It was an early start for everyone today as the others were going to Katunguru while Mrs Green and I would be spending our first day at Kafuro. We went to breakfast at the Safari Hostel where the main subject of conversation was the most effective spreading technique of jam and butter on toast. Nick swore blind that Ash was the best spreader that he had ever witnessed in terms of coverage while Lisa was highly confident in her own technique. This conversation was soon superseded by a debate on the merits of marmite. Mrs Green is a staunch advocate of marmite and had encouraged several of the others to bring their own supply along as well. The ultimate test, however, was whether Geoffrey (our driver) would like it. He declared himself a big fan. The conversation then moved on to how you could use marmite in cooking and Ash shared his tips for adding marmite to cheesy pasta.
After our invigorating conversation, we headed off for Katunguru. Mrs Green and I stopped off with the others to make some introductions and to meet Henry Bwambale, the new headteacher. He was very friendly and told us that he was the brother of Levi, the previous head. I wasn’t sure if he meant blood brother because Ugandans often describe close friends as brother. We were shown in to the head’s office to sign the visitors book before heading off to Kafuro and leaving the others to enjoy their day.
I always love the drive to Kafuro – well, the last part to be truthful – as you drive to the top of a slope and suddenly the savannah appears in front of you in all its glory and to the right of you is miles and miles of farmland. At the moment it is planting season so there were lots of people working in the fields who all waved at us. When we arrived at the school there was a great deal of excitement as large groups of children gathered around the car.
There was an assembly arranged for us in the school grounds and the children sang a welcome song for us. The main theme of the assembly was ‘The Kafuro Water for Life Project’, this is the pipeline that Liss children have been raising money for during the year. Today was going to be the official opening. Before the opening, Yowasi and I both spoke about the project. I wanted the children to know that the money was raised by their friends at Liss Junior School and the fact that as well as buying crisps, many of our children had organised cake sales to raise extra funds. Yowasi spoke about the differences that the water pipeline had already made to the children at the school. Because the children don’t have to go down to the crater lake anymore, they are able to stay in lessons and increase their learning, they get cleaner treated water and (this really shocked me) they are free from the risk of being attacked by a hippo or a crocodile. This really made me think about how lucky we are to have the access to water that we do in the UK and what a difference our children have made to their friends at Kafuro.
Before, I opened the water pipeline, I explained that in the UK it was known as the Graham Haycock Memorial Pipeline due to the fact that Mr Haycock has risked clinical obesity through his efforts to support the project by eating as many crisps as he can. I had made a special poster to commemorate the event and had children hold the poster while we took photos. Mr Haycock, the children of Kafuro wish to convey their heartfelt thanks for your titanic efforts!
The best speech of the assembly was by Mrs Green who explained how much we loved being back at Kafuro and how it felt like home. We also handed over a new tablet which I had bought for the school as well as replacement parts for their weather station. We were then introduced to Stephen Tembo, the new headteacher, and instantly liked him. He explained how pleased he was to finally meet people from the UK and how much he had been told about us. He also said that the whole community had heard about our arrival and were very grateful for the water pipeline. The community had worked with the teachers and the children to dig the trench for the pipeline to run through.
By now it was lunchtime for the children and we were given a delicious of tilapia fillets covered in flour and fried as well as roast potatoes and lovely coleslaw. To be honest, it looked like a posh KFC but tasted much better. The children who had come back early from lunch were playing football and I was invited to join them. As I was so full up, I decided to play up front and let other people do all the running – this was a ploy that my best friend from school, Anton Lang, employed to good effect for years. Anton would be proud with the way I toe-poked an equaliser past the keeper and off the post (tree), but not impressed with the 25 yard free kick that screamed into the top right corner five minutes later (that would mean that I walked 24 yards to take the free kick – far too far for Mr Lang). My goal celebration made the children fall about laughing. I finished the game by eschewing a chance to score a hat-trick and instead teeing up one of the other boys to score the winner. As the game ended, Stephen told me that I had good skill for a person of my size – I think that was a compliment!
Because the assembly had taken so long, we decided that we would change our itinerary for the afternoon. Mrs Green had university research to do and Stephen was going to help her with translation while she interviewed staff and pupils. While she was doing that, I was going to start the Kafuro Film Festival with a film for P6. This was to be Bean: the movie. When Yowasi and Ramathan had first visited the UK, they had watched the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony and told me that Mr Bean was really popular in Uganda. The film was definitely the right choice as the children completely understood the physical comedy and laughed in all the right places. Watching the children, you can always tell those who become really engrossed and there were more than a few children who were really disappointed when the film came to an end.
After the film had finished, the children had some time for games before they went home. It was lovely to see the children playing games with all the equipment that CM Sports had provided. They were all having so much fun.
We drove home to find out that the others had had an enjoyable day at Katunguru followed by a great time on the Kazinga Channel Cruise. Nick had a little nap when on the return trip during the cruise and the others had taken great amusement from having their photo taken with him while he was asleep.
Tomorrow is a full – on day at Kafuro while the others have a full day at Katunguru.