Posted by: Stephen Palmer | August 3, 2008

The Work Continues

Contributed by Suzie Ludlow

Uganda is wonderful and the mission of LEU is growing stronger every day!

Yesterday both our Bweyogerere classes had their simulations. The mock scenario was that they were to present the leadership education they had been receiving to a neighboring school board which had shown interest. One by one they would present and others would take turns as the school board.

My Secondary teachers class for their first time did all right, not as well as I would have hoped. The school board seemed more like the students listening to a repetitive lecture than those interested at all in the speakers comments but they at the end would say they were interested in leadership education. Thankfully with a little coaching and time, the class proceeded to improve with each one. Needless to say, I was a bit hesitant how they would continue.

Aisha, Josephine, Janet, and Rebecca — the loyal four — did such a great job in both presenting and being on the school board, and what trying questions they asked of each other! “How can you implement such a system in our classrooms of one hundred plus students?” “We are not like the American schools that have lots of money, how can we afford to do this?” “These children do not always listen, we even need to cane them so they will.” (Beatings for those who may be sheltered from the fact that such sad things still take place. A child in Jinja actually was killed by canning a month or so ago) “Why are you sharing these things with us? You are paid by the mzungus!” “Will they be feeding us in these classes?” “Why don’t you just give me a book so that I can read it to see if I am interested?” “Leaders? You want us to train political figures?”

There comments were not in the least exaggerated from what a typical Ugandan’s response would be. After each fifteen minute simulation, the presenter (besides Aisha) let out a deep sigh of relief and declared “Suzie that was not easy!” They all did SUCH a good job and defended the principles we had learned together so well! Needless to say I was bursting with happiness at their success.

Our class time actually leaked into their other classes but they all eagerly wanted to remain to finish — Rebecca had someone else take over her class, and since we were using Aisha’s classroom, she had all of her 90 plus students (around 8 to 10 years) sit quietly with their heads on the table to observe until we were finished (Ah- only in Africa!). Can you imagine keeping that many children in one room quiet for at least forty minutes?!

My friends, coming to Uganda has been such a great experience. I cannot begin to describe all of the feelings I have felt and discovered here, for I don’t know if there are such words. Every day is a new experience whether it is while teaching a class, having a mentor meeting, attending church, or simply walking to the market.

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