Immersion Programme: ‘As a twin they taught me the different names they had for twins, Bolongu and Molongu’

Andrew Doran is a Sixth Year Student at St Joseph’s Secondary School, Rush. He travelled to Masaka, Uganda in June 2019 as part of the Aidlink Immersion Programme. 

My name is Andrew Doran and I am a 6th year student in St. Joseph’s Secondary School in Rush. In June 2019, I was lucky enough to travel to Uganda and take part in an immersion project with the Irish charity, Aidlink. The immersion project was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I still treasure it as one of the greatest moments of my life. I had the opportunity to experience new cultures, make new friends and I developed a special place in my heart for Uganda.

During the immersion project, we went to school in Archbishop Kiwanuka, I was in a 5th year class. I was extremely nervous going to the class on my first day. But these nerves quickly went, when two boys named Ivan and Clinton introduced themselves to me and ensured that I sat beside them. I quickly learned how friendly and nice the Ugandan students were and they treated me as one of their fellow peers. I realised how important education is to them and that they want to do well in their exams. They have a lot more pressure than we do in Ireland and it has changed my perspective on my own schooling.

The Ugandan students taught me a lot about their culture. As a twin they taught me the different names they had for twins, “Bolongu” and “Molongu” and also the names for the older and younger brother, “Wasswa” and “Kato”. From then on I was called Kato for the rest of my days at school with them. I really appreciated the nickname as it put me at ease and helped me to make friends with my peers.

Each day, I took part in their timetabled classes and learned how similar the curriculum is in secondary schools in Ireland and secondary schools in Uganda. Ugandans are very passionate about their education and this passion rubbed off on me especially in my final year of school. Because of this, I really focused throughout sixth year and put a lot of work into my work and studying to ensure I could do the best in my exams, and I have my friends from Uganda to thank.

I learned so much through this immersion project about Uganda, the people and also about myself. I tried new foods, conversed with everyone I met and got to experience life in such a beautiful place. I looked forward to every day and what it had in store for me. Since my return, I get asked the question; “How was Uganda?”, I find myself giving the same answer, “I would go back tomorrow”. And the truth is I would go back tomorrow. I would do anything for a chance to go back there in the future as it is a place I will never forget.

The trip meant so much to me and I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a part of it and experience the most amazing place and meet the most extraordinary people.

Andrew travelled to Uganda on the Aidlink Immmersion Programme in June 2019. Andrew is a Sixth year student at St Joseph’s Secondary School, Rush. 

For more information on the Aidlink Immersion Programme contact