Champion Kirkcaldy fundraiser Janice Allan is heading back to Uganda next year on another charity mission, after breaking her leg in a trek in the country last year.
Janice, who turns 60 in January, will join a team of 20 volunteers who will spend 10 days living and working with natives in the village of Nkuringo, high in the mountainous region inhabited by the country’s gorillas.
The volunteers will work with members of the local HIV and woman’s groups and spend a day with the Batwa pygmies on their reserve in the jungle. Janice will also be reunited with Constance, a local girl whose schooling she sponsors.
The trip is being arranged by the Singing Gorilla Project, which facilitates and funds community based projects in the remote area to improve the welfare of communities.
Singing Gorilla Projects has already helped set up a nursery and primary school and a music school, installed water tanks, sponsored children to continue their schooling and developed a community health clinic.
Janice, a grandmother of 10, was walking in the African country’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest when she slipped, breaking her leg in three places and tearing ligaments in her ankle.
She had to be airlifted to hospital in Kenya before being brought home where she underwent a series of operations to insert pins and metal plates in her leg and ankle.
She told the Press: “This time I will not be doing any trekking. I am going as a volunteer because my leg would not stand up to the strain of walking long distances any more.
“I was disappointed not to finish last time and I suppose there’s a little bit of unfinished business in Uganda. Once you have got the bug it’s difficult to shake and when you see the adverts on the television of children drinking from a muddy puddle and you have actually been there and seen that, it makes you want to do everything you can to help.”
Janice will be doing the trip to fundraise for our Maggie’s Centre once again, as well as the Cottage Family Centre in Kirkcaldy, which helps vulnerable families and children, and she also plans to take out clothing, stationery and small toys for children in the area.
“There is a container going out to take out bulky items and I have a 46kg allowance, so I plan to take as much as I can out with me in my luggage and just take my clothes in my hand luggage,” she explained.
She is also planning to hold a 60th birthday bash in the KUSI club and ask guests to give a donation for the charities rather than a present.
“I am very excited about going back to Uganda, as well as a wee bit apprehensive. We will be living very basically, not hotels or even running water, but I will do whatever I can to help.”