I was disturbed by a lot of pinging on my phone and wondered who would be sending so many messages. I was surprised but delighted to find that Tilly, our well-travelled Terrier, was getting more messages through to me. It is amazing that, even though, as the crow flies, Tilly is 4345 miles away, that we can still keep in touch and find out what everyone has been doing in Kamuli. I have copied, below, extracts from Tilly’s diary.
If you want to find out about Rolex, no, not watches but a Ugandan street food, a blindfold trick played on Mrs Ironside, the needs for beds due to rats, our teachers buying Ugandan clothes, keeping head lice under controI, seeing the Ugandan President, singing songs, thunder and lightning storms and lots more, then start reading Tilly’s diary now! I hope you enjoy finding out about Tilly’s Trip to Uganda.
Monday 10th October 2016
I got up at 7am so I could meet all the other travellers for breakfast at 8am. Today we are travelling to Kamuli but first we went into Kampala so that we could buy some food and drinks for the journey. We were travelling by bus and the roads were very bumpy. We left the hotel at 10am and finally arrived in Kamuli at 7pm. On our way we made a brief stop in Jinja so that we could see the Nile river, later in the week we will go back so we can see the source of the Nile.
The journey was very hot and quite uncomfortable. Becaus, clearing rubblee of the bumpy roads Miss Arnott almost bumped her head on the roof of the bus! Traffic was very busy and there were quite a few near misses! It was dark by the time we reached the hotel. We had a drink and Mrs Ironside met the Headteacher from Kamuli School. We were all exhausted and I was in bed asleep by 10pm.
Tuesday 11th October 2016
I had a reasonable night’s sleep only broken by the sound of a pack of dogs barking (I was going to join in but Mrs Ironside said no!) and a cockerel crowing at 3.30 am and then again a 5am. Mrs ironside was wondering if we could have chicken for tea tonight! (She was a bit grumpy and hoped the cockerel would be silenced by tomorrow, I am not sure what she meant. We we travelled by mini bus to Kamuli Township Primary School. The welcome we received was amazing. We were met at the school gates by a sea of children dressed in pink. Pink is the colour of the school uniform, Mrs Ironside thought it looked very pretty. The welcome party included a group of children dancing a traditional Ugandan dance. Mrs Ironside was asked to lead everyone to the assembly area (the weather is so good that they have their assemblies outside). The headteacher welcomed all the visitors to his school and then the children sang the Ugandan national anthem, it sounded beautiful.
A young girl then led the school in prayers do then much to her surprise Mrs Ironside was handed the microphone and asked to address the children and staff on behalf of the visitors. Mrs Ironside thanked everyone for their warm welcome and told everyone how delighted she was to be in Kamuli School.
We then went to a large unused classroom where there were lots of introductions and more entertaining dancers.
Then the headteacher led all the visitors on a tour of the school. One part of the school building was being repaired because a recent storm had blown the roof off, fortunately none of the children were in the building at the time. We visited the headteacher’s office, this led to Mrs Ironside saying she would never moan about her office again. I’ll have rot remember to remind her next time.
Mrs Ironside, Miss Rowley and Miss Arnott visited every class in the school. They also saw the school lunch being prepared, played a game with the children (although the children and staff played a trick on Mrs Ironside. The game was to b blindfolded and then walk quickly in a straight line. Before the game started and after she was blindfolded they pointed Mrs Ironside in the wrong direction. Mrs Ironside thought this was very funny – good job she has a sense of humour.
We then visited the dormitories, some of the girls sleep on a mattress on the floor. This is not very good as rats run over the children whilst they are sleeping, this is something that Mrs Ironside said we would have to fix (since then all the travellers have agreed to fund new beds for the girls before we go home).
We very briefly saw the bore hole pump. We will see more of it tomorrow.
Finally we were privileged to see more entertainment, had chats with the teachers and head teacher.
Mrs Ironside got so caught up she did not take any pictures! She promises she will take lots tomorrow.
After school we bought street food called ‘Rolex’ (no it’s not a watch). it was delicious! It is an omelette wrapped in a Chapatti.
In the evening we all chatted about our day and then off to bed
Wednesday 12th October 2016
Mrs Ironside got up very early today as she, Miss Rowley and Miss Arnott went to a market to get measured for traditional Ugandan clothes. They are looking forward to sharing these with you when they get home.
When we arrived at school we enjoyed some more traditional dance.
Mrs Ironside then ‘presented’ the school with the bore hole, she got to pump the first water from it. It was a very special moment.
We then got to meet the children. Mrs Ironside spoke with lots of boys and girls – most of them had not eaten that day 😔. Miss Rowley taught a group of older girls Health & Wellbeing, it was all about how their bodies changed as they got older. Miss Arnott joined a primary 2 class for a lesson about keeping themselves safe. The lessons here are very different, there is a lot of class chanting,copying from the board and repeating key phrases – no active learning at all!
They have cows that wander around the playground – Mrs Ironside asked about these and they are kept at school because they are given to staff to eat for their Christmas lunch! I barked at them but they were not frightened at all. At Kamuli school the children have very short cropped or shaved hair (including the girls) this is part of the school uniform and keeps head lice under control.
Mrs Ironside, Miss Arnott and Miss Rowley then walked back to school with some of the other travellers. It was very hot today so this was very tiring, especially with my shaggy coat.
Mrs Ironside remembered to take some pictures today, the boys were so happy to see me.
Thursday 13th October 2016
Today I visited two schools, Mrs Ironside took me to Kamuli School in the morning. We got a chance to join the children in the class. First of all we were with a Primary 1 class of 72 children. The children were learning how to make English words mean more than 1 ie 1 car and 2 cars. The lesson lasted over an hour and the children were very well behaved. The teacher initially read the singular of the words and the children chanted them back. Then they did the same with the plural words, finally they did a whole class task of completing a sentence using the plural words. This was an oral activity so we did not see the children writing. Mrs Ironside asked some of the boys and girls to have their photograph taken with me and they were more than happy to oblige.
Then it was break time so we went outside to play with the boys and girls.
Next we joined a Primary 3 class, they were doing a maths lesson on fractions. The teacher wanted the children to order fractions from largest to smallest, they drew pictures of rectangles and shaded the fractions to help the children to do this – the children were very good at this.
Finally we visited another P3 class where the children were learning to spell simple words ie play, and then demonstrate they understood their meaning by acting them out and then including them in a sentence – they did this as a class and then all copied down the sentences they had created. Then it was lunch time so we left Kamuli school and travelled the short journey to Bezallel School.
We were very warmly welcomed by everyone at Bezallel. Mrs Ironside explained that Bezallel school was twinned with Riverbank a long time ago and although we don’t support them with money any more they are still our very good friends and this was very clear.
Mrs Ironside and I joined a P1 class who were learning about the letters of the English alphabet. They were learning their names and how to write the letters properly. The teacher played games, got the children to chant and got them to write the letters in the air, on the blackboard and in their jotters. Then another teacher came in and taught the children the days of the week and how to spell them.
There was a little time at the end of the lesson so Mrs Ironside taught the children Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes and also how to play Heads Down Thumbs Up – she really enjoyed that.
The children then had an afternoon break so we went out to play again. Mrs Ironside took me to see the Riverbank school badge on the wall. We took a picture of Bezallel children with the Riverbank school badge.
We then joined the children for a ring game, which involved some dancing similar to the Gay Gordon’s. Mrs Ironside thoroughly enjoyed it but was very hot and sweaty afterwards.
Next we joined a P4 class for a comprehension lesson. The teacher read a line of the story from the text book and the children would chant it back. Then the children read the whole passage out loud together. The teacher then discussed the questions with the class. Independently the children wrote the answers in their jotters. Mrs Ironside went round marking them, she was exhausted marking 43 jotters at the same time. We then had to leave Bezallel as there was a heavy downpour due and the clay road would not be able to cope with the heavy bus after the rain!
I also learned about flowers as a way of giving praise (Mrs Ironside will show you when we get home) and the various claps and chants used by the teachers and children to control behaviour ie you are very welcome – clap,clap,clap,clap,clap,clap,clap!
Friday 14th October 2016
Today we were going to distribute snack to all the children at Kamuli Township School, all 2000 of them, but when we arrived we discovered that all the P4 – P7 children were not in the school. The President of Uganda was visiting Kamuli and the older children were part of a welcoming party.
Mrs Ironside, Miss Arnott and Miss Rowley and I decided to stay at school and wait to see thePpresident drive past and it was a very long wait! We waited for 4 hours to see him but it was worth the wait to have the Ugandan President wave at us! Because there a very few white people in Uganda the President’s security were a little suspicious of us but John the headteacher explained who we were and they were fine with that, but we were not allowed to take pictures of the President or his security (lots of men in balaclavas with guns). While we were waiting. We kept busy painting blackboards, cleaning up rubble from the derelict buildings and (this was Mrs Ironside’s favourite bit) singing with the P1 – P3 children. Mrs Ironside, Miss Rowley, Miss Arnott and I sang 5 little speckled frogs and Music Man to name a few. Mrs Ironside particularly enjoyed Music Man as she taught the children a particularly Scottish version.
After we saw the president we walked through town and stopped at a local pub for a soft drink and I had a bowl of water.
Saturday 15th October 2016
There was no school so we were tourists for the day.
We got up early and had planned to leave at 8.30 so we could drive to Jinja for the day but our bus had a flat tyre so we had to get it fixed. We eventually left at 9.30 for the hour long trip to JInja. The roads were very bumpy and the bus seats had very little padding! Mrs Ironside keeps commenting that she has her own natural padding but that this does not seem to help! She lets me sit on her knee so it is not too bad for me.
On the way we stopped at the bank to exchange money. They have security guards with guns! I was going to bark at them. Mrs Ironside said not to and that I needed to behave myself.
Everyone is so friendly here as we drive to our destinations; the children we pass (and some adults too) wave to us. Mrs Ironside says she feels like the queen waving all the time – she will have to stop that when she gets home.
On our journey and around out hotel we see lots of chickens, goats and cows but we have only seen 1 dog, so you can imagine, I am very unique and popular here!
We did a little shopping and then went on a boat trip on the Nile where we saw lots of lizards, birds and even some monkeys. We also got to see the place that is the source of the Nile and where the Nile meets Lake Victoria. Once we disembarked from the boat we saw a monument dedicated to Mahatma Ghandi, who spent a lot of time in Uganda fighting for people’s rights.
On the way back from. JInja to Kamuli it began to rain. The temperature has been about 35 degrees so the rain was a very welcome cool down. When we got back to Kamuli we witnessed a fabulous thunderstorm! We went into town which by this time was more dark than usual because there was a power cut – the lightning was spectacular in the dark.
There are regular power cuts here so I am so glad Mrs Ironside brought a torch
RRSA / UNCRC
Article 24 – Every child has the right to the best possible health. Governments must work to provide good quality health care, clean water, nutritious food and a clean environment so that children can stay healthy. Richer countries must help poorer countries achieve this.
Article 27 – Every child has the right to a standard of living that is good enough to meet their physical, social and mental needs. Governments must help families who cannot afford to provide this.
Article 28 – Every child has the right to an education. Primary education must be free. Secondary education must be available for every child. Discipline in schools must respect children’s dignity. Richer countries must help poorer countries achieve this.
Article 29 – Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment.
Article 30 – Every child has the right to learn and use the language, customs and religion of their family, regardless of whether these are shared by the majority of the people in the country where they live.
Article 31 – Every child has the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities.