Uganda 2014 Day 6: The day of the Roamer

The day didn’t start well. Anxious to get away to Kafuro after a really good day yesterday we were delayed by two things. Firstly, breakfast at Tembo took an eternity to arrive which meant that it was an hour and a half until we were able to think about leaving. Then, to make matters worse, a bird got trapped in Steve’s and my bedroom and we had to encourage it to find a way out. This took more time.

Eventually we left Mweya, dropped Steve and Jan off at Katunguru and headed up to Kafuro arriving at about midday. We went straight into class and Mrs Green took the reins for the roamer lesson. We started the lesson off by modelling a set of commands. Mrs Green would call out Forward 3, Turn right 180, Forward 2 and Jess from the Banded Mongoose Project (who had enjoyed herself so much the previous day that she returned) and I would carry out her instructions. I was grateful that Mrs Green knew what she was doing and didn’t instruct me to walk into a wall! We soon had the children doing the same and before too long they were really getting the hang of it.

The next step was to get the children working the roamer. Mrs Green put instructions how to draw a square onto the chalkboard and I then programmed the roamer. We laid out sheets from the flipchart we had brought on the concrete floor and fixed them with masking tape. As expected the roamer drew a perfect square and the children became very excited. We put the children into pairs and asked them to write a programme to draw a square, rectangle or triangle on their slates and they were soon deeply involved in the task. The enthusiasm spread all around the school with children from other classes standing at the doorway and eventually forming a circle around the activity. Winie, the headteacher, came in and was very impressed with the children’s learning. Finally, parents from all around the village started appearing at the window and taking an interest as word spread. Needless to say the lesson was an enormous success and Yowasi and Moris, the senior teachers were looking to expand the use of the roamer over the coming months.

After a nice lunch of pork and rice we taught the children a lesson about bees. Again, the children’s knowledge was very good, it was obvious that Yowasi had already done a lot of work with them. The main learning consisted of identifying the different conditions that effected bees in the UK compared to Uganda and I had some videoclips to demonstrate this. Many of the children had never seen snow before so there were a few stunned faces at the images of beehives covered with snow (there is snow in Uganda in the Rwenzori mountains).

Before we knew it, it was time to go home again. We met up with Steve and the Bukorwe crew at Katunguru and made our way home. From there it was the usual evening trip to Tembo. Tomorrow Mrs Green and I have the Moisture machine to ourselves as all the others are going down to Bukorwe. We have a meeting with the parents and we will be carrying out our annual task of giving out letters to the children and taking class photos.


And now some answers to questions:


Mrs Frost: School holidays begin next Friday for three weeks. The main holidays take place from the end of November through to the beginning of February and there is also an Eater holiday at roughly the same time as us.

Mrs Pritchard: The distance between the UK and Uganda is just under 4000 miles. In terms of distance travelled within Uganda, it’s not as far as you might think. From one end of the country to the other is about 250 miles, but the condition of the roads is such that it takes about ten hours. Likewise travel from Mweya to schools is not that far as the crow flies, but it takes about 90 minutes to drive to Kafuro. I would imagine that we will have traveled another 1200 miles internally, but the hours to do that are ridiculous.




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