Thunder, lightning and torrential rain accompanied our breakfast today, and this is supposed to be the dry season.
Climate change is certainly being felt here as the rain that should have stopped at the end of December continues to fall, the corn is rotting in the fields and the impact on subsistence farmers and the cost of food generally will be felt all too keenly very soon, as those already struggling to provide one meal a day find life is suddenly even harder.
Today we headed to Kabanda School where Patrick, our partner here in Uganda, attended from the age of six. In a remote rural location, the school had been in a dire state of repair and Patrick had approached us during Covid to see if we could help. Although this school is not in Patrick’s archdeaconry it was his way of saying thank you to the clergy and staff who had guided and helped him during a difficult childhood. One of Patrick’s teachers, now retired, and his uncle. are among those on the school board and many of the school alumni had also turned up to greet us.
This was our first visit, and the first day back at school for the children of Kabanda. Many parents had also turned up to greet us, it is unusual for parents to come to school here, most children take themselves to school from a very early age, Patrick told us he had to walk 5km each way. around 175 children had arrived for the first day of term, a good turn out due to the visit from the bazungu. The first week of term is usually not well attended as the main activity during this time is cleaning the school!!
Despite the lack of opportunity for practice we were entertained with traditional music and dance.
Our tour revealed two remaining blocks that are in need of some T.L.C., these had not been costed for in the original application as they were in comparatively good order, but now look rather sad compared to the renovated blocks.
Disappointingly, some of the guttering had been stolen over the school holidays resulting in the water tank not being efficiently filled. However we were delighted with the smart looking classrooms. The number of children registering at this school doubled as a result of the renovations.
Sadly, we could see from the registration chart on the office wall how the number of students registering drops as they progress through school, particularly for boys. By primary 4 many are spending their days fishing on Lake Victoria to provide food and an income for their families. The challenge of instilling in parents and children the value of completing their education is a constant frustration for Patrick.
After a short time spent interacting with the children and a quick lunch we were heading for home. Probably due to our considerable amount of off roading, the car requires a service before we head to Rakai tomorrow.
A relatively early return home and another swim before dinner, what a luxury.