African Educational Project - Uganda 08: training weekend

On Thurs. Feb. 7th, those of us taking part in this year's African Educational Project in Uganda in July travelled by road (minibus + car) and overnight ferry to the De La Mennais Brothers' Mother House in Ploërmel, Brittany (N.W. France) for a weekend of training and team bonding to prepare us for the challenges that lie ahead in getting our teens, aged between 16 and 18, to lead summer camp-style activities for children in Uganda. It was a very successful weekend and one which saw the group gel really well (always a good sign) and come up with lots of ideas for activities to do in Uganda and fund-raising events beforehand.
The 2008 "Team Win" at Warwick services.

After getting off the boat at 8.30am, we were treated to breakfast by the Brothers in our St. Malo community.

Bro. Joseph Pichon, St. Malo

Nick W. about to get an extra wake-up call.

Group photo-call on the canal in Josselin (nr. Ploërmel) in front of a splendid château. 

The view from a bedroom at our Ploërmel Mother House.

Rehearsing "I Am A Music Man".

A workshop session on teaching French through a combination of speech and phonetically-inspired sign language. Great way for our English teens to learn French pronunciation! Why is this not used in schools everywhere? It's so simple and yet so effective. We will look for an equivalent method for teaching English which we can use in Uganda with younger children.

Our teens leading the Cha-Cha Slide.

With Bro. Henri Caroff (centre), aged 85, whose father was an onion seller in England and Scotland. As a young boy, Henri came over with him and developed a love of languages. He still practices his English, German, Spanish, Italian, Breton and Russian every day! An amazing character and a lovely man. 

The astronomical clock in our Mother House grounds, built by Brother Bernardin (France) between 1850 and 1855 as a teaching tool for his Maths and Science lessons. People come from all over France to see this. It is quite an amazing machine with 10 clock dials measuring different things in relation to the movements of the Earth the Moon and the Sun, as well as having a Planetarium at the back which shows the respective positions of the Earth, the Moon, the Sun and the main planets at all times.

The Mother House museum with artefacts brought back by Brothers from the missions, including some very large insects! 

Relaxing after Sunday Mass at the local parish in Ploërmel. 

With Sophie and Bro. Francis (3rd form left) having a pre-Sunday lunch drink with Brothers from the Mother House community. Bro. François Milin(foreground) was with us in Togo and Burkina Faso last summer and helped us find our way around the markets of the latter's capital, Ouagadougou (I love saying that name). 

This has to be the most amazing ride I have ever been on. Beats anything at Alton Towers hands down! 4Gs of force at 70 mph, the 'cars' we sat in spinning on their own axis so that when you reached the highest point on the end of the spinning arm (about 70 feet up) you also spun upside-down. Didn't take much persuading to get 6 of the group to go up with me... a no-brainer for thrill-seeking rollercoaster addicts. It lasts for a good 5 mins. and is only 5 euros! Great value for money. It was situated on the shore just outside the old town walls in St. Malo. With such a clear blue sky and mellow sunset that evening... just breathtaking!

A more traditional view of old St. Malo (compared to the birds eye upside-down one we got the night before) when leaving on the ferry.

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