Despite our visit not being in typical Ugandan rainy season, we woke to another thunderstorm, with torrential rain that had been falling since at least 2am. In some ways the rain was a blessing – all the buildings we used had roofs of corrugated metal and sweltering hot doesn’t quite cover the temperatures reached even quite early in the day. The rain at least made for a cooler day!
Our first venue was Busiiro Primary School where the outside walls of all the classrooms had been painted with diagrams and information for the children to learn. There was the alphabet, an eye, skeleton, lung, kidney and many more alongside HIV information.
We waited whilst the children assembled to recite the Lord’s Prayer in English, and then waited outside our allocated classroom whilst the children carried desk after desk after desk outside. How on earth they’d all been shoe-horned in is something of a mystery. The children carried their desks and books outside and set them down under a tree and had their lesson there. We complain of overcrowding in UK classrooms, but we’ve not got a patch on Uganda – the photo below shows one single class of pupils.
We started rather a riot over balloons. We’d blow one up and bat it into the air, and the initially tentative children would flock round screaming and yelling with excitement and desperate to catch a balloon, whereupon they’d run off with their treasure which would promptly burst under the strain, provoking more screams of excitement.
The roads to Kituto Primary School were absolutely appalling. The torrential rain had worn great trenches across the road, along with enormous potholes. The bus often tilted to fairly white knuckle angles, and several times we felt it skid, but our remarkable driver negotiated them all with skill.
When we arrived a weaving class were sitting on the soaking wet grass without any complaint or visible sign of discomfort. The children were using strips torn from plastic bags interwoven with the rushes to give the vibrant colouring.
We examined the potential classrooms available first, and when I turned back to the bus to begin fetching the equipment I could see dozens of children congregating around the back of the bus in a semi-circle still some 6 feet away from it, and all clearly quivering with excitement. Suddenly one child would shove another child nearer, who would give a shout of panic and run round to the back of the group! Moments later another child would be shoved nearer and again panic and run away. Oh for a video camera!!