25 July 2009

4 am Wake Up Call

Not mine, for the 7th graders. Also known as P7 students. Since the national exams are coming up in december - deciding where they will be attending secondary school, schools are buckling down. Even more than before, when they awoke at 5:00. Usually, the sound of the students running across the lawn at 5:15 is like a pre-pre-pre alarm call for me to get up about an hour (or so) later.
I talked to my friend lydia who is the matron of the P7 dorm. Matrons take care of the dorms and the students making sure they stay clean and the students behave - basically. She told me when she was in primary she was a day scholar, so she went home after lessons. This was her day:
5:30 am wake up for chores at home
6:00 am eat breakfast and walk to school
7:00 am classes begin
5:00 pm classes end
5:00 - 7:00 walk home and chores at home
THEN walk back to school for more lessons/revising work
THEN walk back home at night.
From what i've seen and/or heard this is a fairly mild day.

Making a cake with a great helper~

08 July 2009

Nursery Class Student Teacher Ratio 60:1

I saw many classes today and it felt nice to interact with the students. I went into a nursery class where the kids were 2-4 years old. There were a little over 60 little ones with one determined teacher. She was good. But there were 60 little ones. It was a little hectic.

This morning i had a nice walk to work. It was about an hour and the morning weather made it a cool and pleasant hour. The best part were the chickens. It was a cute family with the newborns happily following their mama. The fun part was that while the mom was a mottled black and white, the little chicks were magenta! (Whoa Genetics! Some crazy recessive genes!) I think i've heard that they're dyed so they are recognizable by their owners. I'll check my sources on that one.

04 July 2009

Happy July 4th !

Today I spent the morning painting learning materials for the lower primary students. I was in charge of “green.” I started out painting papayas green and yellow but since i didn’t know how to paint them correctly I was directed to paint bananas and sticks Just green. Still fun. Now my hands and fingers are green.
There were some girls watching us paint, they didn’t speak English but after I shared some Almond M&Ms (Thanks Sally!) with them we were best friends. I asked if they knew what color I was using. Of course they knew. Green. “What other colors do you know?” (After translation by my teacher friend…) “Orange, blue, banana, cow, red…” I think they were trying their very best to show me they knew English. It was endearing. Though some of the teachers didn’t think so and the girls were berated for not knowing their colors in English. One teacher asked if they went to school and they replied that they went to classes until they were chased away for not paying school fees. So they would collect maize and sell it until they had enough to pay off some of the fees. This morning they were selling their maize.
About 3 weeks ago and then today I received many goodies in the mail. Just wanted to say thank you forever for thinking of me and sending me something nice. Though Please don’t feel like you have to send something that comes in a package cause I would equally love a letter or a postcard that comes in a small but just-the-same-cause-for-joy envelope.
Recently I’ve seen more Uganda traditional dancing and singing and I continue to be amazed. At the voices, at the energy, and at the incredible rhythm! It took me years and years of dance classes to be able to move my shoulders to a slow beat – and these little ones can shake it like nobody’s business. I’ll admit it... I’m a little bit jealous…But it’s so fun to watch because not only do you get to see this great dance, but you get to see their joy. They smile with their whole body!
I think it feels so good to see the kids that happy and confident because it seems they have very little control over the happiness in their lives. It feels like there is less concern over children’s emotional health. Parents try and meet their “most” important needs like food and education. And most try really hard. They work before the sun is up and long after it’s gone down. Their exhaustion may be why I see little outward concern over how their child is feeling.
Time is funny. When I feel listless an hour can last for days. When I’m trying to communicate via internet, an hour disappears in an instant! Yikes. I’m sorry I have been a poor communicator lately! I’ve read your emails and gotten your packages and thank you so much! Karina I have your graduation pic up! Susie Q I melted when I got the soft tp from home. Kindergarteners’ presents left me full of smiles! Thanks Michelle for the amazing homemade cards! Tia, the delicious gum keeps me sane during abnormally long meetings. Welita thank you for the Padre Pio book, after I read it I’m gonna share it with the nuns! Sally thanks for the M&Ms and book – I just finished one yesterday, so the timing was prrrrfect! Mom thanks for the macaroni n cheese, YUM! And thank you for all the emails. It feels really good to read about what you guys are doing back in Texas/Massachusetts/California. And I promise to write more! I’m doing good and great with occasional days of missing home. Attending lots of workshops for teachers and head teachers. Visiting more primary schools in my neighborhood. Getting a feel for how we can work together to improve their school. It’s going well.
And since my ethnic amiga Amber decided- purely on her own- to write about me here is a little amber bio… A grand girl from Kansas City. And even though she is so young, she still has a lot to contribute. Her hobbies are running, being lively, volunteering other people for jobs, running, being a good listener, running, being an awesome hairdresser, and just being great.
P.S. Could you guys keep sending me photos? They are great and make me smile! Thanks!