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Former student visits Ikoba Secondary School in Uganda

For nearly two months I have been living and teaching at Ikoba Girl’s Secondary school. Aside from teaching the girls, each day consists of some sport, lots of singing and dancing and eating posho and beans; which I will come to later.

While I have been here I have been teaching English, ICT and sport. The English lessons have included lots of poetry and creative writing; once the girls feel free to be creative they can write some amazing poems. The most popular topicsarecows and Ikoba but my favourites always include the mention of me or my dog back home! The computer lessons are often the most rewarding because after teaching a class I will often find students working away to carry out the same task alone and they are always eager to learn more. When it comes to the sport lessons I am no expert but just taking them out means they all get involved. They love playing football and cricket but they are all very competitive no matter what the game! They are all really looking forward to the new playground which will be funded by money raised by Redcliffe in the 10 year celebrations because at the moment they play on uneven and rocky terrain.  

 

 

 

While I have been here I have seen just how much the partnership has helped everyone at this school.

 

 

Once lessons have finished at 4.40 the girls are free for a couple of hours. This is when we make mango juice, play chess or listen to my music and dance- many have learnt the Macarena and every word to ‘shake it off’ by Taylor Swift! The girls eat posho (maize flour mixed with water) and beans for most meals and I usually join them. They don’t complain about the food though because they are always so grateful for what they are given,especially when they get soda on a special occasion like Easter!

The girls work very hard every day; not only do they have to go to morning preps from 5 am and night preps from 7.30 until 10pm they have to carry out their domestic tasks. When I arrived I did not know how to properly wash my clothes by hand or collect water but each weekend without fail a small army is on hand to show me how it is done and they always make it look so easy- but it’s not! I also had to get used to bathing from a basin and the delights of a latrine, but then you soon realise that really it is nothing and although I would love to have a shower everyone here is so amazing that I would easily leave running water and constant electricity to be with them. One day it was discovered that there was no water left in the water tank that we usually collect water from so it was announced that there was a water crisis! We all had to walk for over 3km with our jerry cans to collect water, a distance some people usually have to walk, and although we walked back in the dark people did not complain.

 

 Washing and collecting water

    


While I have been here I have also been involved in a few celebrations with the school and they are always joyous and filled with lots of singing and dancing. The school had a thanksgiving celebration following their good results last year where the main celebrant was the bishop and there was cake for everyone! I joined some of the girls who took part in the Women’s Day march with lots of other girls from local schools, the police and the army. The most exciting celebration though was the celebration of the partnership. As well as lots of singing and traditional dancing students read out poems about the partnership and everything it has done for them as well as the love the partnership brings.

 

 

...it doesn’t matter that there is no power for a while when you are surrounded by people who are filled with so much love and appreciation.

 

 

My time here has been amazing. There have been times when I look around and wonder why life here is still so hard- why do they not surface the roads when they say they will so that the crowded minibus I am in gets stuck in mud after the rain and makes it so hard for teachers to get to school each day? But then I realised that it doesn’t matter that there is no power for a while when you are surrounded by people who are filled with so much love and appreciation. While I have been here I have seen just how much the partnership has helped everyone at this school- from fixing dormitory roofs and buying stoves for the kitchen to a cow which the school sells milk from, the money that has been raised over the past 10 years has helped so much. But not only has the money helped there is a bond between the schools which is very special.

 

Isabelle Ward

 

Group photo

 

Isabelle is a former student of SMRT and visited Ikoba this year.

 

 

 

Tags: Ikoba