Monday, November 2, 2015

Back in Kamengo October 2015 - Education # 4

Rain has taken on a whole new meaning as we navigate through our daily life in Kamengo. The days are generally very hot and clear BUT sometimes it can rain with such intensity that it actually changes the daily schedule.  For example, Kate, Bonnie and Alex were teaching on Friday at St. Bruno's when the heavens opened and the rain came down. With a tin roof on the school classroom continuing teaching was not an option so many of the students (teacher included) put head on desk and took advantage of some down time. Alex, Bonnie and Kate were able to do some one on one with some of the students till the noise was too deafening to continue. Time came for the end of class and instead of releasing the students, class continued on - no point in ending class if the rain is so hard you cannot venture outside .... some 40 mins later ... the rain eased and students and teachers escaped out into the steamy sunshine.

Another consequence of the rain is the need for more appropriate footwear for us Muzungu (white folk) who have to down and up the hill to the guest house each day as the track becomes very very muddy and slippery after rain. And so taking a lesson from the boys who live up at the house (Moses, Sharif and Joseph), we invested in rubber boots (which we will leave at the guesthouse for others). The boots are not the most fashionable, but they are certainly saving our shoes - which picked up more mud each step we took so by halfway up or down hill it felt like we had very heavy snowshoes on! Alex and Joseph about to tackle the hill.

Each time we visit Kamengo we try and organize a field trip for some of the kids - unfortunately we cannot take all 155 of them but we manage to take close 35 across 3 minivans. Chris has to decide which if the children and youth have been working hard at school, have been participating in AZBGC programs and have contributed to the cleanliness and maintenance of the centre.  It is not an easy decision as the children, understandably, all want to come. On Saturday we took a field trip to "Freedom City" which is a huge playground inside a shopping mall. It had bouncy castles, swimming pools, trampolines and other great play fixtures and our 35 children and youth had a great time. we were scheduled to leave the AZBGC at 9am but students were here at 7am ready to go! Luckily the Freedom City allowed us to bring in our own food as buying food for the large group would be prohibitive. Jimmy and his helpers got started cooking at 6am and we were able to take a large bin of rice, veges and meat and a smaller bin of rice and veges for those students who do not eat meat.

Saturday evening was a big celebration in Kamengo - two of the students sponsored by the AZBGC were celebrating their graduation from University.  Jimmy Kawooya and Pius Jjemba celebrated with friends and family and welcomed guests (US). It was a great evening where people made speeches and danced and did performances in honour of Jimmy and Pius who were fully robed and sitting in the centre with Jimmy's father and Pius's mother.  It was interesting to be part of a celebration into the night that was fuels totally by soda pop - no alcohol - it was great.

Sunday is cleaning day at the centre and the youth come after church to clean the floors, do the washing and generally make the centre sparkle. Students young and old chip in and it seems that everyone has a job and knows what they are meant to be doing. In the afternoon Linda ran a workshop for the older youth who are exploring ways that they might be able to set up businesses in the future to enable them an income. Alex and Bonnie followed with a workshop on communication and leadership for those students in senior high school who have the responsibility for ensuring the AZBGC programs continue to run throughout the year.

After the Sunday workshops I attended a meeting of the Kamengo Care for Life committee with Chris – all conducted in Luganda but none the less, it was an important sign of respect that I attend the they all were very gracious about the work we are doing.  Care for Life is a group of parents who are working with the Agnes Zabali Boys and Girls Club to ensure the youth and vulnerable people in Kamengo are ensured health, education and safety. They are our partners for the CACHA medical missions and, in due course, for our educational missions.

The highlight of Sunday afternoon was a basketball challenge – university students (home for the weekend to celebrate the graduation of Jimmy & Pius) versus everyone else. Keith gallantly stepped up as our representative and the play was fierce.

1 comment: