And back …

Just to let you all know that I made it back safely yesterday to Manchester. I was very proud of myself for not getting lost in any of the airports (though I did nearly leave my passport, oops!) and I’m sure many of you will be relieved to know that my English has switched back to Yorkshire! Though my timekeeping is still rather African …

As I said before, I’ll back back in Bradford in about 10 days time.

Thank you for all your prayers, love and support this trip and always!

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Final Week!

It’s crazy to think that in a week I’ll have traversed the 4000 miles back to Manchester, although the weather yesterday was reminding me of the UK’s distant shores – it was absolutely freezing and I ended up sitting inside with my walking socks on and a blanket wrapped around my legs!

When I turned up here at Mother Janet, I found that they had just broken up for the holidays (holidays seem to be rather unpredictable in Uganda and can change at any time). Everybody was here, there and everywhere so there wasn’t a tremendous amount I could get involved with. Thus I started this final stage of my journey with a couple of days rest (which I probably needed more than I’d like to admit). It also gave me opportunity to start analysing the nursery and primary curricula and how I might start implementing them in future (and also how frustrating they can be!).

After that, I’ve been doing odd jobs, I’ve done some admin work which was frustrating for two reasons: 1) at least part of it was unnecessary bureaucracy demanded by the government and 2) most of it could be performed much more efficiently on a computer with the right database software. I also helped with part of the processing of the maize to turn it into porsho. Although porsho may not be my favourite food, it gave me a newfound appreciation for it as I have seen how much work goes into it! First of all you have to plant and grow the maize, secondly each stick of corn needs removing by hand (sometimes the plants are stubborn and don’t let go easily) and the leaves removed (what the team helped with last year), then it is placed in the sun to dry out. After drying it out, it is put into sacks and beaten with a big stick (like shepherd’s crook-size stick) to start removing the individual corns from the cob. This is successful for about a half or a third, the others must be removed by hand (which is harder than you think it is, as the blister on my thumb will testify). After being removed the corns are left to dry again and then are milled into flour. Finally, the actual cooking of the porsho is a great skill (water is booked and the flour is added to the water so you have to get your amount of water accurate without measuring equipment and then find all the lumps and get rid of them). Stirring it is also hard work as it becomes fairly solid – most school cooks are male as they have the strength to do it! I find it weird that it’s the cheapest way of feeding school children when there’s so much effort involved!

After helping remove the maize corns I was asked to mark some English exam papers which I was more than happy to find something that better matches my skill set! Though I hadn’t quite realised that there would be 40 scripts with 12 pages each! They came with some humorous answers involving shopkeepers selling themselves, tape cutting the guest of honour (instead of the guest of honour cutting the tape) and a variety of creative answers to a question that wasn’t actually possible. There were also answers that were frustrating as I thought the pupil had understood the text but couldn’t be sure as their word order was all mixed up so it was like trying to understand a confused Yoda. I also learned a lot from it about the understanding children have of English here. English has a double importance as all subjects are taught and examined in it, though it is a second language to all the pupils, as well as being a subject in itself. I’ve seen very many times when pupils have lost marks in other subjects because of their English. I’ll be going through the paper with the pupils soon.

One of the big shocks when I arrived was to realise that babies I remember being born are no longer babies and are now walking and talking! I had a lovely time playing with them this morning, even if it did mean sacrificing a peaceful breakfast!

So you’re all up to date again! What am I doing this last week? I have no idea. This is Africa and nobody plans that far in advance! I guess I’ll tell you all when I get back! A side note on that: although I land in Manchester on the 4th, I won’t be back in Bradford for about another 10 days from there as I’m taking some time away with Mum and Dad and some close friends. So I’ll see you all sometime after then!

Final Week!

It’s crazy to think that in a week I’ll have traversed the 4000 miles back to Manchester, although the weather yesterday was reminding me of the UK’s distant shores – it was absolutely freezing and I ended up sitting inside with my walking socks on and a blanket wrapped around my legs!

When I turned up here at Mother Janet, I found that they had just broken up for the holidays (holidays seem to be rather unpredictable in Uganda and can change at any time). Everybody was here, there and everywhere so there wasn’t a tremendous amount I could get involved with. Thus I started this final stage of my journey with a couple of days rest (which I probably needed more than I’d like to admit). It also gave me opportunity to start analysing the nursery and primary curricula and how I might start implementing them in future (and also how frustrating they can be!).

After that, I’ve been doing odd jobs, I’ve done some admin work which was frustrating for two reasons: 1) at least part of it was unnecessary bureaucracy demanded by the government and 2) most of it could be performed much more efficiently on a computer with the right database software. I also helped with part of the processing of the maize to turn it into porsho. Although porsho may not be my favourite food, it gave me a newfound appreciation for it as I have seen how much work goes into it! First of all you have to plant and grow the maize, secondly each stick of corn needs removing by hand (sometimes the plants are stubborn and don’t let go easily) and the leaves removed (what the team helped with last year), then it is placed in the sun to dry out. After drying it out, it is put into sacks and beaten with a big stick (like shepherd’s crook-size stick) to start removing the individual corns from the cob. This is successful for about a half or a third, the others must be removed by hand (which is harder than you think it is, as the blister on my thumb will testify). After being removed the corns are left to dry again and then are milled into flour. Finally, the actual cooking of the porsho is a great skill (water is booked and the flour is added to the water so you have to get your amount of water accurate without measuring equipment and then find all the lumps and get rid of them). Stirring it is also hard work as it becomes fairly solid – most school cooks are male as they have the strength to do it! I find it weird that it’s the cheapest way of feeding school children when there’s so much effort involved!

After helping remove the maize corns I was asked to mark some English exam papers which I was more than happy to find something that better matches my skill set! Though I hadn’t quite realised that there would be 40 scripts with 12 pages each! They came with some humorous answers involving shopkeepers selling themselves, tape cutting the guest of honour (instead of the guest of honour cutting the tape) and a variety of creative answers to a question that wasn’t actually possible. There were also answers that were frustrating as I thought the pupil had understood the text but couldn’t be sure as their word order was all mixed up so it was like trying to understand a confused Yoda. I also learned a lot from it about the understanding children have of English here. English has a double importance as all subjects are taught and examined in it, though it is a second language to all the pupils, as well as being a subject in itself. I’ve seen very many times when pupils have lost marks in other subjects because of their English. I’ll be going through the paper with the pupils soon.

One of the big shocks when I arrived was to realise that babies I remember being born are no longer babies and are now walking and talking! I had a lovely time playing with them this morning, even if it did mean sacrificing a peaceful breakfast!

So you’re all up to date again! What am I doing this last week? I have no idea. This is Africa and nobody plans that far in advance! I guess I’ll tell you all when I get back! A side note on that: although I land in Manchester on the 4th, I won’t be back in Bradford for about another 10 days from there as I’m taking some time away with Mum and Dad and some close friends. So I’ll see you all sometime after then!

On Monday we arrived in Kampala and I was reminded of all the reasons I dislike this crazy city! I think the maddest point could be when people started driving the wrong way up a dual carriage way while the policeman just stood an watched them. This meant that the traffic was all flowing in the same direction on both sides of the central reservation! Of course in time, people started wanting to drive against the majority but they had to pick their own way driving off the road!

We delayed coming by a day because I came down with malaria the morning we were due to travel – an interesting moment of de ja vu – last year malaria also came knocking when we were supposed to leave Karamoja and delayed us! I’m really much better now, the tablets they gave me have been effective and efficient so there’s no need of worrying! Malaria sounds terrible but the symptoms are very similar to having a virus or stomach bug in the UK, as long as you get treated quickly enough. Now I’ve made a full recovery, thank you to all of you who prayed about it.

What breaks me to the point of interrupting my sleep, is knowing that there are too many people here who can’t access that treatment. In many rural places, the only option for treatment are gov’t health centres. People can walk many miles when they are sick or spend all the money they have on a boda (motorbike taxi) only to find that doctors and medicines are mutually exclusive (i.e. You only find one or the other there). If the doctor is there, he will want you to buy medicine from his private clinic which he has diverted from the gov’t facility. For those who have travelled by boda, they simply don’t have the cash and very many people are too weak to walk. Another obstacle is the requirement to have an attendant to be admitted. Ugandan nurses seem to only be there to administer drugs, any other way of caring for the patient is done by the attendant (including feeding). All of this seems crazy when I was fortunate enough to visit a clinic a few metres away, be treated within 5 mins of arriving at a cost of less than £4.

On the way down, we were able to meet (at long last!) a contact I also tried to meet last year but malaria disorganized my schedule and I had to cancel. He is a doctor but spends more time pastoring a Calvary Chapel church which now has a bible school attached. It was great to put a face to a name and finally meet (albeit briefly) despite the sacrifice of taking a route with poorer roads!

It really doesn’t feel like a week since I came here but I guess it’s because it’s been so bitty! I’ve not slept for more than 2 consecutive nights in the same place – popping about doing jobs and seeing people. Today I’m moving onto Masaka (where Mother Janet is) but in true African style I could be picked up at any moment or not until late this evening! But for now I’m just enjoying some time relaxing and being with Rainbow’s children (who he picked up from school this week).

I am also now the very proud owner of a Ngakarimojong-English dictionary! Such things are somewhat a rarity in Uganda, especially for an obscure language like Ngakarimojong (the language spoken in Karamoja) so I was very pleased when I tracked this one down! At the same time I tried to hunt down a copy of the national curriculum here as they don’t publish it online. After tracking down the office for the right part of the govt (which is the only place that sells them), we found that half of the books I wanted were out of stock. However, I’m happy to have made a start. Upon studying it, I have realised that the problems with education on Uganda don’t just stem from a lack of understanding on the part of the teachers but that the curriculum itself is far from ideal. Reading it has been very interesting though!

I had a little adventure with the shower in my hotel room on Kampala. Some bright spark had laid the floor so that the drain was uphill and the door was downhill, so after all the excitement of not having a shower in a bucket, all my shower water ended up in my bedroom, narrowly missing aforementioned books and a friend’s dissertation I accidentally went off with! Very grateful for the near miss!!

Yesterday I had a meeting with some other people in the organisation I was thinking of going with long term. It was encouraging all round and great to get a wider perspective of what is being done and has been done in East Africa. Always good to be able to tap into the experience of others!

Karamoja life!

Hello to all again! Sorry I’ve been quiet for a while, I’ll try to write a longer one to make up for it!

Life here in Karamoja is top notch! It’s amazing getting to spend more time with Rainbow (who has a project here that I’ll be partnering with in the long-term), spending time in the community and enjoying the physical Geography of Kotido town. The weather here is hotter and sunnier than most of Uganda which is right up my street! Moreover, the views are absolutely spectacular, I’ve tried photographing/videoing a few but you simply have to be there with your own eyes to really appreciate them! Though sometimes the rugged beauty is marred somewhat by human and animal waste scattered everywhere. The Karimojong have a belief that if a girl uses a toilet (even a hole-in-the-ground-squatting toilet) she will never become pregant. Since Karimojong husbands expect their wives to produce enough girls to recover the dowry he paid for her, this is a risk they don’t want to take! As for the men, they would probably argue that using toilets just isn’t in their culture! (I personally think they need to appreciate what they have; I was very disappointed when I realised how short my time remaining to use the pit latrines is! I prefer them to flushing toilets, though I won’t spoil your appetites by explaining why.) After a while you do get used to picking your way carefully, trust me! I do still absolutely love this region of Uganda!

In the mornings, I’ve been teaching in a primary school here which has been a great experience, not only in terms of the teaching practice but it has also given me the opportunity to learn more about running a school in Uganda and time to consider some of the issues around education and how I can best deal with them in my own school. This has been especially beneficial now that I’m two thirds the way through my degree and so have a deeper understanding than I did back in 2015 on my gap year. This week they started the end of term exams (yeah the Ugandan school year/terms are totally different to the UK) so I’ve been helping with marking (though a class below the ones I’ve been teaching) which has been a bit of a rollercoaster. It has been interesting to see the work of another class, frustrating with the way they clearly lack a solid understanding of most of what they have been taught (the mistakes they are making tells me that the questions they have got correct are largely through rote learning rather than deep understanding. Though sometimes this mistakes can be quite entertaining, like when a child writes that 900+3=4048 and you wonder what on earth was going through their mind!) and also comforting to reinforce what I had gathered about the foundation that my learners had to build upon. I did know that surface instead of deep learning is the nature of the Ugandan Education system but it seems to have been hammered home to me much more this year. The other frustration is that the exams often have content which they are not supposed to have been taught yet, which is not fair on the learners nor gives an accurate assessment of what they have learned.

In the afternoons I’ve been involved in a variety of things including: some admin work (I particularly enjoyed letting my Yorkshire side out when I was working on some budgets), encouraging and giving advice to students in candidate classes that are sponsored through Shalom and having lessons in Ngakarimojong (the local language). The effects of the Tower of Babel are really inconvenient here, because I’m in a different area to where I took my gap year, the language is different. Totally different. So I have to start again from scratch. Though I am very excited, I’ve managed to locate a dictionary for Ngakarimojong in Kampala. Finding support materials for these local languages is very diificult. Though one of the big things I find challenging about it is that I constantly feel like I’m about to bite my tongue while I’m speaking it, the sounds they put together seem very unnatural! I also have given out the clothes I had brought with me (largely from kind donations from people at church). The children and staff at Shalom were all very appreciative of them and pass their thanks onto you all!

I know many of you have been waiting for the update from when I went to visit a team for a certain organisation I’m looking at working with long-term (for security reasons I’m not allowed to name names). It was a great weekend. I enjoyed fellowshipping with people who also have a heart for the Karimojong tribe: hearing about the difference they are making and also the challenges they face. It was also great to see how some of the theoretical documents I had read in the UK for the organisation worked out practically. I tend to be rather cynical while reading paperwork, I think it’s a result of reading too many school policies which have very little resemblance in reality or fail to mention some of the problems and complications in implementation (Is it bad that I have such a low view of British Education and I haven’t even finished my training yet?!). However, I was pleased to see the harmony between the theory and the practice with this particular organisation. I did have some practical, on the ground questions to ask the team (is that my Yorkshire side coming out again? And you all thought I’d come here to let my African side loose!!), however, they said that they aren’t sure how their ministry will look 3 or 4 years from now so it’s still a case of sitting and waiting. I have a meeting arranged with the area co-ordinators of the organisation which I’m looking forward to in just over a week.

On Sunday Rainbow and I are traveling back to Kampala/Wakiso for a few days. After various meetings, Rainbow is going back up to Karamoja while I’m going to be moving onto my final destination of Mukoko, Masaka. Mukoko is the location of Mother Janet for those of you who are familiar with that project.

I’ve also been becoming more proficient in cooking Ugandan style. I’d picked up a few bits and pieces before but I feel like I’ve got much more the hang of it this time. Though some of the facilities still baffle me: like stoves that allow the pan to fall off if you stir too vigorously, people that lift hot pans off the stove without either a handle on the pan or oven gloves, kettles that have metal handles so if you leave it boiling for a bit too long, the handle is too hot to handle (I have every intention of bringing some oven gloves with me next year!). Not to mention the culture of keeping each type of food you are cooking separate when you only have a single burner. I mean my brain tells me to cook as much one pot meals as possible to make it quicker, though worrying about time also doesn’t feature much in the culture so I guess that’s excusable! It can easily take me an hour and a half to prepare a meal and Ugandans eat 2 cooked meals each day!

I’ve also been taking advantage of the lax insurance laws in Uganda and been practicing some driving. It has been really good just getting the time on the road, however, I’ve also been experiencing some of the madness of driving in Africa! Fortunately, the roads around here are pretty quiet but they are in very poor repair in places and there is apparently quite a skill in predicting which is the best part of the road to drive one, especially when driving a Land Cruiser where the first part of the road you can see is actually about 7 metres away from the tyres so you have to calculate the time lag. Then there’s the other road users: the people and animals that much prefer spending their days in the middle of the road than anywhere sensible and aren’t particularly bothered about getting out the way when you approach them, the warriors who take the brakes off their bicycles because they reckon they slow them down (I think that’s more to do with poor maintainance!) and the drivers who if they know the traffic laws don’t want to know them! I am very glad that I got used to the roads as a passenger before I tried driving on them! Though the scariest moment was nothing to do with the roads or road users but when I wanted to slow down to give way to a motorbike and I couldn’t find the brake! Fortunately, I did find it in time! Rainbow still laughs about it now, that I was looking left and shouting “where’s the brake??” as if it was out of the window somewhere!

So that’s been my last few weeks since I updated! Hope it’s satisfied some of the curiousity but not been boring! To orientate you in terms of time scales, I’ve been on the right continent for over two months now, so I’ve got just under a month left. In some ways the time has flown and in others, I feel so settled that I don’t remember a tremendous amount about living anywhere else. It’s also very satisfying knowing that last year I only managed 2 months away so I’m trying to count anything now as bonus. Anyway, it is very clear that God has put this place very deep inside my heart, it’s the only town I really feel at home in, though I cannot give a rational explanation for it.

Karamoja life!

Hello to all again! Sorry I’ve been quiet for a while, I’ll try to write a longer one to make up for it!

Life here in Karamoja is top notch! It’s amazing getting to spend more time with Rainbow (who has a project here that I’ll be partnering with in the long-term), spending time in the community and enjoying the physical Geography of Kotido town. The weather here is hotter and sunnier than most of Uganda which is right up my street! Moreover, the views are absolutely spectacular, I’ve tried photographing/videoing a few but you simply have to be there with your own eyes to really appreciate them! Though sometimes the rugged beauty is marred somewhat by human and animal waste scattered everywhere. The Karimojong have a belief that if a girl uses a toilet (even a hole-in-the-ground-squatting toilet) she will never become pregant. Since Karimojong husbands expect their wives to produce enough girls to recover the dowry he paid for her, this is a risk they don’t want to take! As for the men, they would probably argue that using toilets just isn’t in their culture! (I personally think they need to appreciate what they have; I was very disappointed when I realised how short my time remaining to use the pit latrines is! I prefer them to flushing toilets, though I won’t spoil your appetites by explaining why.) After a while you do get used to picking your way carefully, trust me! I do still absolutely love this region of Uganda!

In the mornings, I’ve been teaching in a primary school here which has been a great experience, not only in terms of the teaching practice but it has also given me the opportunity to learn more about running a school in Uganda and time to consider some of the issues around education and how I can best deal with them in my own school. This has been especially beneficial now that I’m two thirds the way through my degree and so have a deeper understanding than I did back in 2015 on my gap year. This week they started the end of term exams (yeah the Ugandan school year/terms are totally different to the UK) so I’ve been helping with marking (though a class below the ones I’ve been teaching) which has been a bit of a rollercoaster. It has been interesting to see the work of another class, frustrating with the way they clearly lack a solid understanding of most of what they have been taught (the mistakes they are making tells me that the questions they have got correct are largely through rote learning rather than deep understanding. Though sometimes this mistakes can be quite entertaining, like when a child writes that 900+3=4048 and you wonder what on earth was going through their mind!) and also comforting to reinforce what I had gathered about the foundation that my learners had to build upon. I did know that surface instead of deep learning is the nature of the Ugandan Education system but it seems to have been hammered home to me much more this year. The other frustration is that the exams often have content which they are not supposed to have been taught yet, which is not fair on the learners nor gives an accurate assessment of what they have learned.

In the afternoons I’ve been involved in a variety of things including: some admin work (I particularly enjoyed letting my Yorkshire side out when I was working on some budgets), encouraging and giving advice to students in candidate classes that are sponsored through Shalom and having lessons in Ngakarimojong (the local language). The effects of the Tower of Babel are really inconvenient here, because I’m in a different area to where I took my gap year, the language is different. Totally different. So I have to start again from scratch. Though I am very excited, I’ve managed to locate a dictionary for Ngakarimojong in Kampala. Finding support materials for these local languages is very diificult. Though one of the big things I find challenging about it is that I constantly feel like I’m about to bite my tongue while I’m speaking it, the sounds they put together seem very unnatural! I also have given out the clothes I had brought with me (largely from kind donations from people at church). The children and staff at Shalom were all very appreciative of them and pass their thanks onto you all!

I know many of you have been waiting for the update from when I went to visit a team for a certain organisation I’m looking at working with long-term (for security reasons I’m not allowed to name names). It was a great weekend. I enjoyed fellowshipping with people who also have a heart for the Karimojong tribe: hearing about the difference they are making and also the challenges they face. It was also great to see how some of the theoretical documents I had read in the UK for the organisation worked out practically. I tend to be rather cynical while reading paperwork, I think it’s a result of reading too many school policies which have very little resemblance in reality or fail to mention some of the problems and complications in implementation (Is it bad that I have such a low view of British Education and I haven’t even finished my training yet?!). However, I was pleased to see the harmony between the theory and the practice with this particular organisation. I did have some practical, on the ground questions to ask the team (is that my Yorkshire side coming out again? And you all thought I’d come here to let my African side loose!!), however, they said that they aren’t sure how their ministry will look 3 or 4 years from now so it’s still a case of sitting and waiting. I have a meeting arranged with the area co-ordinators of the organisation which I’m looking forward to in just over a week.

On Sunday Rainbow and I are traveling back to Kampala/Wakiso for a few days. After various meetings, Rainbow is going back up to Karamoja while I’m going to be moving onto my final destination of Mukoko, Masaka. Mukoko is the location of Mother Janet for those of you who are familiar with that project.

I’ve also been becoming more proficient in cooking Ugandan style. I’d picked up a few bits and pieces before but I feel like I’ve got much more the hang of it this time. Though some of the facilities still baffle me: like stoves that allow the pan to fall off if you stir too vigorously, people that lift hot pans off the stove without either a handle on the pan or oven gloves, kettles that have metal handles so if you leave it boiling for a bit too long, the handle is too hot to handle (I have every intention of bringing some oven gloves with me next year!). Not to mention the culture of keeping each type of food you are cooking separate when you only have a single burner. I mean my brain tells me to cook as much one pot meals as possible to make it quicker, though worrying about time also doesn’t feature much in the culture so I guess that’s excusable! It can easily take me an hour and a half to prepare a meal and Ugandans eat 2 cooked meals each day!

I’ve also been taking advantage of the lax insurance laws in Uganda and been practicing some driving. It has been really good just getting the time on the road, however, I’ve also been experiencing some of the madness of driving in Africa! Fortunately, the roads around here are pretty quiet but they are in very poor repair in places and there is apparently quite a skill in predicting which is the best part of the road to drive one, especially when driving a Land Cruiser where the first part of the road you can see is actually about 7 metres away from the tyres so you have to calculate the time lag. Then there’s the other road users: the people and animals that much prefer spending their days in the middle of the road than anywhere sensible and aren’t particularly bothered about getting out the way when you approach them, the warriors who take the brakes off their bicycles because they reckon they slow them down (I think that’s more to do with poor maintainance!) and the drivers who if they know the traffic laws don’t want to know them! I am very glad that I got used to the roads as a passenger before I tried driving on them! Though the scariest moment was nothing to do with the roads or road users but when I wanted to slow down to give way to a motorbike and I couldn’t find the brake! Fortunately, I did find it in time! Rainbow still laughs about it now, that I was looking left and shouting “where’s the brake??” as if it was out of the window somewhere!

So that’s been my last few weeks since I updated! Hope it’s satisfied some of the curiousity but not been boring! To orientate you in terms of time scales, I’ve been on the right continent for over two months now, so I’ve got just under a month left. In some ways the time has flown and in others, I feel so settled that I don’t remember a tremendous amount about living anywhere else. It’s also very satisfying knowing that last year I only managed 2 months away so I’m trying to count anything now as bonus. Anyway, it is very clear that God has put this place very deep inside my heart, it’s the only town I really feel at home in, though I cannot give a rational explanation for it.

Induction, Travelling and Thoughts …

Hello again!

Thank you for everyone who prayed for the journey of Rainbow and I to Karamoja, the road was terrible before and after we used it but was the best it had been in a long time when we passed through. Isn’t our God amazing! Over the weekend we had a flying visit to see Rainbow’s children at boarding school Kampala – all boarding schools have a “visitation day” for parents to see their children and talk to the teachers about how they are doing. We made it into a visitation weekend and joined it with surprising Joshua (who I call my brother) on his birthday. Again we saw Gods mercy on the roads. On the way there we had a minor breakdown so I hopped out and into the bush to go to the loo, except I forgot that my skin is not tough like the Africans. While I was stood behind the car trying to piece my shredded legs back together, the car was jump started but we did not realise it was in reverse. I panicked and my legs took me into the middle of the road, amazingly there were no cars coming in either direction, even though its a main road. On the way back, if we had come back a day later there was a very real chance we would have got stuck but we passed on a dry road. You could call it coincidence or good luck but it happens too regularly for me to think in that way!

One of the great joys of being back in Karamoja was seeing my turkeys! I ended up being given a pair and they have successfully bred so now I have seven! I plan on eating one and probably selling some to buy more to avoid inbreeding (though it is very common here!).

Last week was a bit of an induction week – getting to know the school and the classes that I’m teaching in etc. and then the school had some exams. The week was punctuated in the middle by a day of vomiting, after which I was fine without any medication (so please don’t worry, I’m absolutely fine now). This week i felt so alive getting down to some serious teaching! Especially without the pressure of being observed and assessed that comes with being a trainee in the UK. I’m only teaching in the mornings so I have plenty of time to reflect on different practices and how I would organise my own school in Uganda. Its also interesting contrasting how favourable the administration of the school is, compared to where I was teaching on my gap year.

Most of the time I love making resources from the little I have, like today I made a clock with moving hands from my water box and a nail I found hanging around. My lessons today were a bit rough and ready like my clock since I didn’t have access to the curriculum much before I was about to teach. For one of the lessons I found out the book I was supposed to be using was being borrowed by another teacher who was off sick but I did get a certain thrill of making my own up! However, I do miss having a photocopier! Students sometimes take longer copying the exercise from the blackboard than actually completing it! It feels very inefficient.

Right now I’m cooking tea. The original plan was for me to cook while Rainbow was playing football but he came home early with an injury and I’m rather inexperienced and slow with Ugandan stoves! I’ve been compiling a Ugandan recipe book which is quite interesting at times since nobody measures anything here! However, today I’m applying a standard Ugandan method to a vegetable I’ve not watched been cooked before called okra (I’m not sure if that is the correct English word, if it is available in the UK or even if that is English but its the only word I know for it!) with mash (though made without a masher!). Hopefully an interesting mix of cultures! Anyway I’d better see if my spuds are done yet …