It’s been a busy few weeks at Kyakatara Primary School! Here are some of the highlights of Term 3 so far.
After almost a year of feeling overwhelmed and lost amongst stacks and stacks of dust-covered (and in some cases, dust-filled) books, I’m finally making some progress in establishing a library at my school! The School Management Committee approved my request to turn the staff room into a library and I’ve been busy cleaning, sorting/cataloguing and labeling books. The work is reminiscent of my first job, at the metamorphic age of 18, as a Library Page, so while I’m cleaning rat poop off of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,”* I’m also ruminating on my first car, my first love and the glorious summer of 2008. (But that’s a story for another blog) (Or maybe this blog?) (I don’t even know who’s reading this anymore) (Except for you, Will) (Hi, Will).
Remember the gardening club I started last term that literally took over the whole school? (You probably don’t but it’s here if you need/want a refresher: ). Well, it’s finally harvesting time! Here are the P1 and P3 cuties munching on carrots from their very own garden.
Malaria Prevention Workshop.
A couple weeks ago, a pupil at my school died from malaria. I did not know the pupil personally but I was still a little distraught. Being in Uganda, it feels like people are always complaining of someone “falling ill from malaria.” Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Uganda. It accounts for 25-40% of outpatient visits and is responsible for almost half of all inpatient pediatric deaths. However, although 100% of the 35.9 million people in Uganda are at risk, there are preventive measures that can be taken. One of those measures is the use of a mosquito net. A couple months ago, I applied for bed nets to be donated to my school. My application was approved and my school received 80 bed nets to be distributed to lacking families. Since we definitely have more than 80 pupils who could use bed nets, I decided to focus on the ones who were most susceptible to malaria and sent out a malaria survey in the local language to all P1, P2 and P3 pupils. Once all of the surveys were turned in, I sat down with my counterpart, Gladys, and picked 80 families. We sent out invitations and then held two very successful Malaria Prevention Workshops, in which we discussed net care and repair and different ways to prevent malaria.
My Local Language Spelling Bee.
A few of the girls in my region and I conducted a local language spelling bee last month. Six pupils from each of our respective schools came together and competed in a spelling bee conducted entirely in the local language. The competition was held in town and all the pupils were really excited to be there – some had never left the village before! One of my kids won third place, which was impressive because he was pretty sick the days leading up to the competition and I wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to participate. The highlight of the entire day, though, had to be on the drive home when the kids were reading every sign in sight. It was the cutest thing ever.
Some non-work related news – I am going on a solo trip to Thailand and Bangladesh in December!! Schools in Uganda have a 2 month holiday in December and January so I’ve decided to spend 1 week traveling around Thailand and 2 weeks visiting family in Bangladesh (including my grandma who I haven’t seen in 12 years). I’ve never traveled alone before so this is definitely going to be interesting. I’m a little nervous but mostly excited. Last week, I navigated Kampala all by myself for the first time ever with zero anxiety (okay maybe a little anxiety) so I’m feeling fairly confident. Also, I’m bungee jumping into the Nile River at the end of November. I feel like that’s an appropriate way to celebrate Thanksgiving/My One Year Anniversary of Being in Uganda…right?
Life is good.
*Not previously part of my job description.