June 2017

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June 2017

June 22nd- KCK

Today we visited another school in the morning. We were given a warm greeting by teachers and students which was complimented by some kind of crawly creature biting my bottom as soon as I sat down- a bitter sweet combo. From there we split into two groups to present different topics. I helped present Moeen’s sex education presentation to an adolescent group. What struck me today was how much more educated children at school are in comparison to slum schools/ centres, despite being so basic. The children here in Uganda love to learn. You can see this in their attentiveness and concentration, as well as their desire to be involved in lessons. This seems a far cry from the education system in the UK where we have so many resources in comparison, but a debatable passion to learn and an equally questionable appreciation of education in general. It is also great to hear that the kids here want more sex education, too; a very controversial topic indeed.

In the afternoon, we travelled to Namuwongo slum- the largest in Uganda. The conditions appeared slightly better than Katanga and there appeared to be slightly more room through where we walked. Nevertheless, conditions were still horrendous with rubbish and sewage lying next to front doors where children play and eat. Once again we were mobbed by children, but fear not, we are now fully qualified Muzungus and know our role well!

I presented my tooth brushing topic for the second time, but had to adapt it slightly as we had very limited room and over 60 young children in a small room (or perhaps more appropriately, a furnace)! Something that has become increasingly clear is just how much we take simple things for granted- it feels as if we waltz into these classrooms, demanding children eat certain things, use certain equipment and wear certain clothes in order to maintain their health, but in reality, most of these children will not eat three meals a day because their parents cannot provide them, they will not have something as simple as a toothbrush and are wearing dirty, broken, old clothes passed down through the family because there is no other option… To combat this, I added in to my presentation the alternatives to using toothbrushes and pastes that not surprisingly, all of the children knew.

Driving through Kampala highlights how developed the UK is. However, despite our gadgets, sanitary living conditions and wealth, the Ugandans seem much happier and friendlier than the British. Their trademark is to relax and be in no rush, which the British are well known for here. It seems as if Ugandans look at us and assume that we are rich because of where we come from, yet many of us long for the happiness and contentment that even the most disadvantaged communities seem to exude here. The concept of being ‘poor’ is an interesting one- there is certainly a distinct difference between considering yourself poor because you cannot afford a holiday and not being able to eat a single meal a day…

Ugandans seem to appreciate absolutely everything they have, which is usually very little. Is ‘being rich’ about having money, or is it about what is in your heart?- I know my definition of ‘rich’ is rapidly changing.

Megan

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