Life in Kamengo this time round is moving far more slowly than when we were part of the medical mission but never the less - it is just as engaging. I have had some difficulty uploading to the blog but will try and do so every couple of days.
We are adapting to the climate and the pace - we have visited most of the schools that the 155 students whose school fees are supported by the Agnes Boys and Girls Ottawa Committee. It is great to see the students in their own learning environment but also an abrupt wake-up call to see the amazingly difficult contexts within which theses students study each day. It is truly humbling to be invited into such an experience and to witness students so hungry to learn, even in the most uncomfortable physical situations. Mud floors, very cramped classrooms and no resources - yet the smiles and motivation to learn shine through.
We have begun to develop relationships with a few teachers at St. Bruno's High School - Kate and Bonnie are working with the Math teacher (Peter Mutebi - a graduate of the AZBG) with the senior classes, Alex is working with an english teacher (Alice) and I am working with the Geography teacher (Stephen). We are starting slowing and building positive relationships. St. Bruno's is a Catholic private school - classes in some cases are huge (72, 68) all sitting 5 - 6 to a desk in a room the same size as our classrooms in Canada, and, resources are scarce. Those of us working with students at school need to adjust to having no power and no technology! This is something we have to think through and plan for when we begin bringing teacher candidates over on regular practicum.
At St. Mark's High School (public school so better resourced from government) there is a classroom full of brand new computers but no teacher. The Ugandan Government has recently mandated that all students should graduate with ICT competency and there is a curriculum BUT they are only just introducing ICT as a subject in teachers' college so there are no trained teachers. We are going along there later today after our teaching in St. Anne's Primary School to speak with the principal about us doing workshops for students while we are here. All of us could cover basic computing skills and offer a few sessions for senior students.
Last weekend Kate, Alex and Bonnie ran a leadership workshop with the students at the centre and amongst the activities were challenges to start in a big circle with hands linked and tangle and untangle yourself without braking hands - a great hit with the students who seemed very good at tangling themselves into a pretty tight knot and then using creative ways to untangle themselves, including what you see in the photo with Paskali being lifted above the knot - with hands no longer linked though!
What is by far the most popular Agnes Zabali Boys & Girls Club activity is also Jimmy's favourite - basketball. Coach Miiro does not go easy on the youth as he puts them through their drills before any practice games. The students are super motivated as four of the older students (1 boy and 3 girls) have been awarded Basketball Scholarships to high schools in Kampala so sport is more than just fun for these youth - it is a potential way of receiving a good education.