Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Ugandan life...!

Hi everyone!

I'll start with teaching.
My P.6 class are definitely starting to get used to me and are becoming a lot more pro-active when I'm teaching. It used to just be the front rows that contributed but now even children at the back are taking part. I am also enjoying teaching a lot more having been doing it for about a month now. 
I get on really well with the Deputy Head called Janet. I always have a laugh with her, she is crazy and very Ugandan!! I have also discovered I can buy Jackfruit from her so that makes the 3 girls I live with happy.

To take an exam it costs 2000 Ugandan shillings which in the UK is 50p. It is sad to see how many children cannot get money from their parents to take the exams but my P.6 are slowly managing to get the money so I hope many will be taking the exam this month. My school is a government school however the government cannot afford to pay for the exams.
Teaching for sure has been a challenge in the last 2 weeks as I have been constantly ill but I've been powering throught getting the job done and now I am nearly better!

So... Ugandan life........

Wow, October has been some month. The forst two weeks of October I was just not myself. I felt very odd and couldn't really pinpoint why I was feeling so out of character.I figured out eventually that it must be Culture Shock, Uganda is not a country that I think any person could settle into at ease. However after having a good talk on the phone to my Project Trust Desk Officer Jen I cheered up and continued with crazy Ugandan life. Crazy Ugandan life being having a few occasions where I am standing in some weird ugandan situation thinking, "What on EARTH is happening right now?!?!?!" In the last few weeks I have experienced and been part of two very cultural events and I know I keep using the word crazy but it really does some it up.

On Saturday 12th I was handwashing my clothes, just getting myself organised for the upcoming week only to be picked up out of the blue and put in a car with my Project partners: Jodie, Steph and Lauren. We then had to attempt to to drive up this massive muddy hill, sliding everywhere as it had rained the night before. I felt like I should be on Top Gear or something... Once we got to the top of the hill we were taken into a house, dressed up into traditional Ugandan clothes, taught how to do this weid marching/dancing/walking thing then we qwew pushed out of the door onto a large mat covered in reeds and had to march around with two Ugandans except that it was infornt of about 300 Ugandan "spectators." It was very African and we honestly had no idea what on earth was happening, only that we seemed to be part of it. It turns out that we were at a Ugandan Introduction Party (sort of like an Engagement Party. I think...) and we were giving our blessing or something... I still don't know why or how we ended up there. It was a great experience but very embarrassing!! Maybe the most bizarre day of my life so far...

Then on Saturday 19th October it was Justuce's and Mariam's wedding day. We got up early and went to the salon in Kaihura to do our hair etc etc. It was odd making ourseleves look nice and to see myslef in a mirror! I actually sort of forgot what I looked like! There was a big drama with the dresses when I got given my dress (all our dresses were tailored to our sizes) and it was TINY! Yet I had tried it on the day before and it was fitting perfectly! I was not sure how I could have grown so much overnight... Turns out I had been given a childs dress and I got my dress back and everything was fine. We got cars up to the church and walked down the aisle. Mariam looked beautiful in an ivory dress and veil. The service was lovely and it was a proud moment seeing Justuce and Mariam finally be wed as they have been together for so long and they are such good friends of mine. We had wedding photos (I'm so sad I cannot upload any. These computers are very stubbon.) and then went to the reception which was similar to the Introduction Party the weekend before. So again I found myself in a bizarre Ugandan situation where we had to dance around the wedding cakes and dance through the audience to find Justuce (it's a Ugandan traditon for the groom to hide and you have to find him). All in all another crazy day in Kaihua. Don't get me wrong, I am happy I have been privilaged enough to be part of these very raw cultural occassions but I am not exaggerating at how exhausting and slightly overwhelming they are. It is so so different to England in every single way. 

Last weekend I went and visited my good friends Abi and Jess who live in Miyanze. There project is fantastic and very rural. Much more how I imaged my project to be like so I shall be visiting them more! Also their town sells the BEST Rolex's I have ever tasted in my time here. And only for 1,300 with 2 eggs. I do love Ugandan street food it is delicius but I go no where near the meat. I miss meat but I do not like the meat here. Always odd things attached to it... 

This weekend is a solar eclipse so we will be watching that. Kyenjojo District is the best place to watch it in all of Uganda apparetly so I'm happy about that!

Also a few local-y reports of Cannabalism. I'm not even joking. It's real... But hopefully Mzungu's don't taste good.... I'm trying to laugh about it rather than worry!!!

So all in all October has been a very cultural month but I cannot pretend it has been an easy month. There have been some tough times and our project is 24/7. Always so busy and sometimes I just want to sleep all day and watch a film! Not going to happen anytime soon!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Teaching 90+ Students

I have completed my first 2 weeks being a teacher for the first time as my school is no longer on strike! I expected it to be very daunting as on my first day I was teaching 70ish (as not all the children made it due to heavy rain) students but suprisingly it wasn't. On the first Monday I walked into my classroom with around 40 students and thought that it wouldn't be too bad then for the next few minutes there was just a train of students coming through the door! There are 4 or 5 children to one desk which is quite a squish.

I teach at Kaihura Pink Primary school and teach P.6 which is a very mixed age group. Some are a lot younger and other older. My name is now Madam Bella which I don't like too much and shall not be keeping when I get back to the UK!! When I enter a classroom the children clap for me which at first was just embarrassing and they don't do it much anymore!

P.6 are a good class and work hard. Here in Uganda we are in Term 3 so they are about to sit their exams. They are also a very well behaved class so that is very nice. I do not have any problems with them. I share my classes with the other P.6 teacher who is called Patrick and he is so nice and buys me bread at break time.

So I arrive at school at 8am and start teaching around 9ish... It's never exact!So far I have not started teaching Art but have just been teaching English. English here is very different to the English we learn in the UK. It is very much based around the Ugandan way of living. For example, the last two weeks I have been teaching English around the topic of carpentry and now I know lots about Tools! Teaching isn't something I yet really enjoy but I think in time I will. I spend the majority of my time marking 92 English books then 92 of Patrick's maths books. Every single day! It is exhausting but I enjoy marking them as it is satisfying for me when they get good marks in the topic I am teaching. And now I no longer cringe with squeaky chalk on blackboards. It's just part of everyday life!!

Aside from teaching we are all still very busy but cannot fit as much time in our days for other things. We still visit the older children at Kaihura Parents Secondary School and I have seen the younger children a few times. They make me smile so much.
Jodie and Lauren had a hilarious shower in the rain and thunder last week and our friend Charles from the cafe is being his odd usual self. He says things that are normal (apparently) for Ugandan people to say but we just think is rather odd! For example the other day he offered to cut Jodie's toe nails than told us he would climb a tree to get us a Jackfruit. I think he means well! Also as we at the cafe we turned around to see a public taxi with a coffin tied with string to the roof... Typical Uganda...

On Wednesday it was Ugandan Independence Day and we got the day of teaching. We made delicious pancakes then watched a football match - Kaihura vs. Kampala. Unfortunately we lost.

Internet about to die so bye for now!!! xx