Fifteen students from Texas A&M University at Qatar and three from the University’s main campus in College Station, Texas, recently returned from a service trip to Bujagali Falls, Uganda, where they taught children at local schools and established a fishing shelter for the community’s fishing farms.

The team worked throughout the trip with the SOUL (Supporting Opportunities for Ugandans to Learn) Foundation, an organization fostering sustainable and vibrant Ugandan communities through improving education, women’s empowerment, food security and health.

Reflecting on the trip, participants say they hope to have helped the community they visited but that they also grew personally from the experience.

Fatima Raja, a chemical engineering student, commented on this, saying the experience was humbling.

Nabil Ahmed, an electrical engineering student, added, “The trip gave me the unique opportunity to experience Africa and, more importantly, allowed me to give something back to their community. The locals were very friendly, hospitable and did their best to make us feel at home. Looking back, the trip helped me learn about a foreign culture, develop as an individual and instilled important values in me. I won’t be able to take small luxuries in life for granted anymore.”

Rachel White, programme coordinator for student engagement at the University, said this was the first joint service trip between Texas A&M at Qatar and the University’s main campus. “We’re excited to continue building opportunities for students on both campuses to learn and grow through serving others,” she said.