This trip marks my return to Uganda with Fields of Dreams Uganda. Yesterday we made the journey from Kampala to Gulu. Two years ago it was a long bumpy drive that lasted about eight hours. This year newly paved roads all the way to Gulu, instead of just part way, made the countryside even more beautiful on the only six hour journey.
Today we visited Koro Primary School in Gulu. Of course we were greeted with students singing and smiling faces. Our visit with the headmaster was full of joy and thankfulness towards Fields of Dreams. Walls that two year ago were covered with handmade posters showing the numbers of students now have computer-generated posters made using the computers donated by Fields of Dreams.
Two years ago the purpose of our trip was Men of Integrity training with the boys at the partner schools. This trip I have been able to see a continuation and expansion of the program. At St. Kizito in Kampala on Saturday, I saw members of the FoDU Youth Council lead and help with the Men of Integrity training. After the talks, boys in the P6 and P7 classrooms (the oldest students at the primary schools) received a hygiene kits containing a wash sponge, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb/mirror, nail clippers, soap, razor (if needed), and three pairs of underwear. It was great to see their smiling faces as they received each item. Fields of Dreams Uganda is helping to give these boys hope and teaching them to be Men of Integrity.
Today I was also honored to be in a classroom at Koro. I had a chance to talk to the Primary 3 teacher about similarities and differences between my class and his. One major difference is the number of students we teach. He told me he has 130 students in his class, without an assistant in a room about half the size of my classroom. Four to six students sit on one bench in his class. I didn't want to tell him I had 24 students in my class last year. I had the opportunity to read a book to the class, which the teacher translated. Students in Uganda begin learning English in P3, and these students were still novices. After the book I talked to the students about some differences between their class and mine. The students then asked me to teach their class. I worked through an addition, subtraction, and multiplication problem with them. It was a great experience. The students in Uganda have an amazing level of respect and a desire to be in school. It is incredible that with the large number of students and little to no resources the students are successful in the academic world.
It has been fantastic to see the changes in Gulu and at Koro over the last two years. I look forward to watching Fields of Dreams Uganda continue to give hope to the children of Uganda, as Hope is a Basic Need.