Uganda Trip – Days Seven and Eight

As we passed the half way point of the trip, on Monday morning we travelled to Bethany High School, an hour’s drive from the guest house and located just outside Kampala. Truro School has been linked to Bethany High School since 2006 and this was the third time a group of students and teachers had visited as part of an overnight trip.
We arrived quite early at 8:30am and were eagerly looking forward to the next 36 hours. Once the introductions had been made, we eventually set off on our tour around the school which was very interesting as they are very different to the schools in the UK, especially their boarding houses which had more of a military feel to them than what we are used to in Trennick and Malvern houses. We also learned that a single class could include as many as 80 pupils with one teacher and most classes had 30 to 40 pupils per teacher, something the Rev, Miss Hargreaves and Mr Brewer were glad not to be replicated back home!
After lunch we split into two groups and went to different classes (Art and Biology) to learn and get used to the education system in Uganda – our biologists were pleased that they understood the lesson on osmosis and diffusion!
At Bethany High, once afternoon lessons finish, all students follow a programme of co-curricular activities. The girls undertook a sustainability survey, assisted by Miss Hargreaves, whilst the boys prepared for the ‘match of the day’, playing football in front of a large crowd of loud Ugandans.
Truro started off well but it wasn’t long before we realised how good our hosts were at football, with 2 goals scored in the space of a few minutes. At this point, and in the interest of maintaining some form of competition, the referee and manager, John Paul, decided to divide the teams up and make them even in ability. The game completely changed and there was a more competitive game being played. In the last 10 minutes 3 of us came to light, with Sam slotting in a goal after it rebounded off the post from a shot. Soon after the ultimate English goal was scored being a simple sweaty goal as players would call it, Sam making a run and then passing it to Tom to then slot a little tap in. Without a doubt, the man of the hour was Euan; with a lovely passage of football, Sam passed the ball to Tom who then gave the ball to Euan, before finishing the move with a powerful shot into the top left corner. As it soared past the keeper, the crowd and players went wild; Mr Hooper would have been proud!
After the match we experienced a typical Uganda meal, which included Matooke and Pocho which certainly had an acquired taste. The school made sure we had some entertainment in the evening so there were many dances and songs performed for us which were excellent and the school made sure all of us got involved in the dancing as well, much to the amusement of our teachers!
Our sleeping arrangements were another ‘highlight’; we got to our beds in our dorms, 30 to a room, which was certainly a change for Tom who is used to his own room in boarding. Despite hoping for an early night after a long day, we were greeted by many enthusiastic boarders who were wanting to know all about us. There were a few boys that were very kind to us and, whilst we never got their real names, they were given nicknames such as, Black Wizard and Chemical!

Uganda Trip – Day Eight

In the morning we were woken up at 4:00am to begin getting ready and packing up our belongings. At 5:00am we had breakfast which was a piece of bread and Ugandan tea which was quite nice, but didn’t beat the good old cooked English breakfast and tea we were used to! The school day then began and we attended morning prep which gave us more time to get to know the pupils. After prep the teachers arrived at the rather leisurely hour of 7.00am and we went to the garden to plant 25 trees, which will hopefully be growing in many years to come. The whole school was very involved and they cleaned the school, picking all the rubbish up and slashing the grass.
After a quick mid morning break, the final assembly was a lovely send off, and we were able to give the gifts we had brought and then receive some amazing Ugandan shirts and dresses which was a very kind gesture from the school. We left after lunch time having thoroughly enjoyed our brief time at Bethany High School and we hope we can welcome staff and students to Truro School in the future.
The afternoon was certainly a contrast, as we visited Kivulu in Kampala to spend the afternoon with the Hope Street charity, who work with the local street children. Many games were played with all the children and we were also able to help with their medical needs, as Maddie, Pirran, Miss Hargreaves and Mr Brewer attended to the various wounds, infections and ailments the street kids suffered from, with the help of Hope Street’s basic medical supplies supplemented with our own resources from Nurse Armstrong.
After all the games we held a short service and prayed with the children and their Hope Street ‘uncles’, who look after the children and are also former street kids themselves, and were given blessings by them which was heart warming. After helping to serve them dinner, we headed back to the guest house to get a good night’s rest before our long journey north on Wednesday. Much of the evening’s conversation revolved around the different experiences we have had so far at African Hearts primary school, in Ssenge at the homes for former street children, with the work through VAD, the contrast at Bethany High and this afternoon’s experiences.