Week 2 – Schools
The start of our second week in Uganda began with the arrival of two more volunteers. After a rest day and another trip to Kasese town, we kicked off the start of our visits to the QEPP twinned schools.
We spent two days at Burkorwe Primary School in the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The children and teachers were incredibly welcoming. Rebecca, deputy headteacher of Burkorwe’s twinned school, Clanfield Junior School, exchanged gifts and we greeted the children. I received an impromptu language lesson from a group of girls. We started exchanging words sat on the school field, before long I was shown into a classroom and handed chalk to write phrases on the chalkboard. The girls were very patient as I spelled out each word and I enjoyed learning their language! At the end of the day we headed into the local town, Kihihi to find a room for the night.
While half the team spoke to rangers, three of use remained at the school. My mum (head of kitchen at Clanfield Junior) and I helped Rebecca to deliver a lesson on the life of children in Britain and British culture. Afterwards we meet the P6 &P7 girls with some of their teachers to talk about the difficulties the girls face while having their periods. In Uganda, it is not usual for girls to miss school while on their periods. Rebecca lead a discussion on how this effect the quality of their education. It was very sad to hear the sometimes girls drop out of school all together. Rebecca had raised fund and brought sanitary towels to hand out to the girls. The hope is that these will help enable the girls to continue their education, and we hope that the girls will give us feedback on the usefulness of reusable sanitary towels and how we can help in the future.
On our journey back to Mweya, we stopped at the Ishasha river camp. The Ishasha river marks the border between the DRC and Uganda, and separates Virunga National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Here we also caught up with rangers who had attended Nature’s Frontline & QEPP training courses and exchange programmes. It was fantastic to catch up with old friends!
Our next school visit was to Katunguru Primary School, not far from Mweya. The children were incredibly excited to see us. After greeting the teachers, we visited each of the classes. We were treated to some fantastic singing. Two of the team snuck off to join in with the P4 class. We had some fantastic questions during discussions on wildlife conservation. The team also had the opportunity to chat to the P6 and P7 girls. The girls at Katunguru had completed a workshop in making reusable sanitary towels. They discussed the pros and cons of these, and while they often work, the girls said the pads were incredibly uncomfortable to use. We passed around a couple of reusable pads to each girl, in the hope that these will help them to better manage their periods and stay in school.
We also had the chance to catch up with the Girlguiding leaders we met in 2013. It was great to see them again and we were honoured by their welcome. We met some of the guides from Kasese and passed on letters and gifts from guides and brownies in the UK. We hope that this partnership will continue to grow!
The second week ended with the Conservation Cup. This is the second year that the QEPP has run the inter-school tag-rugby competition. The idea is to get schools and communities talking about conservation through participation in sport. The first day was a practice and training day, giving the children a chance to refine their skills and game strategy, as well as meet new friends. The second day was the main competition. Every one of the teams gave it their all and played fantastic games. I even had a chance to step onto the pitch in the community and staff game! You can read more about the tournament in Ugandan media:
We also found time in our busy schedule for another supply run to Kasese town, and for a second trip to the view point on the escarpment!