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Friday, June 5, 2009

Today we packed up and headed back to Red Chili. Our first stop was at the primary school. This was definitely my favorite thing of the day. Beginning with the assembly was great. We both were able to ask each other questions and even both sing our national anthems together. I was glad that most of them have very high ambitions, some saying they wanted to be doctors and engineers. Most also were hoping to go to a University which is great as well. After the assembly we all broke into groups and went to different classrooms. The first classroom I went to the kids were so shy and scared to talk to us. They were very young. We continually tried to ask them questions or have them say their abc’s but they just sat there and stared. It was pretty comical to say the least. We were able to move around a bit and talked to a few other older classes. Most were shocked that three girls played soccer at Drake and so many of the questions asked revolved around that, what our favorite team was etc. Then we all went out into the main area to just converse with everyone. All the kids were swarming and loved getting their picture taken. They also wanted to play a game of soccer but they swarm of children wouldn’t allow it.
The way home consisted of another stop at the equator where we were able to buy some souvenirs. And that last was at the crocodile farm. We saw several different crocodiles at all different stages in their life, but the one that seemed to attract the most attention was the enormous one that supposedly has killed quite a few people. Watching the chicken be eaten was definitely a highlight. It’s one of those things where you don’t want to watch because it is cruel but you can’t get yourself to turn your eyes away. The way it ate that chicken so fast was pretty terrifying. Overall a good trip home with a fun filled day. What were your thoughts about the primary school? Things you liked, didn’t like or were surprised by?


  1. The highlight of this trip for me was going to the primary school. I have worked with elementary kids before, especially who come from rougher backgrounds, and I was still shocked from our visit. It was a public primary school, so the government pays for it, but there was still a school uniform and a hair cut requirement (buzz cut) to "look smart". Some of the kids had physical impairments. One kid only had a finger and a thumb for a hand, and many other had either arm or leg disabilities. Also, it was shocking to find out that they start learning to read in 5th grade.

    I really enjoyed when we got to go into the classrooms and answer some of their questions about America. I answered a lot of questions about Obama, but their questions were so specific that I had a sneaking suspicion that they knew the answers to the questions they were asking me, but they wanted to see how much I knew.

    I think next year, the group should bring more to give to the kids. Some of them were asking us to sponsor them and others were asking for soccer balls, volleyballs, and playstations. I would have loved to spend the whole day there, but am just glad we had the opportunity to make their day special.

  2. My highlight of the day was definitely the visit to the primary school. It was such a great experience and comparable to schools I have attended and seen here in the United States. This experience was vastly different in some ways. It was great to see an institution where children are learning--- working on their English, learning about creation (which is not something we learn here), agriculture (which is an important topic for these students to learn, most of them having grown up and working on a farm of some sort), reading, writing, and so on. The whole day was very special and I remember a boy wanting to play some soccer with me. So, we took a old, flat basketball and kicked the ball back and forth working on our passing skills. A whole group of students crowded around and admired our soccer playing. It definitely made his day and mine as well. This day was very special, as FrAnk mentioned. When I go back to Africa and hopefully visit Uganda again, I would love to visit more primary schools and spend more time there.

  3. I spent my time with the oldest class. Most of the students where about 12 years old. They spoke English and had a lot of great questions (some of which I had to think hard to remember the answer to). They asked about our major imports and exports, how we raise our cattle (my mom grew up on a farm with cattle), when our constitution was written, how long our president stayed in office between elections. It was great. I even had some questions about the exchange rate and what the process was to come study (or teach in the case of the teacher) in the US. From what I could see (on the posters they had on the walls), the progression of their lessons was comparable to ours: they were learning about levers and pulleys, inner parts and workings of the eye, world geography.

    The only thing I would have liked more, is if we could have had a lecture or question and answer session with a principal or administrator. I think that would give us a better idea of how their schools are ran in comparison to our own. I enjoyed spending time with the students, but I wouldn't say that I learned a great amount about their education system as a whole.