Uganda 2017 Day 6: The rainy season reaches Kafuro

The day started with a set of departures. All but one of the early arrivals were leaving Hippo House and heading back east. Only Calum, who is on his first trip to Uganda, was staying and we were due to move into Hippo House in the evening. On Saturday, we will be meeting some of the others at the Uganda vs Zimbabwe rugby match in Kampala, but Amy, Liz, Meg and Joe are all flying home before then.

After saying ‘goodbye’ to the others at breakfast, Mrs Green and I drove up to Kafuro. Again, we arrived by 9.30am to be greeted by Richard the headteacher. We were meeting with him, Yowasi and representatives from the board of governors and the PTA. The children of Liss had donated £100 of their fundraising efforts to putting on a roof for two new classrooms, but when we arrived the roofs had been completed. It was therefore my job to ensure that the children’s money was spent wisely and appropriately. The Kafuro representatives explained how the floors needed levelling and a concrete floor installed. The inner and outer walls also needed render applying, some walls needed finishing and window frames needed fitting. I felt that this was an appropriate use of the children’s money and released the funds. If anyone is in any doubt as to how much Liss Junior School is loved in Kafuro, they should have sat in on that meeting. The representatives fully appreciated that it was money raised by Liss children and wished to pass on their heartfelt thanks to all of them. They also wanted to pass on their gratitude to Mrs Myers and the Liss governors for allowing the school to continue their ‘special relationship’ with Kafuro. Many speeches were made and I was asked to relay the thanks of the whole Kafuro community to everyone in Liss.

The meeting concluded, Mrs Green and I went to see P7 to continue their chess education. Mrs Green led a session about all the different chess pieces, their function and their value. The children then started to pay games while we helped with advice on how to move the pieces. It was amazing to see how quickly the children picked up the skills and by the end of the session some of the children were becoming good. Mrs Green and I ran a demonstration game, which turned into a tight tactical battle rather than our usual bloodbaths. Amazingly, I actually won for once!

We stopped for lunch, which was tilapia and chips (yum,) before we went to meet one of the Kafuro women’s craft groups. We had supported them last year by buying their crafts on behalf of the Twinning project and paying for them to have training from a more established women’s group. Because the others had purchased crafts from the women’s group at Katunguru with Twinning project funds, we were unable to help them in that way, but Mrs Green and I both made small donations to help them rent a room at Kyambura for a month from which they could sell their wares – Kyambura gets lots of tourists passing through.

After this meeting, we returned to school to call Robert Katende, one of the people on which the film Queen of Katwe is based. The children had prepared questions and he was a perfect gentleman spending lots of time answering them thoroughly. I also had the opportunity to ask Robert a question: I asked him what it was like seeing yourself portrayed on film by an actor, in this case the British actor, David Oyelowo. He was very complimentary about Oyelowo and the film in general saying it was 97% accurate. I made him laugh by saying that I didn’t think that David Oyelowo was good looking enough to play him, then told him how proud I was that a British actor had been chosen to play someone as inspirational as him. It looks like there is a very strong chance that Robert Katende will visit the school later in the year, which would be amazing.

Our final engagement of the day was with the second Kafuro women’s craft group. We received a rapturous welcome with singing and dancing. We were even given our own chicken which looks like it’s going to be lunch tomorrow. However, just as the presentations began, the mother of all storms hit Kafuro. The locals were delighted saying that we had brought God’s blessings – there has been drought in Uganda this year. For an hour there was lightning and nearly two centimetres of rain fell. This was potentially a real problem as this type of rain turns the roads to mud which makes driving very difficult. I’d had a very scary experience driving in those conditions last year and I didn’t want to repeat it. Fortunately, one slide apart, the road was ok so long as I drove very slowly. Once we left Kafuro conditions began to improve and although we were over an hour late home, we made it back safely.

Tomorrow, we are making another early start to go to Kasese for fuel and supplies; visiting another school briefly; and then heading to Kafuro for baking pizzas and bread in the cob oven.

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