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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Uganda - 15 February, 2001

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Bujagali Falls on the Nile River near Jinja (Speke Camp) N0028.966' E03309.537' 1,111 m
Bodondo Primary School - community project
Finish Bujagali Falls on the Nile River near Jinja (Speke Camp) N0028.966' E03309.537' 1,111 m 21 km

Total:

25,116 km

4,196 km

 

Weather: Mostly clear, sunny and very hot.  Cool at night.

 

 

Daily Journal Entry:

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Today we will undertake one of the community projects that we will do on our trip through eastern and southern Africa.  Lars is up early as he cannot sleep due to pain on his knee from the white water rafting injury from yesterday.  He lays around in bed and stumbles out to take some pictures of the sunrise.  It is a wonderful sight we get from our tent as the sun rises with a whole swarm of bats flying back home.

 

After breakfast at the truck, we get ready to head off to meet the people organising the community project - Soft Power Expeditions, which was founded by a former Dragoman driver.  We need to wander up the road to a nearby campsite to meet with them.  Lars limps along behind everyone.  After the briefing, Lars decides to head back to the campsite, while the rest head on, as the knee is a bit too painful.  They will be walking to one of the primary schools, and the truck will meet them there (so Lars will "hitch" a ride with the truck and catch up to everyone else later).

 

Back at the campsite, Lars took it easy for an hour and then we headed off with the truck to one of the schools where Dragoman has undertaken community projects before.  The idea was to show us an example and the to take us to another school where we would undertake a number of projects.  We arrive at the school and it turns out to be recess and there are over 500 children running around the school grounds.  Of course, when we drive up they are all very excited and run over to see us.

 

As we get off the truck we have to weave our way through the crowds.  Many of them stand around us watching us.  At one point, Gilly throws a foam football out into the crowd and the kids go wild playing with it.  They chase it all around the playground.  At 11 AM recess ends and all 500+ children disappear into a few concrete block rooms - it is amazing that they can fit them all into such a small school.  But there are so many children here that they have no choice.

 

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The rest of the group arrives after their walk through the village.  We are then taken on a tour of the school.  First to the head masters office, where he shows us some of the schools supplies and how it is organised.  Then onto some of the class rooms where we meet the children and we get a chance to see the teaching aids that have been prepared by previous Dragoman groups (see the world map and diagram of the eye that have been painted on the walls - they have been painted on the walls so they cannot go missing).

 

After our brief tour we all pile into the truck and head over to Bodondo Primary School, where we will help them prepare some teaching aids.  There are over 1,000 students at this primary school.  We get there about lunch time, so after a short briefing, we have a quick bite to eat before getting to work.  We had a number of projects, including:

 

1.  Preparing slates that had blackboard paint on one side and flip cards on the other side.  The idea is that as paper is very expensive, the young students can use the blackboard side of the slates to practice their writing on without wasting expensive paper.

 

2.  Building a book shelf to hold some books that had been recently donated.

 

3.  Preparing some teaching aids (or large "posters") on large pieces of plywood.  These teaching aids could then be used in class rooms and moved from room to room as required.  They could also be locked up so they would not go missing.

 

We get to work.

 

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On the slates, we would first have to sand down the rough edges where they had been cut.

 

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Then we would paint one side with blackboard paint.  Here a number of the teachers and students are giving us a hand.  We would then lay them out in the sun to dry.

 

Uganda01_ComProject_Slates_Painting_Lars_2269_Web.gif (240361 bytes)

Once they were dry, we would paint on the other side some other figure, such as letters (painting the "q" was really tough!!!), to words with pictures to other teaching aids.  We did over 100 of these slates.

 

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Here are the boys planning out the shelf - it seems like they are struggling.

 

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The posters also took a bit of thinking.  First we had to decide what to paint on them.  We had their curriculum books to look through and that gave us some ideas.

 

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The ideas would then be sketched out on paper and ...

 

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...  the painting would start.  The final results were quite impressive - they included:

 

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a map of Africa painted by Peter and Barry ...

 

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... a human anatomy chart by Jane and Beth ...

 

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... the alphabet by Ika, Rhee and Sarah and ...

 

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... a chart of the Uganda seasons by Jacqui and Jacqui.

 

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We then took a group picture in front of the truck with some of the students.  We had a great time today and we hope that we were able to help in a small way.

 

We headed back and got to the campsite at 6 PM.  We took it easy for the rest of the evening and enjoyed a great meal of t-bone steaks, baked potatoes, salad and vegetable stir fry.  Went to bed early as Lars' knee was bothering him and he had not gotten too much sleep the previous night.

 

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