Since arriving at Kitale School, we have been overwhelmed by the kindness and the resourcefulness of all of the staff and pupils – the children share their precious fruit with us every day!
The skill centre business plan is nearly finished with just some financial calculations to make (there is a very tight budget). We are aiming for a January build which is looking hopeful as all the stakeholders are on board. We would like to have electricity at the school and skill centre if possible. It would involve 3 pylons at a cost of 3000 pounds. We are also looking at combining this with solar power.
Hannah measured all the older girls for bras and then Hannah, Regina (Kitale project manager) and I had the task of sorting through the donations and matching bra to pupil. We can’t thank you enough for your kind donations as we managed to give all of the older girls a bra! They promptly put them on over their dresses for a photo shoot!
I had decided out of respect to the children that we should not take any photos of us giving out underwear. The children were having none of this! They wanted to have their photos taken trying on their knickers, dancing with their knickers, waving their knickers in the air…
We sorted out all of the knickers into sizes and then gave the youngest their pairs first. All of the pupils received 2 pairs initially with plenty more to be handed out next month.
The older classes had an afternoon of hygiene and health advice from the village nurse. We identified a few health problems with the children: one girl had very severe oral thrush which was preventing her from eating, lots of children with ringworm, some severe cases of menstrual cramps and a little girl who is HIV positive with a rash covering most of her body. We were able to provide all with the medicine required.
Vincent, the school/community manager, had sent his mid–year report just before we left for Uganda. It was all very positive except for the fact that a few of the lesson plans were not 100% due to a lack of resources. They did not have a geometry set, red pens, marker pens for class notices, an English dictionary, chalk, reading books for the younger classes or a decent pair of scissors!
You kindly donated the books, pens and chalk, we brought ten geometry sets with us and the rest we bought in the local town!
After the school was set up, it became apparent that hungry children found it difficult to concentrate. Raising money to buy food could have been a solution but long term, this clearly wasn’t the answer. Instead, land was donated to the school and the children and guardians planted maize and beans. The children now get two cups of maize porridge a day. A lot of the cups the children used needed to be replaced and we were able to buy cups for practically the whole school for not much more than a tenner!!
Hannah had the chance to teach some English to the pupils but has become especially popular during P.E. She brought with her a large parachute game (she played with one at Guides so knew it would be fun) and the children love it. I cannot remember the last time I heard so much laughter. Most of the school can now do the Hokey Cokey – it may not have been on the Ugandan school syllabus but sometimes you just have to have fun.
One morning I was walking past the classrooms with my jerry can to get some water and got goosebumps all over. At the top of their voices, P7 were singing ‘Flower of Scotland’ – video to follow.
Hannah and I recently took a break and went on a two and a half day safari. We were blessed with great wildlife sightings in two stunning national parks.
In our final week in Kitale, we hope to help with a mentoring project and get some outline plans for potential microfinance for the skills centre. Hannah brought sex education lessons with her and she will go through the lessons with the teachers to pass on to the older children.
On our final day, the children are going to put on a traditional show of song and dance and possibly even the Hokey Cokey! It looks like we may have to buy a fair amount of party food!