Sunday, September 8, 2013

Life in Uganda: Update Four

Each morning this week, I have woken up to the Ugandan sunrise and walked less than a half-mile to Legacy Christian Academy Uganda. As many of you know, I’m usually not well-acquainted the sunrise, but I have embraced the early mornings so far. At some point during my commute, I’m greeted with fierce hugs by a few of the students in my class, and we walk the rest of the way together. The students are usually so excited to come to school that they show up very early.

The head teacher, Kate, is a fabulously sassy Ugandan who loves Boyz II Men, which is always a good beginning to a friendship. We have had a great time working together. Bekah is next door in the same grade, so we get to see each other a lot during the day. We teach K-2, which is the second year of kindergarten, although I have kids ages 5-11 in my class. We are trying to get them all to a basic level before they start the first year of primary school.

This is the third term of the first year of Legacy, and it is amazing how much progress they have made this year, especially because it is an English immersion program and many of the kids began not speaking any English. Because English is the national language of Uganda, the universities and many professional jobs use English, so if the students want to get a job outside of the village, they will need to speak English.

Seeing as I don’t speak much Luganda yet, the communication is pretty comical at times, with lots of hand motions, repeating and translations from Kate. But we are learning to be patient and laugh at each other when we have no idea what the other is saying. [Enter cheesy line about how laughter is the universal language.]

School goes from 8 am – 1 pm, and is begun with the kids brushing their teeth, because they don’t usually get to at home. We do Bible and circle time to start the day, followed with table time where the kids rotate through stations. A few days a week, we have chapel, which is led by Solomon, the headmaster. He is so animated and energetic that if the school thing ever falls through, I think he could have a serious go at a game show host.

Lunch in the same every day, posho (ground up corn, including the husks) and beans, made over a fire and served under a big tent. The teachers usually hang out under the trees, getting tea and a special food like chapatti (fried bread) or cassava fries (a root vegetable seasoned and fried). The kids run around and play soccer after lunch and then we finish the day.

It has been quite the learning curve, but as far as first weeks go, it has gone surprisingly well.  I always wanted to be a teacher when I was growing up, so here’s my big chance. I’m demanding they give me an honorary doctorate from the village before I leave! Haha. Not surprisingly, the kids have quite successfully crawled into my heart, and I can already get a little sad thinking about leaving them. One thing that is so fun is that they aren’t jaded and unimpressed with simple things. They will sit and color for an hour if we would let them and the older boys were still quite enthusiastic about “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” when I taught them.

I’ll post more about the education system and attitudes about children in Uganda and how Legacy is trying to begin some reformation in a small way, starting with this village. You can pray that I would love the kids well in my time here. Pray that I wouldn’t get sick, as no one keeps their kids home when they are sick, so there is a lot of funkiness in our class. Pray for the relationships with the teachers, that a common vision and love for God and the community would bring us together, as we try to cross cultural barriers, involve the parents, and begin to train a generation.  

1 comment:

  1. Not easy or automatic, but SO worth it! You go, girl!
    Love and prayers,


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