An apt title indeed! The morning was filled with frustration as after getting up and getting ready to go to Katunguru for 9.00am the Sauna Wagon failed to start and was taken away for repairs. Consequently we went for a walk on the Mweya peninsula and visited the education centre. Up to 800 children can visit in one day and there are only two staff. Therefore a ratio of 1 to 400! It certainly puts health and safety back in the UK into perspective.
With the Sauna Wagon finally fixed I was driven down to Katunguru Primary School for 12.45pm. Ramathan was there to greet me and I was immediately taken on a tour of the school. There have been some very positive developments. There is now running water that is accessible on the school grounds which is safe and affordable. New staff quarters are also being built which will allow the staff to live on site. However, a number of problems remain. Most seriously one of the school buildings, which contains three classrooms, is close to collapse. They are also unable to put up a fence around the school which means that wild animals can wander on to the site. Because of this Ramathan feels unable to plant any trees or try and grow any crops on the school site as they would just be eaten.
The next thing I did was to show Ramathan how to blog. At the end of the Ugandans visit to the UK I created new blog sites for Hart Plain/Katunguru and for Clanfield /Bukorwe. The objective is for these schools to follow the same model that is working for Kafuro and Liss. Ramathan was very quick to learn and was soon posting his first blog. When I return to the UK I need to offer training for the UK teachers to do the same.
Lunch was provided soon after which was Tilapia and chips. As Katunguru is a fishing village the fish had been caught on the lake that morning and were very tasty. This was followed by a visit to Ramathan’s class P7 who were very welcoming. One of the enduring traditions from mirroring the British system of education is that children all stand up whenever a teacher enters the room. Although I did the same as a pupil I find it quite uncomfortable as a teacher.
The time with P7 was intended to be a question and answer session, but there was a very strong history slant to it. The recorded history of the UK is much older than Uganda’s and the children were very interested to learn about how certain place names came about. From here we moved on to a school assembly where entertainment was provided for the visitor. The school choir performed some songs and there were cultural dances. The real highlight for me were P1 (some of the youngest children) who performed a selection of songs and puzzles. I got some of the puzzles right, but was stumped by a puzzle about a mango.
The last activity of the day was Tag Rugby with classes P6 & P7. Although the children desperately need some more coaching there is no doubting their raw talent. I was given an emphatic reminder of why retiring from playing was a very good idea five years ago when a twelve year old ran straight at me, dropped his left shoulder and stepped off his left foot. He was past me so quickly that I didn’t even manage to touch him!
I finally left the school just after six o’clock when the others arrived after making contact with a girl guides group. The children and staff at Katunguru passed on their very best wishes to Tara, the teacher from Hart Plain who spent so much time with them last year. Thank you to everyone at Katunguru for making me so welcome!
Dinner was down at Tembo Canteen as usual where we were joined by several rangers. Unfortunately, the evening dealt a massive blow to Larry the Leopard’s self-esteem. He was introduced to the rangers who all questioned whether he could actually be a leopard as his stripes were wrong. Poor Larry was distraught and is now seeking counselling!
Tomorrow Stu and I are off to Mahyoro, a new school to the Twinning project, who will be twinned with West Meon.