Continuing reports from the St Mary Bourne 2014 visit – in their words. This is day 4 to day 6.
Day 4 Ssekanyonyi
(NB this is a new school to the Whitchurch/Mityana link)
We woke up early today – it was the most important day. After a half hour bus drive we arrived at Ssekanyonyi Secondary School, where we immediately received a warm welcome by deputy head teacher. We then went to assembly and watched them singing and dancing. As always, we introduced ourselves, with great laughter from our crowd for being so tall.
After that, we met our buddies. They had to recruit some extras, as they had miscalculated, but all was good. We learnt a lot about our new friends by doing a quiz, immediately engaging with them. We were then given a tour of the school by the patriots, the Ugandan cadets that resided at the school. We saw the gardens, animals, classes and laboratories.
Next we took a lesson on East African history by a very good teacher. We learnt briefly about life before Uganda became a republic, and after we were dismissed we attended lunch – poshu and beans. At the start, it wasn’t too bad, but some of us had been given a lot and struggled to finish.
To work some of it off, we passed a rugby ball with some pupils and took pictures with literally everyone. We managed to prise ourselves away and attended first a meeting with the prefects and then a lesson in Ugandan, learning greetings and numbers.
Now was what we had all been waiting for: the water carrying. Luckily it wasn’t as far as we had thought, only 400 metres or so, and Nat was the first one to make it back, closely followed by Patrick and Venetia, the first girl.
With not even enough time to nurse our aching arms, we were hurried off (a further distance than the water), to the football and netball pitches. Now, we were expecting a friendly kick about, so got scared when numbers were placed and people changed into kit. It was a tiring game on a full sized pitch with the whole school watching, and went to penalties. Luckily, Team one won.
Back down at the school we presented presents to our buddies and said goodbye. However we only got as far as the gates, as Nat had lost his camera. Luckily somebody had it not far from the gates and we set off again.
All in all, a tiring but great day.
Day 5 Bulera
Today, after our 8:15 wake up and breakfast, we got into the buses for a very rocky journey and went to Bulera Primary school, as we pulled up to the school and the driver beeped his horn, the whole school rushed over yelling, clapping and singing to welcome us. The sight was astonishing! We were then led to a big tree in which we were to sit under for the assembly by a group of young dancers wearing straw skirts, and oh my, did they have talent! After getting comfy under the tree, the deputy then introduced himself and the headmistress told us abit about the school and about the struggles they faced. Soon after though, the school choir serenaded us with songs and dances, then the whole school sang the national anthem and the school anthem, we then got told it was our turn, and we had all stood up in front the school and sang God save the Queen, and we did pretty god to be honest! After that, we all split off into out separate groups and read the different classes a book each and did an activity with them which they loved, but inside the class rooms, we were all very surprised that they all sat and worked on the very dusty and dirty floor. After we’d taught our lessons, we then went for lunch at the top classroom, then after that, we went off in fours and painted a blackboard each except Livi, Nat, Archie and Lizzy who painted two! We cleaned ourselves up afterwards, then took some more pictures, played some more football then it was time for us to head back on the rocky road to the Deaf school.
The deaf school
On our way back, we dropped into the St Mary’s Deaf school in Mityana which was very very close to The Enro where we are staying, and which we were only going to stay a short while. We were greeted by a very smiley Harriet and Gladys, who as Livi’s sister taught at the school for four months, was extremely happy to see us! We entered the single room school, and it was so silent and i think it took us all by shock compared to the other schools we’d visited! We each stood up and introduced ourselves (the head teacher Olivia signing for us), and got given our sign names, which mainly seemed to be about our hair! After doing that and signing the visitor book, we made pipe wire bracelets with them and gave them little whiteboards so that they could communicate with us, they loved it! We also learned in sign/taught them ‘If you’re happy and you know it’ which i think we all enjoyed very much! After doing the song a few times over, we then went outside and gave all the students balloons which they all liked to rub against their face and pop. It was a very noisy affair but it was magical too see their faces with the balloons! After an emotion goodbye (for some), we left and had a 2 minute walk back to the hotel where we all had a nice shower, dinner, then went for our well earned rest.
Day 6 Ziira
On day 6 we travelled by bus to Ziira after a lie in, and this meant being driven by Juma, our lovely bus driver. On arrival, we were greeted with what seemed like thousands of screaming kids, excited to see us. We then signed the visitor’s book, and greeting songs then followed. We had two happy songs, but then one song about paying school fees, which involved some incredible acting, with kids crying genuine tears. Some of us didn’t believe it was acting but we were told it was. After that we got into our groups of 3, and told a different story to the ones we had already told during the week. Every book had an activity, and the kids were well entertained by these. The lion and the mouse story was told in two different classrooms, with Venetia leading one very well. Lunch was then served, with us having a feast, but the children looking through the window eating nothing. This was quite shocking for us. After lunch there was: football, netball, bubbles, and Tilly leading the hokey cokey song. Archie also invented a strange new game where the kids had to take a leaf off him, and then Archie would chase after them. This caused much excitement among the smaller kids. We were then lead to Ziira’s ‘football stadium’, which consisted of one goal on a bit of land. They were very proud of this.
In the evening, after having a long, cold shower, and some of us had visited the market, the drums finally arrived. Everybody wanted to play their drum, and there was chaos in the conference room! Dinner was pizza, and we all went to bed with tummies full of pizza and ears ringing from a drumming session
About the author
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