Today was our first day at Kafuro and it necessitated another early start. We were up at 6.00am and down at Tembo for breakfast just after 7.00am. Joining us for our trip to Kafuro this morning was Mrs Lodge (Rebecca) who has just left Clanfield. She was going to be leading some SRE education about reusable sanitary pads. Lack of adequate female sanitation leads to high absenteeism rates in Uganda, so Mrs Lodge was going to provide some invaluable advice and resources.
The journey up to Kafuro took an hour and twenty minutes; we arrived at the school at 9.30am. Yowasi and Richard, the headteacher, were there to greet us and to sort out the program for the day.
The first activity was a whole school assembly. I had the absolute pleasure of distributing medals to the triumphant Kafuro Conservation Cup team. They were very proud to receive the medals (which had generously been sponsored by CM Sports) and wore their medals all day. I gave a speech relating how important the partnership was to the community at Liss and how the children had raised money through icepop sales to buy various items for the Kafuro children to use. The children absolutely loved the chess sets and were incredibly anxious to use them – more on that later. They were also delighted to receive two brand new tablets especially with the chess apps I had loaded on to them. Larry the leopard was mobbed by the children and we didn’t see much of him during the day as many of the younger children wanted to hold him.
Last year we supplied the Kafuro scouts with uniforms and Mrs Prior had worked tirelessly to secure new uniforms and lots of badges and neckers this year. Muhudi Muwanga, who was the scout leader last year, has unfortunately left the school, but came back specially just for the day. Because there are so many badges and neckers, we are going to meet the District Scout Officer next week to ensure the goodies are distributed fairly among the whole district.
After the assembly had finished Mrs Lodge and Mrs Green went to talk to the girls about the reusable sanitary pads while I went to set up the P7 class for the Kafuro premiere of Queen of Katwe. Steve Peach had provided me with a brilliant little projector to show the film and projected on to a piece of flipchart paper, the quality was excellent. Unfortunately, the sound left a bit to be desired, but so long as the children listened carefully they could hear what was going on.
It was fascinating watching the children watch the film. The Ugandan sense of humour is different from that of the UK so, although the film is fairly serious, they laughed in different places and found things hilarious which had left Liss children cold. Every twenty minutes, I stopped the film and asked the children questions about the film itself or the characters. They were fairly slow to respond because of their shyness. I call this the three-day rule because it takes the children three days to overcome their shyness and start speaking English confidently as opposed to the local Rukiga language. At the end of the film, I asked the children whether they thought it was a true reflection of Uganda and the children were unanimous that it was highly accurate.
For those people who don’t know anything about the film, it is about a girl called Phionah Mutusi finds a way out of poverty through the game of chess under the tutelage of a man called Robert Katende. I have managed to organise a question and answer session over the phone with Robert tomorrow, which we are all excited about.
The children wrote simple film reviews, which covered three aspects:
- What the film was about
- Their thoughts on some of the main characters
- Their overall impression of the film.
Considering that the children had never written a film review before, I was quite impressed with the standard of a number of them; I will type some over the next few days to appear on the blog.
The children were desperate to play chess so we set up the boards, gave them some basic instructions and they were soon away. Some of the children have played draughts quite a lot, so they needed some encouragement to use the chess pieces properly, but they were getting there by the end of the day.
The three of us left Kafuro just after 5.00pm and began the drive home. It was at this point that I received the best news of the day. We saw two surveyors on the Kyambura – Katunguru road who told me they they would be relaying and tarmacking the road properly next month. Although this is too late for this trip, if it means that next year I get to drive on smooth roads, then I will be delighted.
When we got back to Mweya, we went down to dinner at Tembo with the others to share the stories of the day. Safari Ben, one of the rangers had come down to talk to Joe Williams and had brought his sons with him. The eldest was wearing a Farnborough Town top! Mrs Green and I had been talking about Mr Burford during the day because it was his suggestion (before he retired) that we introduce Kafuro children to chess. To see a Farnborough Town top (who Mr Burford supports – some say he obsesses over) was surely not a coincidence, so I took a photo and sent it to Mr Burford. Within minutes, I had a reply from Mr Burford, who just happened to be at a Farnborough Town pre-season friendly, saying how pleased he was that there was a Ugandan fan club and asking where the lad had got the shirt from. Upon asking, we found out that the shirt was bought in Kampala and he was very pleased to have a fellow supporter. By the way, Farnborough won their friendly 3 – 1, so Mr Burford went home a happy man!
Tomorrow we’re going back to Kafuro where we have several meetings planned and we are going to spend some more time teaching the children to play chess.