Thursday, June 21, 2007

hillary's uganda journal - june 20

Today I went to Lusaka at 10 in the morning. This was a big deal for everyone since we don't live right next to the school, they think it's impossible to get there at a reasonable hour apparently. I'm not really sure why I had to be there at 10, Hannington told me to, but he wasn't even there today.

But I got to be in the p.6 (primary sixth grade) class today and learn about science. It amazes me how smart the kids are. For the first part of class they reviewed what they had learned yesterday and the teacher would ask what something was and either they would all repeat it, together, or one person would stand up and recite the answer. Just from yesterday! They're at school from 6 in the morning till 5 at night and then the p.6 and p.7 classes come back at 6 and go till 8! I don't understand how they can even think straight after that! And then they wake up again the next day and do it all over. But apparently, at some point in their days, they find time to memorize their notes on the reproductive system. So that's what we were learning about, the reproductive system, menstruation, and conception. It would've been an awkward class in the United States, but not here. It's all facts that should be known. Nothing awkward about that. These kids are around 11 or 12 years old and there was barely any snickering or funny looks. I think the only ones I did see were the students laughing at someone's question. Because they did ask questions. You wouldn't be able to pry questions out of Americans during a class like this. But it was interesting for them because this information just makes them more knowledgeable for when they all become doctors! :)

Joseph, the teacher, wrote notes up on the chalkboard and drew diagrams of everything, and the students all copied it down perfectly into their notebooks. And then Joseph got up on his soapbox and started preaching at these kids about not getting pregnant and the disadvantages of being pregnant when you are young.

He said, "The moment you become pregnant you are OLD! Why should we waste our time on you to bring you back to school?"

It's so different how abruptly they speak about these things. But this is a really convincing argument for them because school is the main objective for everyone here. You go to school, and you have a successful life. But you won't survive if you don't go to school.

"All of you here are Christians. You don't have bad manners!" (meaning that they aren't going to have any babies until after they're married)

Then they got onto the topic of AIDs and Joseph said that more young people (12-19 year olds) are dying from AIDs rather that the old people. Deborah (the girl my sister Courtney sponsors), stood up and asked "Who brought AIDs to Uganda?"
Me and Deborah

Then we had lunch, I ate with the teachers in the staff room. They were teaching me more luganda words and then decided that I needed a clan. Ronnie (the music teacher) said "you are a real Mugandan now!" I wanted to be an Empologoma (lion clan). But they decided against that and called me Mumbeja Hillary (Princess Hillary). The royalty in Uganda are a separate clan. Pauline is a Princess and Gladys is too (she's the one teaching me how to make the mat). So now I am a princess. I guess I'm alright with that. :)

Before I move on from lunch I just want to admit something: Posho is growing on me. When you just smother it with beans, it's not too bad. But I've found something worse. It's called matooke. Matooke are green bananas and when they are cooked they make a golden chunk of mush, if that helps at all for a mental picture. Ground nut sauce, Matooke, and Posho/They say it doesn't have any flavor. But I wouldn't necessarily say that. It has a flavor. Kind of a....blech. Yeah, I think that does it justice. I said I didn't want any to begin with, but Ronnie insisted that I need to learn to like matooke to truly be a Mugandan. So I gave in. But just like the posho anything can be improved if you cancel out the nastiness with something good tasting! So the ground nuts worked splendidly for that!

After lunch I went into the p.3 Social studies class. There were 73 students!! It was crazy! They learned about government and basic needs. Susan (the teacher) said that she teaches them history also and trades off between that, government and social problems (I guess thats what you'd call it).

Susan: "What are basic needs?"

One student stands up and says: "clothes" (pronounced Clothe-ez).

So, Susan writes it up on the chalkboard: C-L-O-T-H. Susan: "This is the correct spelling. Clothe-ez is spelled like this."

She announced this with such authority and as if she were revealing some hidden rule in the english language. No one would dare question her, including me. She gave the students a couple questions to write the answers down in their notebooks and then walked around and checked all 73 of them when they were finished. The type of discipline that she used was very interesting. I'm not a huge fan of it. She had a few boys go to the front of the classroom and stand on one foot. ("...and when I've found you've touched that foot to the ground...") Or when she was walking around she would hit some children on the head or on the back. I'm not really sure why, but one time I heard: "I don't like bad handwriting!" and another time: "Who is making our class smell like that?!" (whap! whap! whap!)

But this didn't break their spirits, it actually seemed pretty normal, except for the shouts of "owunya!" (you smell!) Then all the children broke out in song while Susan continued checking the papers. They moved from one song to the next, almost in unison. From songs in Luganda, to an education song, to Father Abraham! I loved watching their joyful faces as they sang and shouted for the world to hear while the classrooms on either side banged on the walls.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Joseph stood up on a soapbox??? :) How did he respond 2 Deborah’s question? The matooke tasted like bleach..oh man. The posho just looks like white rice. What is it? Susan sounds like a teacher from dangerous minds or something lol haha yes her teaching is VERY "interesting" in deed. Were they told to sing or do they just sing randomly cuz they wanna? owunya my Mumbeja Hillary HAHA I think I like this : D Love ya <- how do u say that?

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the latest on the sells

As of May 27, 2009...

Wow, it's been almost a year since we've updated this. Our family had a wonderful experience traveling to Uganda two summers ago, which prompted us to keep a journal on this blog. You can read our daily journal from our month long trip

This year brings new adventures. Our eldest daughter, Courtney, after graduating from George Fox University with honors, left for her third trip to India to spend nearly a YEAR to work at Happy Home for the Handicapped in Shimoga, India. You can read about her first trip to India and the impact it had on her life here. She'll also give us new updates from her current trip on this site (here). As of this writing, she is just starting to settle in and is very excited to be there. She has been looking forward to this for a long time!

Meanwhile, Hillary spent all of last year
touring the western U.S. with Matsiko, the choir of children we grew to love as our own in Uganda. She journalled about her experiences in Uganda if you'd like to see what that was like. At some point during this tour, she felt led to join the U.S. Army. Quite a big decision, and one she didn't take lightly. After moving through Basic Training with flying colors, she is now at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio training to become a combat medic. It's a very intense training, but we're sure she'll do well. Our whole family was able to travel to South Carolina to watch her graduate from Basic Training. What an awe inspiring experience!

Leslie is having a great year of teaching 5th graders. She's also in a Master's program, which takes a good chunk of her time. She's still finds time to read a TON of books. Literally, a ton!

Curt was overwhelmed by his experience as a first time overseas traveler and kept up his journal here (you can also read his random posts on everyday life here). The busyness of life and keeping track of his traveling kids has slowed down his writing, but he hopes to begin writing on a regular basis again soon.