Sleep was at a premium on Sunday night after one of the tropical storms that only Africa can provide. There was thunder, lightning and a deluge of rain…TWICE with each storm being about an hour apart. We awoke to find puddles of water outside Hippo House, all the dust removed from our land cruiser and a lovely fresh feel to the air replacing the cloying humidity of the last three or four days.
For the first time on this trip, my bottle shower felt cold and, from the moans emanating from the bathroom, Mrs Green and Henry felt exactly the same. We had a quick breakfast at Tembo and I picked up the large empty water bottles that they had been saving for us before heading off to Kafuro at 09.00. Because of all the rain, a lot of the road out of the park was muddy and slippy, so I had to be extra careful in the land cruiser. The conditions improved once we made it to Katunguru and we made quick progress in our journey to Kafuro.
One of the great delights in driving to Kafuro is when you drive up over the brow of a hill and see the savannah spread out below you. Henry let out a big ‘WOW’ when he saw the view, it never fails to impress. As we reached the village of Kafuro itself many of the villagers came out to wave and to applaud us. It is amazing the impact the Twinning Project has had on the village of Kafuro.
We drove into the school grounds to see my parking space occupied by a new building under construction, which will be two new classrooms. The compound looked absolutely beautiful with all the trees and shrubs that Yowasi and the children have planted in full bloom. Yowasi and Muhudi came out to welcome us and lots of children waved from their classrooms. Our first job was to sign the visitors’ book and then to say ‘hello’ to Richard, the headteacher. He thanked the children of Liss Junior School for all their hard work in raising money for Kafuro’s solar panels. The panels are so productive that at the moment they have more electricity than they know what to do with.
Our greeting was followed by a whole school assembly where we had to give speeches and make presentations to the school. I started off by asking the Tag Rugby team to come to the front and commended them to the whole school for their efforts in the tournament. They got as huge round of applause and I said that I was sure that they would win next year. Next I gave out an apple tablet kindly donated by Mrs Pritchard. This was gratefully accepted. Liss scouts have been collecting uniform for the Kafuro scouts and Mrs Prior co-ordinated this. I had three big bags of uniform which I distributed. Muhudi was very excited and grateful. He told me that they were going to parade in their uniform tomorrow. We also handed over some batteries, football and athletics kit and showed the children the bag of letters and photographs that have been sent from Liss.
Mrs Green told the children how special they were and how the children at Liss respected them and wanted to know all about them. Henry also told them how he was proud to be the first former Liss pupil to visit Kafuro.
After the assembly, I tried to connect the Kafuro weather station to the internet, but their laptop is too old, so I will try and get hold of one for next year (are you reading, Neil?). We then decided that we would go and find some concrete paving slabs which would be essential for the Kafuro cob oven. Yowasi was aware of a hardware store about 30km away so we set off in the land cruiser. It took about 45 minutes to get there and when we arrived we were told that we would find what we were looking for in Ishaka – another 30 km away. The drive was very interesting as Yowasi kept us entertained with stories about the area and Ugandan superstitions as well as showing us some of the places in which he studied. The scenery, as usual, was absolutely spectacular with lots of crater valleys and tea plantations (I will publish the full range of photos when I get back to the UK).
When we got to Ishaka, we were told that the slabs we wanted were not available and we would have to go to a concrete making unit, which was about 30 minutes away. So we began driving once again. We finally found the facility and found some slabs that we thought would work. Yowasi and I had to negotiate a fee. The workman said 120,000UGX and I started laughing. When the owner came back (a lady called Younis) she initially said 80,000UGX. I laid it on heavy saying that by giving us a further discount she would be supporting the work of school children. In the end we agreed 70,000UGX and she said that she would come and visit the school when the oven was installed.
We began heading back to Kafuro stopping off at Ishaka so that Yowasi could get something to eat. We wandered round and said ‘hello’ to a few people and Mrs Green managed to pick up a few ingredients for the scones she intends to bake. We continued the drive back and stopped to buy cement. This was an opportune time for Henry to experience another part of Uganda – muchomos. These goat kebabs are a favourite with Mrs Green and myself. It’s fair to say that Henry has been converted too! The English expression is ‘it didn’t touch the sides!’
We arrived at Kafuro at 18.00 and unloaded the slabs and cement. Most of the children had gone home, but the children in P6 and P7 study until 18.00, go home for an hour and then can come back for more optional study until 20.30. I think Henry was quite taken back by how hard Ugandan children work.
We drove back to Mweya dropping Yowasi off on the way. Tomorrow, the process of building the cob oven begins.
Finally, today’s answer to a question: Mr Burford, the tree in question is a grevillea tree. We planted two in Kafuro four years ago and they are now over 20 feet tall. They are fast growing, strong and provide good shade.