Scottish Charity Number: SCO36069

8th March 2016

Stephanie Higgins – second report from Uganda

Home | Footprinter Reports | Stephanie Higgins – second report from Uganda

Since my last report, we have been very busy at school preparing for the end of term graduation before the children break up for the Christmas holidays. This meant that instead of teaching in the afternoon, we got to watch the children practice for their graduation performances, which involve lots of dancing, including traditional Ugandan dance, singing and drama. We also got asked to teach ballet because the teachers thought we would be ballet dancers because were English. Since I had done ballet till I was seven, my fellow gappers Lois and Kate decided I should be the one to lead it! Considering its ten years since Ive done any ballet and Im definitely not a dancer, it took a lot of thinking and creativity to come up with the moves. I didnt realise how hard it was going to be to get 15 children all doing demi-plies in time together but it was hilarious at the same time. Closer to Christmas, we also taught the children English Christmas carols like Joy to the World, Little Donkey and Away in A Manger, which they were enthusiastic about.

In November, Smile donated some cardigans and jumpers to the school because it can be cold in the mornings during the rainy season. I got to hand them out to the children to check for the right size and it was lovely to see them looking so pleased with their new clothes and looking so smart.

Teaching has been continuing to go well and I have been getting more used to planning lessons now from the textbooks to make sure I follow the Ugandan curriculum. One of my favourite lessons is reading because the children love the story books that we bought with us! I absolutely love reading and am so grateful to have parents who read to me to encourage my abilities in this so I am so glad to have the opportunity to read books suitable for their age group to them. The reading materials they have at the school are limited so it always makes me happy to see the way their eyes light up looking at the pictures. I have been reading different fairy tale stories to them but their favourite so far seems to be Giraffes Cant Dance, which I used to teach about animals.

At the end of term, the children had their exams and I helped to supervise them. Im very proud of the progress theyve made.

One of the highlights of the term was the graduation held for the children graduating from the top section of Nursery section to Primary One next term. It was held on a Saturday and we got there early in the morning to help make chapattis for lunch and to supervise the children. We went to collect the chairs for the parents with the children from a store house about ten minutes from the school and Im got lots of amused stares watching three muzungus (the local word for white people) carrying chairs on their heads and leading a group of children doing the same.

The school was decorated with a parachute as a canopy for the parents to sit under and they had hired a PA sound system especially for the occasion.  It was so great to watch the children perform what we had seen them practising every afternoon for the past few weeks to their parents and I was particularly proud to watch the ballet and carols we had taught them. Alex, the director of Smile in Uganda, came to give a graduation speech and give out the certificates and I was so proud to see the children looking so smart in their black graduation gowns and hats. It was a fantastic day to the term- I will miss Ruth Mother Care so much over the school holidays!

Our catch up class in the Nabulagala slums has also been going well. The children are able to recognise the letters of the alphabet now and recite them using our alphabet lessons and are improving in being able to trace over the dot to dot letters we draw out in exercise books for them. It is amazing and rewarding to see the difference between how most of the children couldnt hold a pencil before the class started to starting to be able to write letters themselves. Also, thanks to a generous gift from a UK donor to Smile for the class, we were able to buy a bag and water bottle for each of the children who attend the class as a Christmas gift. They were very happy to receive them, and for some of them it now means their parents can start sending them to school next term.

It has been a very busy few months over the Christmas holiday period. This year, Christmas was a very different experience for me. I am used to spending it with my family in wintry England with traditions such as sharing a big roast dinner, opening presents together and playing fun games.  Despite this difference, my Christmas in Uganda was memorable for this reason and it was so interesting to spend it in a different culture. I may not have experienced some of my usual traditions but I enjoyed making precious new Christmas memories.

On the Sunday before Christmas, my team mate Kate and I performed in the KBC Christmas contanta concert.  Theres been a big build up to it as the choir have been practising twice a week during November and December so it was the Christmas event I was most excited about. I loved it because it really helped me to feel Christmassy.  We were pretty proud that we managed to remember the words to the songs in Luganda and even managed to sing a Luganda song wed never heard before by following the words on the screen and practising our smile and mouth the words look. Everyone looked so smart as the ladies wore long red dresses with the men in suits and ties.  This made a contrast to our usual outfits when working on the projects so Kate and I made the most of dressing up. The stage also looked beautiful with the Christmas display at the front. Im so glad that we joined the choir- the contanta definitely put me in the Christmas mood!

Another Christmas highlight was holding a Christmas Eve party for our friends from church where we stay at the Smile house. On Christmas Day itself, we enjoyed going to the morning service at our church, making a roast dinner and watching the sun set on the top of the hill we live on with friends. The fun continued over the next week as we went on a trip to the beach by Lake Victoria in Entebbe with friends and went to the all night New Year event at church.

2016 started off with a trip to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda to renew our visas, where I had a great time exploring the city with my team, visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial to find out more about the Rwandan Genocide and try about the local restaurants.

I am now excited to return to work on the projects after the holiday break and cant wait to see the children again!

© Hazel's Footprints Trust 2024 | Scottish Charity Number: SCO36069
Web design by Creatomatic
This site uses cookies.
ConfigureHide Options
Read our privacy policy

This site uses cookies for marketing, personalisation, and analysis purposes. You can opt out of this at any time or view our full privacy policy for more information.