Uganda – Day 9

I woke up at my usual time of 6.30am and made straight for the bathroom where I had my morning shower. For those of you in the UK reading this, it involves standing in the bath filling up a 1.5 litre bottle of water (there is only cold water in the house) and pouring it over my head several times. After the heat and dust of yesterday a lot of dirt came out. More dirt was to follow as I washed my clothes from yesterday. Again, in Uganda there are few washing machines so travelwash and hand power is required. Cleaning my clothes would take no time today as it was shaping up to be a scorcher.

 

Tadeo picked us up at 9.00am and Stu gave him his old combat jacket. To say Tadeo was delighted would be an understatement. We drove up to Kafuro stopping to take photos of the trenches that they have built to keep wild animals out of the local villages. When we arrived at Kafuro  we were greeted by the sight of the children playing Kingsquare, a form of netball (no poles and nets!) and passing rugby balls around. Yowasi came to meet us and we were able to show him and Boaz, the headteacher, the internet up and running. Yowasi was thrilled to read the comment Mrs Green had made and he has promised to blog weekly during term time (this is a condition of the children’s money being spent!). He now has 7 months internet paid for by the funds raised by Liss children.

 

Today Boaz was joined by William, the Chairman of the Management Board (Chair of Governors) and Apollo, the Chairman of the PTA (I propose that Sarah Redfern now changes her name to Athena). This was a good opportunity to ask them about the challenges faced by the school. They are as follows:

*The school is funded by the Government and they only fund six teachers. Therefore the school has to rely on the local community to fund four additional teachers. Many people in the local community see little point in school, so raising funds is extremely difficult. The Community Ranger, Janet and Apollo play a big part in persuading parents to send their children to school as opposed to working in the fields or looking after younger siblings.

*The school would like to buy an extra acre of land so that they could raise crops, which they could sell to raise funds. In the longer term this would allow them to develop a field with adequate space for sport.

*A nightwatchman is currently employed by the school, but the parents are reluctant to pay for him outside of term time. Therefore the school site is ripe for theft during the holidays.

*Although there is one tank for collecting water, another purchased tank would enable double the amount to be collected and reduce the necessity of the walk to the nearby crater lake to collect dirty water. Although there is a water pipe being laid through Kafuro, the community will have to pay for accessing this water.

*The school have applied to the government so they can build a staff block. This would enable someone to be on site at all times and would negate the need for a nightwatchman.

 

*Sanitation is poor! There are three toilets (holes in the ground) for 323 children and many of the holes are filling up without means of removing the waste.

 

*Although the stationary we have provided has made a big difference, Kafuro PS is always in need of more pencils and books.

 

Yowasi took the four of us on a tour of the school along with the representatives from Kafuro. Next we had an assembly where the school choir performed the Ugandan National anthem and Rebecca, Tara and I had to reply with ‘God save the Queen’. Stu decided as he is Scottish he would rather sing ‘Flower of Scotland’ and he performed it to much applause and amusement. Following this was a set of long speeches by Yowasi, Boaz, Apollo and William. I had to hand over officially all the gifts from Liss and the Twinning Project and to make a speech thanking the school for all the hospitality and generosity. I passed on the best wishes of the staff, the governors, the parents and the children of Liss junior School and received many gifts of fruit and grain from the children. It was a humbling moment.

 

Our next job was to plant four trees to create more shade on the school site. Each of us dug a hole in the rich soil and planted our individual trees. Hopefully by the time the next visit takes place there should be some growth. Before we left we had a lovely meal of goat and rice with watermelon to follow. We left the school with much sadness, but know that we will be seeing Yowasi in just over a month’s time.

 

On the way home we saw several herds of elephants in the space of about 40 minutes. Tonight, we have a meeting with Abraham, one of the rangers and then hopefully we’re going to find a local bar and shoot some pool.

 

Tomorrow is our final school visit to Katunguru, then the river cruise and meetings later in the day.

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