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By Eric Barigye

Welcome back to our weekly blog which explores a particular aspect of Ugandan life, to learn more about the people and place that plays host to our Adventure Like No Other.

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Each week, Eric will be helping us to explore all things Uganda!

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This week we will be learning how to make something very close to our Uganda Marathon; the Medals! And who better to teach us than the man who makes them, Mr. Otto Alfred (pictured below) of ‘Masaka Vocational Rehabilitation Centre’.

Masaka Vocational Rehabilitation Centre (MVRC) is a special place that skills mostly vulnerable youths in a variety of vocational skills that includes tailoring, metalwork, computer literacy and woodwork. Started as part of a Government initiative in 1983 to benefit the people of Masaka, the former refugee camp has kept going all these years since despite the many challenges it has faced. MVRC has also been apart of the 7-Day Adventure in both the 2015 and 2016 Marathon as a supported project. Since then, these grounds have continued to play host to our hugely fun ‘Upcycling Day’ in the Marathon week. 

Mr Otto’s own story with the place begun in 1991 as an instructor in knitting, tie and dye, and painting bags. He has kept the same title all these years but has gained some very valuable skills as all our previous runners can attest to with their medals. 

The first step is to get fine wood of a eucalyptus tree, sized at 3.4*5.8*1.1mm. The wood is sandpapered before a hole is drilled into the wood. The wood is then cut to circles with the help of a machine here in Masaka town.

Then comes the putting of the logo onto the wooden circle. A stencil of the Marathon logo is put on top of the medal before ink and its colours are squeezed out of a plastic bag onto the surface. After the ink has dried, the logo is varnished. Wood glue is then applied twice over two days both for preservative purposes and also to make it smooth to the touch. Finally, after the wood glue is done drying, a metal ring is put in along with a ribbon. 

And that is how our beautiful medals are made.

Thank you for joining us and see you again next week.

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Some of our Marathon Medals, hanging over the course map in our local office in Masaka

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