Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A primary school with Little

Monday’s highlight was the visit to a small school that has an interesting history. Four years ago the government decreed that the village children must attend a school about seven kilometers from their home as they had no school of their own.

The reaction of the community was swift and totally cooperative. Kiiza George, (the same Kiiza George who is headmaster of Kasenyi Primary School where we were on Saturday), donated a plot of land right next to his home. He also led a community group of parents to develop a plan for the physical structure. Grass thatch was collected in large quantities and lumber was purchased. A school of sorts went up, and then the government employed teachers to work in the Universal Primary Education program that provides free schooling to youngsters. Over a hundred children were enrolled, some fifty of them AIDS orphans being cared for by relatives or neighbours. We visited the school in 2007 and found mud, sticks and thatch divided into three rooms. No desks, no tables, not much at all. We gave each child a toy and some writing materials, as well as a ‘t’ shirt and left behind sufficient cash for some metal roofing to be purchased.

Meanwhile all the parents made bricks in their own or neighbour’s kilns and in later 2007 and early 2008 a brick building was standing. For mortar the local mud, which they call murram, was used, and another donor helped with metal roofing for this building as well. More toys arrived, including a whole bunch of knitted teddy bears made by the Saskatoon ladies group Teddies For Tragedies and some football uniforms for the school 1st XI. Our cash was used to buy desks.

This year we sat and enjoyed a super concert and some traditional dancing. Leighton again wowed the audience, pupils and staff alike, with his rendition of his composition “Uganda Is the Pearl Of Africa”. His guitar was a big hit with this little boy,
who could hardly tear himself away form the instrument and spent a long time strumming it as Leighton changed the fingering.

Gift highlights this year were teddies for the very youngest, who had not been at school last year, cloth tote bags for all the children and letters from many primary school children in Canada.

Then the soccer match. This time just ten minutes each way, but still enough to lose by 1-0, although Leighton came really close with a long range blast that shaved the cross bar. It was fitting that George’s eldest son scored the winner with a scorching header. Man U look out!

This little school needs so much that it is difficult to know where to start. George gave us a list of the most pressing needs so we will have to see what we can do once we have our donations totted up.

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