Two former members of our Climbing Club program, Kichel Denis and Rubangankene Godfrey, have joined TRP’s staff as Level One Facilitators. Both men feel their participation in climbing club was a life-changing experience that empowered them to overcome the obstacles of their past and make a better future for themselves. Here are their stories:
Kichel is a former TRP Climbing Club member. He came to TRP when invited by the local Councilor to join a club that provides weekly training sessions in climbing and life skills. He is one of many who came to town to seek refugee from the rebels, and spent his nights at the nearby hospital. “Many of us have nothing to do these days, so there are a lot of bad behaviors. Most of us are looking for day-jobs to get something to eat.”
Kichel is the second born of 9 siblings. His father is a farmer and cultivates bananas, sugarcane, and raises fish, and bees.
“I am so proud of my job at The Recreation Project,” says Denis. “As the leader of the climbing club, I learned how to deal with my age-mates who used to show up to sessions drunk—it hasn’t been easy. But through this process I have built a lot of confidence in myself and have become a very determined person”
Rubangakene came to Gulu town in 1996 when violence pushed people from his village to nearby trading centers or towns. He is a former climbing club member that was invited to the club by a fellow volleyball player. His team “Ker meri ubin” (Thy kingdom come) was practicing when he eagerly accepted the invitation to try the new sport.
Rubangakene lives with his uncle. Even though he finished high school and was admitted to agricultural college, his family didn’t have enough money for the school fees. A couple of years ago his friend offered to rent him a motorcycle and since that time, Rubangakene has been working as a boda-boda driver (motorcycle taxi).
“Some of us (climbing club members) had nothing to do,” Godfrey recalls. “But after being part of the club, we realized that we could actually pick ourselves up and keep trying. The Wilderness Excursion was a changing point in my life and many of the other guys. I got a new perspective of myself, and knew that I had new horizons”
“Working with TRP has allowed me to support my ageing parents and sustain myself. I always remind the guys at the climbing wall to preserve—we never know how high we can go.”