Today marked our last day in the southern part of the country. We began the morning with a stop at a local primary school, the Mbarara Mixed School. This is a Universal Primary Education facility offering classrooms to children in pre-primary as well as P1-P7. Boarding is also available for children who live too far away from the school to travel each day (at the expense of their parents.)
We began with an all school assembly, being welcomed by some very excited children. A question and answer portion followed, with questions coming from both the children and our group. We then split into smaller groups and had an opportunity to see a couple of classrooms and have more one-on-one experiences. Speaking with the headmistress led me to much information on the logistics of such a school yet I was excited to get back to the children. They were so innocent and excited to ask questions, tell us about themselves, and most of all – have their pictures taken. While some Drake students chose to ‘cuddle’ with a young child, others enjoyed being surrounded and having conversations. It was a sad goodbye, with only one child trying to make a getaway by joining us on the bus.
I about broke down in tears when a child told me he was an orphan and asked if I could sponsor him. The government was going to stop providing money for him to go to school, and he has no one else. What was the most touching part of your day at the primary school?
The rest of the journey back to Kampala included a second stop at the equator for shopping. We then visited “Croc Camp,” a crocodile farm. The owner gathers the eggs from a local ‘park’ with the help of a park ranger, incubates the eggs, raises the crocs until the age of three, skins them and sells their skin at the market in Kampala. He currently has over 3,000 crocs. The students quickly discovered that if they bought a chicken, we could watch the largest crocodile have lunch. It didn’t take long to gather 6,000/= (approx $3) for the purchase of a chicken from the local village. Some looked on with amazement while others (ie. Dr. Bishop) had looks of concern.
Another long bus ride completed. I recommend asking the MUBS students to tell you a bedtime story next time we’re on the bus. They recall stories from when they were young; they are both entertaining and give an excellent example of the culture of Africa.