexham volunteer humbled by African building experience

Reporter:

Garth ApThomas

A WREXHAM man has helped to build a nursery school and medical centre in a remote African village.

Huw Jones, 38, a former pupil of Ysgol Bodhyfryd and Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, said he found the experience both humbling and rewarding.

Huw is a former tournament director for golf’s Women’s European Tour and is used to travelling abroad in style.

But while in Uganda, he lived in a mud hut in a community with no electricity, sanitation or running water.

“The scheme to build the nursery school and medical centre was part of the Turn Things Around Project.

“I was introduced to it by friends of mine at St Michael’s Church in Aberystwyth, which is where I live now,” said Huw.

“I volunteered to go to southern Uganda for four weeks. There was a team of us, consisting of six people.

“We were involved in constructing the school from start to finish. After that we helped with the building of the medical centre on the same site.

“There was a lot of back breaking work and we were 9,000ft up in the hills which made things even harder. It was tough to do manual labour.”

Huw said that even fetching water posed an endurance challenge, involving carrying large containers down to a central holding tank, filling up and then walking back again with the heavy load.

“Everything was very remote. We were based in a village called Kigazi and the nearest town was Kabale, a drive of around one-and-a-half hours away. That’s where we had to go for building materials.”

He added: “There was such a sense of achievement in taking part. We completed the school.

“The medical centre will be open and operational next month.”

As well as the building project the volunteers brought further joy into the lives of their hosts by organising a special Christmas party in Kable for the community’s children to enjoy, which included the giving of presents.

“Some of them were street kids and to see the smiles on their faces was wonderful,” said Huw.

He now works as an events co-ordinator for Single Figure Golfer, a national amateur tour for golfers with a handicap of nine or less.

Huw is preparing to return to Africa later this year.

He will be climbing to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for Nightingale House Hospice, where he has been a volunteer for five years.

“I will be doing it with a friend of mine, Johnathan Callister who is originally Wrexham and now lives in Kent.

“People can find out more by logging on to my Just Giving page on www.justgiving.com/ huwjones123.”

See full story in the Leader

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