Another scorching day in the town of Kyotera where children still run down the street chasing us with cries of muzungu! I don’t think I will ever again feel so famous as I do in Uganda. It’s funny that after almost a month here we feel as if we are beginning to blend in, yet every time we venture outside the grounds of KAASO we are reminded of how much we stick out, the colour of our skin blinding white in contrast to these faces that live under the scorching African sun.
The last few days have been yet another whirlwind adventure – the story of my life currently. Dominic took us to the government school that he runs down near the Tanzanian border. It was an eye-opener to say the least. All the time we have been here we have been taking our perception of ‘norms’ from KAASO, overwhelming though they may be. Kamuganja School was another story. Located in the middle of nowhere, it serves a community that largely consists of Rwanda cattle herders that fled their homes during the genocide of 1994. The people carry the scars of unspeakable tragedy and the children are understandably affected. The families are scattered far and wide around the surrounding area and to get to school, some children must walk over two hours and be ferried across a river, an offshoot of Lake Victoria, by boat if they can find one. There were less than 100 students here when Dominic took over as headmaster two years ago; now the school roll is over 300. The community is extremely poor and although being a government school there are no school fees, there is no provision for such things as uniforms, resources or even lunch. Most families cannot afford even to pay for the children’s lunch which consists of one cup of watery porridge to sustain them for the day. For some, this may be the day’s food.
So we arrived at Kamuganja to be met by 300 faces, half thrilled, half terrified who clapped and sang for us as we bumped our way along the dirt road. Dominic stopped the car for us to get out and walk amongst them into the school grounds. The red earth felt like a red carpet. They were so genuinely grateful to simply have us there and it was overwhelming to say the least. Continue reading