Today was CALM's field workers' day off so we stayed with the Jolly Mercy students all day.
While waiting for our first task we were talking to Stephen who runs the school's kitchen. When we went in I was quite horrified to find large fires and no chimney or ventilation of any sort. The smoke just kind of pools in the ceiling and goes out the door. The poor guy just breathes it in all day. Can't be healthy.
For our first session we were in Top Class - a group of kids anywhere between 2 1/2 and 6 years old. They started off by singing and dancing and then we moved into a lesson on basic words. It was quite tough dealing with such mixed ages and abilities. Some of the children were so badly behaved and wouldn't cooperate. It didn't help that there was also a disabled child running around the classroom hitting the teacher with a stick. I looked on in disbelief as the disabled student climbed on to a table and started hitting the globe hanging from the ceiling. The teacher, obviously thinking I was wondering why he did this rather than why no one stopped him, pointed to her head and made a circular motions while nodding towards the child.
After the lesson another volunteer was reading the kids a story, but lost their attention when another teacher came in to the room singing, dancing and laughing and then just left again.
Then we took the class to a local swimming pool for a swim. Along the walk there one little girl decided that Leckie's new name is "Teacher Whitey Whitey".
The whole swimming lesson was hilarious. This was the first time in a pool for them and most would never even have sat in a bath tub before. The mix of fear, curiosity and excitement was so funny as they just didn't know what to make of it. Unfortunately the weather began to change and as the clouds rolled in the temperature dropped to only semi-sweltering and the kids all started to shiver. So it was time to go.
Back at the school Leckie got the kids involved in a football game, breaking up fights frequently. I also had an chance to chat to James about Musa. He was also very disappointed but said he would get the counsellor to speak with Aisha and involve the government if necessary.
At a loose end later this afternoon we went with 2 CALM staff to collect water for the volunteer house, driving past a graveyard with an odd grave done in bathroom tiles on the way. I had a go at pumping water as the local children stared wide eyed at me. I can't imagine having to do this every day but it's a reality for most people in Uganda. However most don't even have cars and would have to walk there and back. I can barely carry one jerry can from the car!
It's been nice to have a little break from the emotionally draining side of things but the kids are exhausting. I',l. E glad to get back on community outreach. For those that read my blog last time - I am going to see Marian tomorrow and will likely be able to tell her we'll be building her a latrine. :-)