Diary of a rookie ranger – Day 2

This title may become nil and void now as my jottings will be anecdotal from the whole trip so far.

During the night I was woken by the sound of something munching in the garden. With my well trained ear and ranger knowledge, I assumed it was an elephant. The background noise of the crickets and frogs are really soothing and it wasn’t long before I could get back to sleep. (An improvement from last year, in that I hardly slept for the fortnight). It didn’t seem long before it was time to get up and face the ‘cup of water’ shower. I was full of joy and excitement as I recalled the cold, brown water of last year that one had to throw over oneself with a plastic cup. It was a very pleasant surprise to find that the water had become clearer since last year. Not quite so brown, but definitely freezing cold. I was told by a more experienced ranger last year that cockroaches cannot climb up. So I was very surprised to see Mr Cockroach clinging to my towel. Luckily I spotted him before I needed to use it!

Whilst waiting for breakfast to arrive at Tembo, Mr Stanley called upon my ranger eyes to identify any animals that were ‘out and about’ (technical wildlife term). I reliably informed him that there were hippo playing on the other side of the Kazinga Channel. I also corrected his mistakenly identified crocodile was actually a small tuft of grass drifting across the water. We were joined for breakfast by some Banded Mongoose and a few Maribou Stork. After breakfast at Tembo (toast, honey and fruit juice), we made our way to Kafuro Primary School, picking Jess Mitchell up on the way.

On the way to Kafuro, as we got closer to the village, we passed through the fields of crops that are worked by the children’s parents. One of the fields had many Crested Cranes (the National Symbol of Uganda). I had never seen so many in one spot. They were taking part in ‘Lecking’ (another technical wildlife term) and were choosing themselves partners. Not long after, we arrived at Kafuro Primary School. It was so nice to be welcomed by Yowasi, the staff and pupils again.

One of my first activities was to introduce the pupils to the two tablets we had brought with us. I demonstrated some of the main functions that they may find useful in their lessons and for reporting news on the blog. Afterwards, I introduced them to some games. One of these was the ‘Simon’ game. This is game of 4 colours. The computer selects a sequence to play the colours and sounds and you have to copy it. The sequence begins with just one colour and adds one on each time. I was very surprised and amused to find the children had difficulty with the concept. What did impress me was how they shared the tablet in large groups and helped each other. They also showed great resilience and determination as they eventually mastered the game.

I was delighted to find that school dinners today was Tilapia! Wow, yum and brilliant Yowasi. Tilapia is caught from the lake that supplies the school and the villagers with water.

In the afternoon, I was delighted to see that the children were wanting to demonstrate their work with the Roamers. I had given them an introductory lesson last year, which appeared to appeal to the whole community! The children had clearly worked hard and are well on their way to mastering the programming of the roamers. They had set themselves a challenging course to navigate the roamers through. After some team work and trial and error, they were very successful. It was very obvious that the roamers had been used a lot by the very worn keypads and how proficient the children were in using them.

On our way back to Mweya, we stopped at Katunguru Primary School to visit Ramathan. No sooner had we been requested to take our seats in the shade, than 4 pre-school age children came to say hello. Their ages appeared to range from 1yr – 4yrs. I had 2 of them climb upon my lap and it was not long at all before our bond had been formed. They were fascinated with my hair and enjoyed the interaction despite being 2 completely different languages. I would have happily taken either or both home with me!

Back to Mweya for dinner and to contemplate the following day’s activities.

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