Well here we are just finishing our 3rd day in Uganda. The first day was a bit of a blur as we had many, many, many hours on planes and in airports before landing in Uganda. We had lost 2 pieces of luggage, including Marina’s personal bag, so had to deal with that before heading out of the safety of the airport into the newness of Uganda. Luckily Erika and Bree and the Resource Centre staff are doing a great job of looking after us. They could not help the flat tire halfway home from the airport and it was dealt with quickly. It gave us time to look more closely at some of the small shops and crops that line the road. I blame the flat on the 12 – 50 lb pieces of luggage containing primarily donations from Canada. Running out of gas was also a misfortune but luckily we were close to the centre so were quickly rescued. It was all made worthwhile when we were greeted with a series of songs from a troop of small children from the nursery school next door. They had been patiently waiting in their pressed uniforms for some hours.
The first afternoon we made a visit to Living Hope Primary, a school in a slum area of Kampala. The people live in little shacks lining dirt streets teeming with people, goats, motorcycles, and the occasional long horned cow. The children at the school were delightful. They were working diligently at their revisions for exams. In these post Harry Potter days I think we all realize that revision means studying for exams. I was particularly impressed with one class who were quietly revising even though their teacher was off sick for the day. I am not sure that a grade 5 class in Canada would act the same way.
Yesterday we went to Kawanda Secondary school. In spite of lack of resources the academic standards are high and the students very accomplished. The teachers are dedicated and passionate about education. We took them some supplies and equipment that we had brought with us from Canada. It was like Christmas. They were so appreciative of our cast-off equipment. If anyone out there has any used lab equipment or supplies please let me know and I can start collecting it for Niteo’s next trip. Believe me, after looking at their resources, nothing is too minor.
We had a look at some of their preserved specimens which included a large jar holding a Black Mamba that had been captured on the school grounds. Apparently they thought it was dead but when they tried to open it’s mouth to pour the formaldehyde in they discovered it was not. Luckily no one was bitten.
Today we went back and Kathy and I both taught a class. I taught a S1 (our grade 7) class of 60 about flower structure and function, and Kathy taught an S6 (grade 12) class about carbohydrates. All I had was a small blackboard and a couple of pieces of soft chalk. Luckily some of the teachers had collected Hibiscus, morning glory, and maize flowers for me so the students had something to handle. It made me really appreciate our models, computers, LCD projectors, white boards, and coloured pens. The students were quiet and respectful for the full hour, although I think a few were asleep.
I am looking forward to seeing the countryside as we head north to Gulu on Sunday.