Hello friends, back at last! My wonderful friend Anne has given me her old phone to replace the one that gave up on me which had a lot of my photos and video footage, so I am now able to catch up on news from June and July, my last stay in Uganda, which seems so long ago but also like yesterday! I’ll start with a couple of blogs I wrote about my work (and play) at Brain Trust Nursery and Primary School in Nawanyago where in the main, I am now based when I go out to Uganda.
26/6 After the ‘adventures’ of delivering mosquito nets yesterday with the many car problems, today was a more relaxing day. Innocent wasn’t feeling too good so I made my way down to schoo on my own for the first time. The boda men know me now and know where I’m going and most importantly they know they won’t get paid if they don’t drive carefully!!
As my energy level is not as high as it once was and I have so many other things to do I’m just going into one class a day and finishing at lunch time when the heat builds up. But it’s still full-on as the children and teachers have such high expectations of me!
I feel my main role here in to help with everyone’s spoken and understanding of the English language. This is important because all books and exams are in English, not the numerous tribal languages. I try to do this through reading stories, singing songs, playing games and doing crafts rather than like the formal lessons they usually get where the teacher stands at the front with blackboard and chalk. They are not used to having fun in lessons and it is heart-warming to see and hear their laughter, especially when it’s aimed at me!
With the lower classes we have been making necklaces using the wool some of you donated and drinking straw beads, and today it was the turn of Class 2, delightful children and teacher. They learnt to use scissors, cut three different coloured straws to size and then created patterns. Whatever I do with children in Uganda they are always so attentive and rarely need showing again. It’s such a pleasure to teach here. The teachers always get excited too and become children when I’m around. They just love the activities, simple as they are, because they do not have the opportunity to have variety due of to lack of materials and a strict learn by rote system in most schools here in Uganda. I’m certain I’m a bit of light relief to all! Today they all, and that included the teachers, proudly went home wearing their drinking straw necklaces with their happy face stickers on their tops! I shall be able to spot the children when I’m walking round the village and trading centre if past experience is anything to go by. They will wear them until they break!
29/6 I’ve been making the most of the internet since 4 am! Yesterday was another great day at Brain Trust. I was able to drive to school rather than load up two bodas. We celebrated the fact that the car Alex has loaned me started without a push start. More about that another time!!
I had the pleasure of working with the ‘Top Class’ today, actually the eldest nursery children. They handle big panga knives from when they are quite young for everything or even cutting toe nails and sharpening pencils with a razor blade, just the blade, no holder, (my heart is often in mouth!) but they are not familiar with scissors. It only took a careful demonstration and a few readjustments of fingers for them all to succeed. Mind you I did find one little girl trying to cut her school uniform!
The three girls in the photo were super quick at the activity! I do so enjoy working in the hall where it is cool and airy rather than the cramped classrooms. We were late finishing and playtime had started. I stay put under the hall roof with my water and snack bar and bananas but as you see I am never alone! Love it! Click on the first photo for slide show and do watch the videos. One is of the children manoeuvering heavy desks around with no fear for their bare feet or fingers! The second is a group of children singing and dancing a thank you Madam Gerry song! Back again soon!
The boda taxi I use regularly.
This boy is a pupil of Brain Trust but this day he had been left to care for the family cow as it grazed for food.
The older children tend the garden early most days as they all depend on the crops for their breakfast
Working in one of the brick classrooms. Some children wait for their classmates to complete their necklaces
I save to strong nylon sack bags to do crafts on as the narrow desks are not practical and there are not enough of them anyway
Smiles – love them!
Working in the rough wood classrooms. Note the teachers busy making necklaces too!
I usually try to include a story, songs or games.
The panga knife! Can you imagine our children using one of these?
My favourite place to work is in the open sided hall where it often can a coolish breeze blowing through
Some children bring their desks from the classroom.
Mr Charles often popped in to see what I am doing. The children love him
I always get a a thank you song after a lesson!