Hi everyone, Larry the Leopard here again. Today was all about me and rightly so. I was up at the crack of dawn as I thought I heard a lion, but it was only Mr Stanley snoring. He really annoyed me all day. He insists on having a shower where he pours a bottle of cold water all over himself and then makes a sound like a dying hippo. Then he shaves the bum fluff on his face; he’s trying to grow a beard, but he’s got another thing coming if he wants to grow a proper beard like Mr Burford.
After waiting an age for Mr Stanley and his friends to finish breakfast, we finally set off for Kafuro. I was so excited about returning to my spiritual homeland. Mr Stanley and Steve kept making us stop to take photos, but even I have to admit that they were worthwhile. They discovered that the people in the rural communities have a unique way of keeping elephants away from their crops; they build bee hives on the fences. The elephants don’t like the bees because they fly up their trunks and sting them so they decide to stay away. The villagers also have some money from the honey that they sell so they are very happy. Mr Stanley and Steve were also talking about the fact that there were now tractors in the fields and that the level of cultivation had grown. There were cotton crops growing in the fields that we saw.
When we reached the village of Kafuro the villagers came out on to the streets to wave at me. I responded with a wag of my tail. Then we arrived at the school. Yowasi was delighted to see me and gave me a big hug. This reminded me of those long winter nights when he was in freezing England and I gave him comfort. The children all came running out of their classrooms dying to see me. Fortunately, Mr Stanley held me high so I could wave to my adoring public.
I was introduced to the new headteacher, Winfred and she told Yowasi to give me a tour of the school. A lot has changed in a year. Winfred has paid out of her own money for the school to build a new kitchen replacing the old hut they used to have. Yowasi is also organising his children to grow crops of sweet potatoes. Unfortunately there hasn’t been as much rain as he would’ve liked so the potatoes haven’t grown as big as expected. Yowasi also showed everyone the trees that the teachers planted last year. The trees that Rebecca and Tara had planted had grown enormously and were both about eight feet tall. However the tree that Mr Stanley had planted was pathetic; it was only about 30cm tall. Mr Stanley tried to make excuses saying that his tree was building a broad base, but I just laughed at him. Talking about laughing, Stu’s tree was even more abysmal. Some goats had broken into the school site and eaten some of it so it looked like a big twig.
After the tour of the school we retired to the headteacher’s office for something to eat and drink (sweet bread and warm milk) while Winfred told me about her plans for the school. She wants to build a school library and also staff quarters so that the staff don’t have to travel so far to school in the morning. Next, we went to assembly. The assembly started with the school choir singing a lovely welcome song, then it was time for national anthems with Denis, the head boy of Kafuro Primary school singing the Ugandan national anthem. He was quite brilliant! Next, Mr Stanley had to stand up and sing the British national anthem. The less said about that the better! All I can say is that the others in the party tried to increase his embarrassment by standing behind him and mouthing the words. I thought it was hilarious. Worse was to come. Stu insisted on singing the Scottish national anthem, some dirge about sending the English homeward to think again. I don’t think Mr Stanley and Steve were too impressed; they kept looking at each other and making comments about the only battle that Scotland ever won.
After this, there were many speeches. One of the Ugandan teachers, Moris, was the MC and he asked Yowasi and Winfred to speak first. They both spoke eloquently and with wit. Unfortunately, Mr Stanley had to speak next. I know the Twinning Project now think they’re African but he took it to extremes. He spoke for ages! To be fair to him he remembered to thank the right people and he paid appropriate tribute to the children of Liss Junior School. He had a very special present for the children of Kafuro Primary School of some Top Trumps cards which were bought by George and Isobel Davy. He presented them to Denis, the head boy. Denis was so pleased that he nearly cried and he gave Mr Stanley a big hug! No one in Mr Stanley’s class in the UK would ever do that! Denis is going to show Mr Stanley how the children use the cards tomorrow.
After the speeches were finished there was music from the children of Kafuro. At first there was a cultural dance. There were drummers from the school pounding out a rhythm and all the children were clapping to the beat. Next, the dancers appeared and they danced non-stop for about fifteen minutes. Mr Stanley looked exhausted just watching them. Yoawasi pulled me out to dance and I was stamping my feet and shaking my tail. The children loved it! After this, the children sang ‘I have a dream’ by ABBA. Last year Mrs Goodyear sent Mr Stanley out with the music and lyrics. The children of Kafuro have learned it and there were several people in the Tinning Project who were blubbing throughout the performance. You know who you are!
Lunchtime followed next and we were served fish and chips Ugandan style. Yowasi gave a speech about how it was his favourite food in the UK. After lunch I went to visit all of my friends on the Kafuro staff and received a rapturous welcome. I promised them that we would return tomorrow and Mr Stanley made some comments about having a serious chat with Yowasi about planning and computers.
The drama for the day was not over. On the way home Mr Stanley took some photos of football pitches so that CM sports have somewhere to train children if they go to Uganda next year. The Sauna Wagon also found time to break down again by a viewpoint in Kyambura. Mr Stanley and Stu went an awfully red colour when they had to push the bus.
Tomorrow I return to Kafuro with Mr Stanley while the others go to a school called Nyakatonzi which is twinned with Herne Junior School.