MARANATHA SEC/ VOC SCHOOL FIELD TRIP – 8TH OCTOBER 2014 REPORT
After months of optimistically waiting and struggling to find fees for the field trip to the soft drinks factory and the Uganda International Trade Fair, KidsUganda joined hands that resulted into sec/ voc school KidsUganda sponsored kids having the exposure and fun. This is our sixth trip and a total of 108 kids took part. Unfortunately 79 kids never made it due to financial constraints.
On the 08th October 2014, at 6:30 am, Mr/Mrs Rev. Patrick and Eva Walusimbi prayed for blessings and journey mercies before the kids and members of staff who had already taken aboard of the buses and taxis.
At 08:05 am, we were cruising through Kampala – Uganda’ capital city where some of the students had never been before. Through the city, learners witnessed the various settlement patterns, businesses, housing conditions and their impact on the environment. Learners also witnessed the traffic challenges, despite of the new road networks being created like the Northern By Pass, Fly overs, disorganized housing (city slums) alongside the very organized housing estates. National examinations questions normally come from those areas.
At 08:30 am we arrived at the first destination – Coca Cola soft drinks factory at Namanve. Learners here appreciated the beauty of the area, the good reception offered to them and the discipline of time management. The staff allowed us into the factory after going through a briefing and security check –outs at 09:00 am.
Observation; cameras are not allowed into the factory and so no interior photos were taken!
As we moved through, the learners were briefed of the various factory departments and their roles. Production was the main concern for the tourists. So, kids were shown the major final products that undergo numerous stages / processes. Amongst the products were Coca Cola, Fanta, Stoney, Sprite, Novida and Dasani water. Lessons instilled into learners from that point were production, branding, packaging and marketing. It was noted that while at that factory, no one is expected to mention another soft drink factory. This stretched level of competition left the students amused!
Reaching the production departments, all kids were terrified at seeing bottles moving from one point to the other. Kids appreciated how bottles are cleaned by the machines, allowed to assemble through the bottle roller where a stand – by employee detects any unsafe bottles, till they are filled with the product (drink) and finally capped/ covered and made ready for packaging and storing. Kids witnessed that production is techonologically intensive, given the usage of machines. To ensure safety, employees cover their heads, ears and feet while visitors watch every stage through glass windows to avoid any hair falling into the bottles. Learners realized the importance of specialization, Competition, Internal Control Measures, Safety measures in addition to realizing the problems and challenges underlying industries or factories in Uganda.
No single individual is allowed to access the tanks or know any of the ingredients used in the mixing process! We were told that glass bottles are got from Kenya and most of the raw – materials are imported from South Africa, for its a more reliable source, less affected by seasons.
Next was waitng for the drinks that had been promised to us. It was unfortunate that no photos were taken. Otherwise learners were allowed to take drinks as much as they could. In less than an hour, some kids had drunk more than 8 bottles individually!
At 11:20 am, we drove off for Luggogo, but before getting there, we camped at the Mandela National Studium parking yard for their lunch.
(taking her meal’share being offered a soda – soft drink)
Shortly after filling their tummies, we lined up for security check at UMA grounds (Uganda Manufacturers’ Association) Lugogo as we joined other national and international traders, customers and revellers. We witnessed the value of marketing links, national and international trade activities. Products ranging from house utensils, home collections, furniture, ladies and gentlemen’ cosmetics and garments, farming equipment or inputs like tractors, telecommunication, entertainment and engineering software/ equipment, by people from Uganda, USA, Ghana, China, Egypt, France, Kenya, India and other electrical appliances and a locally made vehicle were among the products that were show- cased countries. Important information was exchanged between the learners and the local and international manufacturers.
Lessons of customer care, competition, marketing techniques, various inventions, technological improvements, importance of trade (both national and multinational), justified our participation.
One of the kids – Lule Victor came back very happy, because he was able to attend a VCT clinic (Voluntary Counseling and Testing) that had been freely provided by USAID. Victor says, he had for long wished to find out his HIV/AIDS status. His longing resulted from his loss of both parents while still young! Some kids and members of staff were seen purchasing items for their remembrance. At 05:20 pm we began boarding the buses and by 09:30 pm, the last bus safely made it to the gate of Maranatha.
Great thanks to the Almighty God for the protection granted to us, members of staff for organizing the study field trip, parents and guardians who contributed to the fares and more especially the kids sponsors under KidsUganda who generously offered to pay for the kids who would have otherwise missed that great opportunity which cleansed many people’ eyes.