Community Meeting at St James
Last week we had our first community meeting as the re-established School Management Committee. Previous to the meeting I had met two people who are going to work with us to relaunch the school as it has a bad year. James Mwamika (a different James!) is an experienced administrator who has brought two schools in the Kamuli area back from the brink and he seems determined that he will succeed with St James. Debby is a young Social Worker in training who will be working along side James Mwamika dealing with child issues. Both are relatively young, very pleasant and enthusiastic.
Members of the committee had asked the Local Council Chairman to stimulate the community to attend the meeting so that we could find out what the issues have been with St James during this year as many children had been taken away and were walking along the main road some distance to the nearest alternative. Within a few minutes of the start time the LC Chairman arrived along with other village elders, church leaders and ordinary villagers, of varying ages. I was very impressed as ‘Uganda time’ is usually at least one or two hours late! I was the one who had requested the meeting as the school is a community school so the community should have a say in running it. I was supposed to chair the meeting but I asked if James’ son Eric would do it for me. I’m glad I did as he led the meeting superbly as James Mwamika interpreted for me. Then when James Mwamika explained is role in the recovery of St James Eric took over as interpreter. So hopefully I didn’t miss too much as, even after fourteen years of visiting Uganda I have not picked up the language!
After a bit of reluctance the villagers contributed and had themselves heard, getting full answers to their enquiries or if not a promise that their grievances would be looked into thoroughly. I was particularly impress by the women who attended, but I suppose it is them who deal with the children in the main. Several serious issues came to light which we are now dealing with.
I can only hope that the members of the SMC in Uganda can solve the problems that have come to light. I cannot help with any of them but will be watching closely.
It’s been a worrying time for me but now it is out of my hands so I will stop worrying and just wait for reports of the progress or not, to be emailed to me.
Thanks for all your support and friendship for St James over the years and still now.