Uganda 2015 Day 2 – Meeting old friends

Both Mrs Green and I slept well last night. It was silent outside apart from the roaring of what I thought was a hippo. I listened carefully and eventually figured out that it was actually Mrs Green snoring in her room – she must have been very tired.

My alarm went off at 06:15 and I was up quickly and first in to the bathroom. My first bottle shower of the trip awaited me. After having my breath taken away when the ‘freezing’ cold water hit my body, it was actually quite pleasant as the weather is so hot and humid here at the moment compared to the UK. The Ugandans don’t think so, we’ve seen many of them walking around in fur lined parkas.

Mrs Green and I loaded up the car for our trip to Kafuro and headed down to Tembo for breakfast. I had a rolex, my favourite. Later in the trip I’m going to film how they make a rolex including the chapatti and compare it to the film I have shown in assembly. Mrs Green had Ugandan honey on toast and fruit juice. At 08.15 we picked up Jess from her house and headed for Kafuro.

Our journey was remarkable for a number of reasons. Firstly, there was a real lack of animals to see; apart from the birds we only saw one hippo disappearing into the bushes. Secondly, in the absence of Steve Peach, Mrs Green has taken it upon herself to be our ranger in residence and she was explaining at some length why we always think we’re going to hit birds in the car, but they always manage to just get out of the way. Her explanation was quite plausible, which meant that I was loathe to take the mickey out of her in case she was proved right!

The journey up to Kafuro was very pleasant. By Ugandan standards it was a cool morning and the sky was overcast. The roads were not busy and the views were as stunning as ever. When we reached the outskirts of Kafuro we stopped the car as we saw a large group of crested cranes (the national bird of Uganda) all together. According to Jess they were lecking; this means that the males were competing for the female’s attention. She would then decide who she wanted to mate with. Jess described it as speed dating for crested cranes.

We were met at Kafuro by Yowasi (wearing a coat because it was so cold!!!) and taken to meet Richard, the new headteacher. He was very friendly and delighted to receive a letter and pen from Mr Burford. Richard stated that he was fully behind the aims of the Twinning Project. Mrs Green and I told him what we were trying to achieve with all the equipment we had brought with us. Next, we had a short assembly where we were reintroduced to the children and we had to make speeches. Feeling very proud with the fact that I had learned some Runyankore – Rukiga, I dropped some of the phrases I had learned into my speeches. Much to my surprise this was received with hilarity; the children fell about laughing. In order to regain control of matters I got out Larry the Leopard who was immediately mobbed by the children. Mrs Green’s speech was much better received!

When assembly was over we returned to the Richard’s office for bread and hot milk then we began the activities. I was working with P5 and Muhudi (one of the new teachers at Kafuro) to set up the weather station. It was fairly time consuming but after a while we had the wireless connection between the implements working and were getting accurate temperature and barometer readings (for the record the temperature was 34°C with 54% humidity). Mrs Green had been with P7 showing them how to work the new tablets (she will expand on this when she blogs) and Jess had been teaching P6 about how the relationship between weather conditions and the gender of mongoose babies. To summarise, if the weather is hot and dry more male babies will be born as they are better equipped to deal with less food that is available, If the weather is wet then more females will be born as there is more plentiful food and their survival chances are better. Nature is an incredible thing!

My next activity was to take photos of all the classes and to drop off letters written by children at Liss. I can only liken the excitement this generated to having Santa Claus hand deliver your Christmas presents and you getting everything you asked for. The children devoured the letters and wanted to know which child on the photo wrote the letter they had just received. The most excited class were P3 who are twinned with Class AC. I thought that I was going to be mobbed when I arrived!

Lunchtime arrived and Yowasi had made sure we were well looked after with tilapia and tomato rice…YUM! We didn’t stay for much of the afternoon as we were going to see Molly, who had visited the UK in January and had been transferred to Mugyera. The school was very pleasant and the staff and children extremely welcoming. They wished to know all about the UK and Mrs Green, Jess and myself were taken round each class in turn and introduced. Molly and her deputy headteacher are desperate to get involved in the Twinning Project as are many other Ugandan schools, finding schools in Hampshire who are willing to commit is the bigger issue.

We dropped Yowasi home and then stopped off at UWA headquarters to drop off the generator I bought Kafuro Primary School last year for repair. Joshua, the new head of security, could not have been more helpful. He immediately found a technician to take the generator and arrange for it to be repaired tomorrow, so I am hoping that I can pick it up tomorrow evening.

We made another stop at Katunguru where we met Ramathan. While Mrs Green and Jess tried to decide which of the nursery children they wanted to adopt, Ramathan explained to me how the new solar panels worked and how they have enabled the school to progress. Electricity is something we take for granted in this country, but for many Ugandans it’s a luxury. Next Wednesday we are going to help Ramathan and 200 children from his school to clean up Katunguru.

We finally reached home at about 6.30pm and had an hour to charge phones, cameras etc. before heading down to Tembo for our evening meal. We were greeted by Jackie (the long suffering waitress who has to put up with us all) with big hugs. Dinner was a delicious chicken curry with rice and chapatti for me and the same but with vegetables for Mrs Green. Washed down with a Nile Special, it made for a very satisfying end to a good day.

Tomorrow is cookery day at Kafuro!

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