Today we set off with some trepidation to visit Kabwami School, a first visit for us as it is a potential new project. Why the trepidation? We knew Canon Patrick hoped we could assist in the renovation of this school, a project rather larger than our funds generally allow for. As always we were made very welcome and then we began the tour of the school.
We were advised not to spend too long in the classrooms as there were jiggers in the dusty mud floors (they lay their eggs under the skin between your toes) and the children were regularly bitten by fleas!!! Many of the children spend all day in these classrooms…. Barefoot.
As we moved through the classes it occurred to us that this school was actually in better condition than the schools at Kimwanyi and Kagganda prior to their renovations, carried out thanks to two individual significant donations. Iron sheets are expensive but a large part of the roof is sound and the walls are in a fair condition. Some cement and paint would go a long way to improving this school and motivating both staff and pupils. Of course there is far more than that to be done, but maybe…. just maybe, there is something we can do to help.
We were a little worried about health and safety as we watched the students preparing the ground to plant vegetables for lunch.
We were horrified to learn that this church primary school has just one Bible, that the staff and children often go all day with only a small cup of porridge and the children have to bring their own jerry cans and then walk over 3 km each way to fetch water.
The church congregation here is very small, around 30 adults and children. Having seen the difference such intervention has made in other communities it would be wonderful if this was the start of real growth in Kabwami.
We caused a little CHI and left, with much waving, to cries of “see you” from the children. We hope we will ‘see them’ again on a future visit, hopefully without fear of jiggers or fleas.
On the way back at 1.30pm we made a short stop at the market to purchase some material, then left it with a local tailor. At 6pm we collected the finished garments. A mixed reaction from our families but we are very happy with the results.
The afternoon was spent in discussion with Canon Patrick reviewing our observations and thoughts on the projects we have visited over the last two weeks. It was a very productive time which enabled us to gain a better understanding of all that is going on in this Parish. We shared our challenges, and discussed ways in which the interventions can be made even more effective.
This is our first visit since the work in Kimwany, our first parish project, had largely concluded and lessons have been learned along the way. We are optimistic that the subsequent parish projects will prove even more successful.