Friday, June 11, 2010

St. John Bosco

This past week in uganda has been awesome!

Avery and I started to get more involved in the community, especially in the schools. Every monday and wednesday, we spend half a day (which actually ends up being about six hours) teaching at the primary school called St. Johnny Bosco that is about an hour walk from Katosi. We have been teaching together in the 4th grade classroom everyday so far, and I think that is working well because even though we are only working with one class, i think we are much more effective together (teaching is harder than I thought, especially because i am not the best at explaining things, haha). The way they teach here in Uganda is a little different in the US, especially because the schools pretty much have NO access to resources. There is a chalkboard in every room, rows of benches (the kids have to kneel on the dirt ground and use the bench as a table when they are taking a test), no electricity or water, and each kid only has one notebook. Each teacher only has one or two workbooks that they can teach out of, and apparently all the teachers at St Johnny bosco are volunteers (very dedicated ones!). So basically in order to learn something, the teacher says a sentence to the class, and then repeats part of the sentence again and the students finish it. Like for example, in one social studies lesson we watched, the teacher said "ok class, the advantages of a nuclear family are that children are more likely to have access to basic needs." and then he repeated "the advantages of a nuclear family are that children are more likely to have access to basic what?" and then the class said "basic needs!" in unison. Even though it is hard to tell if the kids are actually learning the meaning of some things as opposed to simply repeating what the teacher says, I think it is the best option they have. It is also slightly funny, one of the other interns said she went to a conference on domestic violence, and at the beginning the leader said "So today we are going to discuss domestic violence. Today we are going to discuss domestic what?" and then everyone repeated "domestic violence!" That just seems a little ridiculous, but baller nonetheless! (especially since the women here clearly work to empower each other).

Anyway, so the yesterday at St. Johnny bosco, we taught math and social studies (which was more like geography because we were learning about physical features of Uganda, yay!!). Then, when the kids were looking a bit bored, we decided it was time for physical education so we went outside and played duck duck goose. They had never played before, so it took awhile to get started, but they absolutely LOVED it. I think they thought it was cool because it gave them an excuse to chase each other, haha. and I am pretty sure they were saying "dog dog goose" instead of duck duck goose, but hey, that works too!! I also brought out my frisbee, and I showed them how to throw it around for a few minutes! they were sooo excited, i felt like i was throwing a bouquet at a wedding because they all crowded in front of me and when i threw it they would scream in their little high pitched voices and all try to catch it! then i had to go inside for something, and when i came back it had been broken into two pieces! but luckily i brought like five, haha.

I am also helping the peace corps volunteer build a community garden at another primary school. I am going to learn how it works and everything, and then I am going to introduce the idea to st. Johnny bosco. I think it would be cool because it will help the kids work together and also give them some extra food to eat at lunch. right now, the school can only provide them with pourage (i have no idea how to spell that word haha). You can plant cabbage, carrots, tomatoes and things like that in key hole gardens, and you use compost and dirty water and things like that to make the plants grow. I also might have each class come up with a mural design to paint in their class rooms! a lot of schools and buildings have murals, but st johnny bosco just opened, so it does not have any yet.

I also have some other projects that I want to do, although they all may not actually work out. but anyway, I am going to host a kickball tournament at one school, and at another I am going to teach the kids how to play field hockey! The headmaster asked me what my favorite sport was, and i told him field hockey but i didnt think i could teach them because I did not bring any sticks! but he said, "we can MAKE field hockey sticks!!" so I guess that is what we shall do!...perhaps out of dead trees?? hahaha, we will see.

And I am going to talk to Katosi's town clerk on thursday, because I heard he wished there was a map of Katosi!....I am going to see if he wants me to try to make one (which is perfect, seeing as how I love maps!) I do not know how that will work, but i think any map is better than nothing.

Anyway, I think everything is going well, even though it is still going slowly. But last night when I went to buy an egg, I ran into the headmaster of St Johnny bosco. He was not at school yesterday, but he said the teachers told him Avery and I were really good teachers, and that they want us to come back as much as we can. It felt good to hear that!!

No comments: