Guest blogger and Women’s Opportunity Network (WON) member Julie Hindmarsh sends us this report while on WON’s “Mothers, Daughters and Sisters” Insight Trip to Uganda.
On Tuesday, we devoted additional time to seeing Ugandan private schools funded by loans from Opportunity‘s Banking on Education initiative. We wanted not only to observe but also to participate. The welcome we received at Kazo Summit School exceeded our expectations…
It sounded like a gigantic swarm of bees coming closer and closer, constantly increasing in volume, when we arrived at the Kazo Summit School. Yet the swarm was actually 500+ primary students in red and white uniforms rushing from their classrooms to welcome the muzumbas (white people). They were soon joined by 500+ older students sauntering toward us. “Welcome visitors!” was repeated in unison by the excited mass of students whom the teachers queued into straight lines. It was a welcome we will never forget.
We were there to serve the children lunch. And what a production that was! Makoote (two cups of mashed plantains), baked beans and cooked spinach for over 1,000 students. They were orderly. The younger students were served in a separate line so the older students would not persuade them to give up the tasty lunch.
Two hundred of the students live in dormitories with 57 beds in a room. Bunks are three beds high. Those children whose parents can afford it are provided insecticide-permeated mosquito nets. The dormitories we saw were sparce but orderly. The remaining 800 pupils are day students.
When we visited the classroom, the students shined, obediently raising their hands to answer the teacher’s math questions. Most teaching was done by using the blackboard since individual students do not have books. They knew their multiplication tables well and responded to questions quickly when the “daughters” on our Insight Trip asked them math questions. They gave the students the chance to shout out answers without raising their hands. The students loved that!
Upon leaving, the swarm began again. This time it was: “Please stay, sister!” As the children followed us to our bus, they asked for one last high five or to be held. They hated to see us leave. And we hated to leave them behind!
For more information on private schools funded by loans from Opportunity’s Banking on Education initiative, revisit yesterday’s blog post about the Insight Trip travelers’ meeting on Tuesday with Ugandan school proprietress Maria Nassaka.
Julie Hindmarsh is a WON member who lives in Baltimore, Md. She works as a clinical instructor at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, specializing in public health and global health care. Previously, she was director of the Women’s Cancer Prevention Program and health planner for the Office of Family Resources in the Baltimore County government. Julie currently serves on the Board of Directors for Opportunity as well as for the organization’s microinsurance subsidiary MicroEnsure.
This is the fourth in a series of blog posts from the “Mothers, Daughters and Sisters” Insight Trip to Uganda. Check back in throughout the week for news and inspiring stories about the women and families of Uganda. To get involved and support the women of WON, and Opportunity’s work in Uganda, visit our Virtual “Walk” for Uganda.