|Wow, what a night. The bar party noise was loud and didn't quit till about 3 am! We dragged ourselves out of bed early for breakfast and to watch the bungee jumpers from our group before our activity began. I prepared for my volunteer day with Soft Power Education. At breakfast the soccer balls that Clare had supplied for us before we left were pumped up. I managed to fit them into my day bag.
Bungee jumping into the Nile was 44 meters up. All three of our group looked nervous as expected but did it! Apparently you had a choice of whether you wanted to hit the water and how deep you wanted to go.
An open backed truck arrived to pick me up. I had assistance climbing into the back where two other volunteers already stood. The truck ride was rough so hanging on and absorbing the major bumps was not adoption but a necessity if we wanted to stay standing. It gave us plenty of fantastic views of the local village life as we rode by. Lots of poverty evident here. Many local kids were very excited to see a truck with muzungos in the back. The dust from the roads was hard to avoid so wearing glasses to protect our eyes was a good idea.
Upon arrival at the Soft Power Education Center we get a tour of what has been completed with volunteer time and money so far. I am very impressed. We peeked into classrooms where mostly older students worked quietly; most without desks. They knelt on the floor and wrote. A new toilet building was being built with environment in mind. They had large signs to indicate how use a long drop toilet and what was allowed to be dropped into it. I had never thought about the need to teach this basic skill we take for granted.
Gardens were planted to teach about farming and used for cooking as well. A hand wash station set up was very clever. It did not waste water.
Later we return tonthe truck for about a 35-40 minute ride to the government school we will be volunteering at today. The Soft Power Organization is helping this school. Sugar cane fields line the roads as well as beans, bananas, sweet potato, and avocado trees.
Many adults come to meet us when we arrive. Tony is a long term volunteer with this organization. Chi chi is a local worker. They set us up with a bright royal blue paint and paint brushes. We are painting two classrooms with a wavy pattern on the bottom half of the wall. The school kids are around us the entire time giving us thumbs up and saying, "Looks good".
A group of kids came to show us a song and dance during their break from classes. I tried to lead the A,B,C's in English but they struggled through the parts after about H. We repeated it many times and some began to get better. Following that I proceeded to try the Head and Shoulders song. Boy we had fun with that one. They loved the actions that went with the song. Many were able to point to the parts of the body and name them in English when I tested them later. Once a teacher always a teacher I guess. We also taught them a bit about colors. Blue because we painted with it and then others colors according to what they were wearing. A few children, well mostly the boys, wanted to paint so as soon as I set my brush down to take a drink of water they were all over it. We were almost done and it was
Iunch time. Tony taught them how to get paint on the brush without dripping it all over the floor and away they went. What fun!
Lunch was about to be served so we headed to an outside courtyard. I. noticed a group of boys were playing soccer with what looked like a home made ball. I reminded the deputy principal that I had some soccer balls and a pump to donate. He took the balls out of the bag and almost immediately the boys came wildly running over to us yelling with excitement. The head master said something very sternly to them as they approached and they stopped instantly. Their ball was plastic bags tightly wound in twine to make it somewhat round.
The boys watched anxiously as I demonstrated how to use the ball pump. Shyly the girls began to come out to see what the commotion was about.
Photos with the administration were taking as I shook their hands. The students looked on. I explained the larger size 5 ball was for the older kids and the size 4 would be god for the younger ones. The deputy decided to pump more air into the balls. He was getting carried away so I encouraged him not to pump it too hard for fear of hurting the kids or ruining the ball. I'm not sure he understood me. Oh well! Before the boys took the ball to their field I requested that they thank Clare, the girl that donated the ball. I tried to take a little video clip of the thank you before they rushed off to play in their bare feet and such a hard ball!
The girls waited for the smaller ball and immediately took it behind the school to a netball field and yes used it for a netball game. I took video clips of both group before having lunch.
Lunch was served. Local foods were on the table. Some sort of cooked spinach type vegetable, local white sweet potato, and some sort of cooked maize chunks. Bowls were given out to each of us and I watched how the others dished their food as there were no utensils. As I thought we all used our hands. Maize chunks were used asmthe way to scoop the spinach into our mouth. They were much better at it than I . It was amazingly tasty!
I ended my day with good byes and exchanging email addresses as well as mailing addresses so Clare's team could possibly send uniforms in the future. I bought an adult t-shirt because the money from the shirt will buy two school uniforms for the kids in need.
Address: Kagogwa Primary School
PO Box 3154
Deputy: Muhammed Ali Bamwirire
The truck ride back was similar to the morning drive although many pick ups and drop offs with locals along the way. What a great opportunity I had today!