Hi, my name is Bart van Langen and together with Remco Schakelaar and Rosan Heitte we are going to Uganda.
If you just want some information about housing and eating cost, that is all the way down the page.
Our first idea for a place for our internship was Kenia, this was because Rosan had experience teaching in Kenia. Because of a negative traveladvise for Kenia we changed it to Uganda. This happend largely because of Remco.
Now we are going to teach at the KidsGear Primary school in Bukomansimbi. We going here with the help of UP4S. Now we have the chance to go to Uganda and I'm excited.
The school: The school is placed in a small village in the jungle area of Uganda. It a rich school if you look at Ugandan standard. The schoolbuilding is always kept clean and every position needed to run a school is avaible in school. On the site stated above there are pictures.
The journey in Uganda.
My journey started with my parents and girlfriend bringing me to schiphol airport. After a few hugs and kisses I boarded the plane with Rosan and Remco. Our first stop was Istanbul. It was a calm flight in a fancy plane where I played Pokemon till we landed. We also got some dinner. Brought to us by a chef, with a chef’s hat. On our arrival we saw that it was snowing in Istanbul. We exited the plane and we were hit with – 10 Celsius. Not a good time to forget your coat. The stair we used to get out was slippery as hell. We boarded a bus that stood near the plane. The bus skated navigating through the parked planes till we were at the entrance of Istanbul airport. Quickly we went to the toilets and to my surprise there were no urinals. The line in the men’s room was nearly as long as the line in the women’s bathroom. After that we got some drinks in some airport bar, my first confrontation with a African lady who tried to cut in line. Luckily I’m not the quiet type. With our drinks in hand we searched for a place to charge our Nintendo DS’s.
While discussing our planes Rosan looked at the departure schedule and shouted at us that it was time to board the plane. Quickly we boarded the plane. This plane was even nicer than the other one. Only negative side was the crying child in the seat in front of us, and our Nintendo ds’s went out after two hours of playing. There were a lot of movies to choose from, so I watched a total of five movies. Had a lovely dinner with minced beef and a lovely dessert. Then we got stuck on Rwanda airport because some passengers were missing. So in the mean time I stacked some pillows on Remco his head, dressed as a ghost and then we were off to Entebbe airport.
We landed on Entebbe airport with a hour delay. It was 4 ‘o clock. The airport was a runway, some staircasecars and a building where we could get our visa and baggage. We exited the plane and we were hit by a 20 degree raise in temperature. I was already tired and because of the change in heat I was even getting worse. In the main hall we were guided to a desk where we got checked for Ebola. After that we went to buy our visa and get our luggage. Chris(Our guide) was waiting near the exit. We got in a raggedy car with our baggage on our laps. We drove to a guest house near the airport. On the way there I saw families sitting beside the road. In contrast with the billboard which advertised expensive drinks.
On arrival our bags were carried to the guest house. After a few beers with our guide we went to bed.
After two hours of sleep we had some breakfast which consisted of an omelet, toast and a two sausages. A typical Ugandan big breakfast. After that we got ready and went to the bank on local Boda Boda’s(Big moppets were three people can sit on, google it. It’s awesome.) It was quite the experience. We had no helmet, were swerving through traffic with a speed of 60 k/m. It was scary and relaxing at the same time. Wind blowing through my hair. Finally some cold. At the bank I got 5.000.000 shilling. That sounds like a lot but it’s not. Back on the bikes and to the guest house. When we got there Chris waved some more Boda Boda’s over for us to travel on with our luggage. Our bags were strapped on two Boda Boda’s and we sat on the other two.
We then drove to a bus station, this was a collection of guys with vans screaming at each other and there passengers. Chris picked a van and our luggage was strapped on the roof with some simple ropes. Me with my above average height for a Dutch person had to sit in the bag. If it were a Dutch van, then there would be 7 persons max in one van. We had eleven people in it. Not counting the conductor. Cause he was hanging out of the car during our travel. After a few stops the conductor was saying something to me. I couldn’t understand him. Chris then told me I had to open the back door. After some time figuring out how that type of lock worked I opened the backdoor. He took a bag, set it down. At that moment the bus started to drive. Our conductor ran beside the car and jumped in. And no, it was not driving slowly.
When we got out in Kampala, we got out of the van and quickly some of the local folks picked up the bag and started discussing with Chris. Chris then explained that he paid them to carry our bags. So our bags were carried to the bus station. Which is a just a combination of busses on a little piece of land. We were hassled by different bus drivers. Bags were ripped from our hands but Chris assured us that this is a normal way of doing business in Uganda. After that we were stuffed in a bus, with not nearly enough room to sit. After a hour of getting of the busstop and another half hour getting out of Kampala we were on our way. We drove through the most beautiful sights. Everywhere we looked we saw some type of jungle. On every stop we made people would come through the windows and the door to sell us cooked chicken on sticks, banana’s, potato chips or even whole chickens. It was a drive of five/six hours. When we arrived in Masaka we arranged a taxi that brought us to a supermarket where we bought some snacks, Nutella, Jam and a lot of water.
The taxi drove us to Bukomansimbi, the first fifteen kilometers were asphalt, but after that it was just a dustroad, our driver was driving 100 k/m while we jumped of little hills and in holes. We were scared the suspenders would give out at any moment. People on Boda boda’s were almost driven of the road and people walking quickly jumped in the ditch near the road to avoid getting hit. The only thing warning them was our driver constantly honking. When we arrived at Kidsgear the gatekeeper let us in and we drove up the steep hill, while we were driving up I was scared that our taxi would tilt over and we would slide back from the mountain on our roof. Luckily this was not the case.
We arrived at our house at the view was and still is AMAZING. Everywhere we could look it was green. And not the sad green we have in The Netherlands. No beautiful shades of green. Even more than 50 different shades of green.
I took the bags out of the car, and the car drove off. At that moment Remco realized that he didn’t have his hand baggage. Chris started calling some of the local folk and assured Remco that the bag would come back. After that we started unpacking our stuff. We immediately noticed we didn’t have any power.
After some struggling with my Malaria-net. We walked up to Chris his house on top of the mountain. Well, his view is even more amazing, you feel like you can see all of Uganda from his house. We started the barbeque and I roosted some chicken and some sausages. Chris his dad made some salad and we had a lovely dinner. The sunset was over in just a mere ten minutes. It was like somebody pulled on a string and the sun was out. After a while and after my first Ugandan beer we went down the mountain to our houses and got ready for bed. The power was back on so we could charge our electronic devices. After again some struggling with my net I went to sleep. Day one of our Ugandan journey ended.
I woke up at 7 a.m. The heat was burning me out my bed. I started by getting a shower. The power was out. But the sun was already shining bright high above my head. I get dressed and brush my teeth at our outside bathroom. I get some breakfast. But quickly notice that we don’t have any knives. So it becomes a dipping party. Little dip of Jam and Nutella. Chris knocks at our door, we are getting a tour of the school. We start walking down. We see the children cleaning the school buildings, it’s called general cleaning. The children do it every day before the lessons begin. We continue on our tour and easily see twohunderd children walking around. Signs on the door say p2 to p7. Every group has a different class. We are introduced to some of the teachers. The look a little distracted and don’t make eye contact. Chris introduces us to the headmaster of Kidsgear. Finally, somebody who’s English I immediately understand. The people here can speak English, but it is a total different type of accent. We continue our tour. We see the expertise centre where every type of theory is stored. The sickbay, a dining room where four-hundred children easily can fit in. We get some tea with a little snack which is called a Mandazi. The children come pouring in, but it doesn’t make noise. Four-hundred children in one room and I can easily talk with the teachers next to me. After a long conversation with one of the local teachers I look up and see that most of the children are gone. It feels like a magic trick. We continue our tour to Hoys college, the nearby middle school that is also under direction of Up4s. I look around at realize that UP4S almost owns the whole mountain.
After this we rest for a bit at our home and Chris asks us what we think of the school. We say that it is totally different. After some soda we go to Bukomansimbi, the local village at the foot of the mountain. We walk down and I immediately get struck by the heat. IT’S HOT! When we get at the foot of the mountain we get looks from everybody, some of the local children shoot Mzungu! Mzungu! Chris explains that this means white person. Well, everywhere we go we hear it. Chris shows us some of the useful stores in Bukomansimbi. After that we continue on our journey through Bukomansimbi and Chris show us the backstreets and we see a local Ugandan school. It’s a school the size of little shed and eighty children are in it. They all look happy to see us and exit the school waving. They are afraid to approach us. After a while they show us there school. It’s really something that makes you think.
Exiting the school we walk back to Kidsgear and we look in the classes. I had the fright of my life. The moment we come in the classroom, all the children stand up and on the same they say, HELLO OUR VISTAS! Chris takes the word and says that we are fine, and asks how they are. They answer with YES, WE ARE FINE! Then Chris says that they can sit down. The teachers comes up to us and explains what kind of lesson he is giving. I am still shell-shocked by the drilling of the children to say they are fine. We continue to the next class and it’s the same story. We ask some of the teachers about their way of teaching and after that we continue to the headmaster. We get our schedules and in the grass we discuss our schedules.
After some discussing we are escorted to the dining hall for some dinner. Rice with beans. We eat, and I was surprised. I liked it. During eating one of the teachers asked us questions about our culture and was surprised by everything. He could not image how it was like in the Netherlands. When I told him it was minus two he looked at me and I could see he had no idea what minus two was like. He asked me if we wouldn’t freeze to death is such weather. We walked to a big mango tree and sat down under it and he asked us more questions. About our tribes, that we don’t have. About when we kneel and more like that.
Then we walked up to our house. We rested on our porch and talked about everything that happened that day. I got some sunflower-seeds from Chris and we planted that in our little garden, now I hope we equally get some flowers.
And the end of the day we went to Chris’s office to get some WIFI. We three got messages and instantly shut down the WIFI by doing so. We went to our home and set on our porch without WIFI, without power, but with a nice candlelight and ten times more stars than we got at home. Short summary, it’s beautiful here, but it’s really, really different.
Again waking up at 7 a.m. I’m still not used to the hot sun. I stay in bed and try to sleep, it doesn’t work. After a hour of turning and tossing I decide to do something. I wash myself under the shower. I’m still getting used to the ice cold water coming down the shower. My first instinct is to wait till it turns warm but it never does. I get dressed and wait on our breakfast. A egg cooked so hard that the insides turn blue, but still, it’s quite tasty. Our toaster doesn’t work because the power is still out. The bread here in Uganda is always white, sticky and just plain discussing. So I quickly splatter some jam on it. Then it’s bearable. We can’t toast it because power is still out. We get dressed and just when we get seated on the porch Chris drives up with his bike. We should get ready for the assembly, something that kidsgear has every Friday to show plays and to announce new plans. Chris wanted us to introduce ourselves during the assembly. We quickly take some water and head down. At the time it start we arrive and nobody is there yet. After a few minutes children start to come in and take a seat at their table. After that we watch the assembly. It’s a lot of singing, dancing and thanking god for almost everything. During the assembly the director walks in with some other Dutch guests. She is immediately greeted by the headmaster. This man that normally looks like he’s the boss of everything becomes a little puppy, puppy eyes included.
She asks us how we are doing and we have a small chat with her and her guests. During our talk we are summoned up to the stage. We introduce ourselves and four hundred Ugandan children try to pronounce our names, it was hilarious.
After the assembly we have a talk with Sylvia(the director) and her guests. They say they are having a meeting and want us to join. We quickly get some water and head to the meeting. The meeting was bizarre. Sylvia wanted an interactive meeting. Well, if somebody spoke more than three sentences to Sylvia it would be a miracle. It felt like somebody broke a lamp and the mother was looking for the culprit. And everybody blamed somebody else. We were assured that this is the normal way in Uganda. And that nothing would chance, because Chris heard the same things a dozen times before this meeting, and it is still the same.
After visiting some classes and going to Bukomansimbi to get some soda, where I came back on a Boda Boda with a crate of soda on my knees, we get ready for our first football game. We get the stuff from Chris and head to the playground. Shit, we are late. That’s what I’m thinking to myself. But on arrival I just see a cow and some local kids playing. After a hour of playing with the local children the first people of our school arrive.
We look at the games and this is not the type of football we play. It gets rough, we see the ball flying all over the place and people are dropping as flies.
After the first game it’s Remco and my turn. After 10 minutes I’m exhausted. I’m in defense and I try to hold them off. It’s hard but I manage. After the game I’m being told that we won. I have no clue why, but that doesn’t matter. I survived my first game of African football.
The Saturday was our first day off. We slept in and after a while we went to hoys college for some WIFI. This to let my family know that I was alright and to show them a little bit of my piece of Africa. The rest of the day was filled up by playing pokemon and writing this blog. At 12 a.m. Charles came to our house to say that the party for celebrating the scores for that year was starting at 2 p.m. But he quickly mentions that it would be African time. So we went to hoys college to work out some mails and to update my statuses on all kind of social networks. At 3 p.m. Charles came up to us and told it would be 4 p.m. African time. And he said we would meet us at the center of Bukomansimbi, after a half hour of waiting at the gas station there was no sight of Charles. Ten minutes after that one of the teachers came up to us on a Boda Boda. Rosan and Remco jumped on the back and I waited back there. Two local teenagers came up to me and sat next to me. I was a little bit scared and one of the teenagers grabbed his phone and a selfie with me. Then walked off with his friend. Shortly after that Jospeh(the teacher) arrived with the Boda boda. I jumped on the back and he drove to the party.
When arriving at the party it was very quiet. Everybody was sitting quietly and listening to the director of Hoys college. After a talk to Martha(the adjunct-director) I went to the other guests and my fellow travelers. After the ceremony we could get our dinner first. Because we were guests. After dinner and some beer the opening dance was announced. Sylvia(the founder of Up4s) opened it. She took some teachers by the hands and after some awkward minutes everybody went dancing. And the moment they hit the dance floor they went all out. After enjoying the party for around two hours we went back to our houses. We took a special ride(a private taxi) back to kidsgear. Just before entering the taxi I bought some soda and put it in the back. After some fiddling with the gate we arrived at home. Enjoyed some soda and listened at the music from the party still playing.
Sunday, our second day off. Short summary, preparing for the Monday and playing Pokemon.
Our first day of really going into the classes. We arrive in our classes and notice that our schedules is in no way being followed by the teachers. In the first class I sit I am roughly reminded that they teach in a different way when one of the children is hit by a stick. After the lesson I meet up with the rest and tell them that my schedule is wrong. It’s the same with them.
We go to the headmaster and tell him that something is wrong. He quickly agrees with us and we tell him that we will try to make a schedule fitting the schedule the teachers already have. We go up to our living room and get busy with the schedule. After a while and some empty soda bottles we finish our schedule.
We walk down to talk to the headmaster but we can’t find him. One of the teachers tells us that he’s out on business. We look at some more classes. I notice that in the classes it is just repeating what the teachers is saying. In every class it’s the same. After each instruction the teachers writes some exercises on the chalkboard. The children silently write everything in their books with the corresponding answer that they repeated in the class. It feels like a masterclass learning to exactly say what the teacher is saying. After classes we go up to get our supper and to get some shopping done in Bukomansimbi.
On our second day we follow our schedule. Just the night before the headmaster told us he trusts us to do the right thing. In the classes we measure the amount of children equally participating during the lessons. The percentage is lower than 40 %. The minimal amount in the Netherlands is 65 %. The day we spent doing observations and thinking of ways of approving the teachings. Noting is really different in the way of teaching. During lunch we get some kind of oliebol. Here it’s called a Mandasi. What I do notice is that teachers have different ways of completing children. By letting the whole class clap for them, give them flowers(they shake with their hands) or give them soda(pointing at the child and making a szzzz sound)
At the third day we walk down to the school and children start calling me Uncle Bart. First it was Visitor. The children are all gathering by the stairs and do some exercises with the teachers. They national anthem is sung by the children and a prayer is said. After that the children march to their class. While marching they sing the song: Walking in the light of God. But because of their accent it sounds like they are walking in the light of goat. In one lesson the alphabet is repeated by the children and I notice that the q and g are pronounced differently in Uganda.
In one lesson one of the teachers just leaves at shows up at the end of the lesson. The children just do their homework in the meantime. In one lesson the children learn to write the words connecting to some numbers over the 100.000. The exercises that are written on the board in no way have any real meaning for the children.
The last lesson I observe is a pleasant surprise. It’s a class by the director of studies and it’s a lesson where children have to think and have the time and opportunity to think for themselves. The children are really enjoying the lesson and are less afraid to speak their mind. He complements children, he doesn’t give orders to the class to give the child a complement, he does it himself. He uses cooperative learning in the correct way, not as something quick to use to fill time. After class I ask him if the others could also watch his lesson.
Yes also the next day I see a teacher letting the children think for themselves. You see the children doubting. He continues saying be free, and some children are start to take a relaxing position. The amount of active children are way higher that with any other teacher. He doesn’t only wants the definition from the dictionary. He even thanks children for trying.
The only I think is yes, there are some who are also thinking about the relation with the children, not only the theory.
Today was a day where I got burned out of bed because of the sun. I get ready to go to the assembly. After the assembly I speak with Joseph where to meat for church on the Sunday. After that I go up to our house to prepare for schoolwork. We had a short meeting where the most interesting happing was me opening everybody’s soda with my ring.
We went to Masaka. We took a special ride to Masaka. After some argument with a local that this was a special ride and not a normal ride we were off. It’s normal in Uganda to drive 80 k/m on a road with huge puttholes and with steep drops. We then were dropped off at Backpackers Masaka. A little compound with different types of accommodations. We ordered a dormitory for four people. And luckily we were with four. After that we took the ride to the main street of Masaka. This brought some confusion with our driver cause Masaka has two main streets.
After departing from our special ride we went to see some stores. Chris showed us some supermarkets and together we got our cell numbers and wifi access.
We also went to the local market, the first thing I noticed was the stench of chickens. They were pushed in a crate were the chickens had no way to move. Chris showed us a trustworthy guy were to get our fruits and vegetables. We bought some bananas. On exiting the market we noticed that a lot of Maribu’s were gathering near the market. If you are wondering what Maribu’s are, they are giant birds with just enough feathers on them to fly. They were gathering there because the chickens are slaughtered next to the market, and they eat what’s left. After some more shopping we went to a Belgium tea house and I had some fantastic Pizza. After that we walked back down to the bank where I got some more cash after getting back from the bank I saw that some Boda Boda’s has been arranged to take us to a nearby Mzungu pool. We were dropped at the pool. Around the pool was a concrete fence with barbwire on top. We were told that we should knock at the door and then somebody would open. And yes, that was the case. It was a miracle. Inside those walls was a white person paradise with a swimming pool, and waitress walking around to serve you drinks. We even had top notch WIFI. And I hear you ask how much is this little piece of paradise, well three euros. We stayed the whole day, had a hot shower and went back to Backpackers. Were Remco and I talked to a Englishman called Patt. Who had the most amazing story and now even started his own orphanage. Patt his plan was three months in Uganda, but this was his second year in Uganda. After that Milotte and Rosan also joined us. We talked and had some beers and some snacks and after that we called it a night.
Today we got out of bed at 7 a.m. The owner of Backpackers(Joseph) told us he would bring us to church. We told him that we needed to be there at 8. He asks us if it would be a African we were going to meat. I told him yes. He told us that leaving at 8 would then be fine. We was right. We arrived at the church at 8:20. There was no one to meet us. Just some funny looks from the locals. After a half hour we decided to go inside. There was no Joseph(the teacher) inside. We looked at the women sing in bright dresses. After a hour, Joseph entered. We set down and watched a ceremony by a local reverent. The people in the church found him funny, I just found it taking way to long.
Almost at the beginnig of the sermon he asked the crowd if there were any new visitors. Us four raised our hands and we were handed books to sign and after it all we should meet in the visitors room. The sermon felt like a bad combination between a pop concert and a standup show. The people loved it. A half hour later than supposed he ended the sermon and we were directly approached by a usher to follow us. We wanted to refuse but Joseph insisted that we should follow. We had some tea and Cipatt(pancake) and it was one of the most awkward moments in my whole life. After church we were dropped off at the bakery and we bought some snacks and bread. After that we got a cab. Our driver was called mister Powers, and now I we have a private driver. Mister powers, just as it says in my phone.
First day of remedial teaching. The lessons started a half hour too late. So remedial teaching wasn’t an option the first lesson. The second lesson was my first time remedical teaching, for Ugandan standards it would be a good lesson, in Dutch standards it would be horrible. There was no contact with the kids, they were afraid to answer questions, they even wouldn’t make eye contact. It felt like teaching a pack of scared street dogs to give you a pow.
PE in the contrary went great. The most shocking thing was that the children didn’t know the game tag. I taught it to them, and they enjoyed it. After that we did a variety on Simon says.
After PE I did some remedial teaching for mathematics and that went a lot better. They even dared to ask me questions. Well, only the boys. If I spoke to the girl it was like she wanted to disappear. After the lesson the children asked me if I would teach them tomorrow.
After that I went to our house and we had internet!
We also went to the local market to get some rolleggs.
Today was the first lesson I gave over here and where I am proud of. The children had fun and were less afraid to ask me questions. At the end we even walked like ducks back to our classroom. Even the normally quiet girl said something and ask me questions. Too bad that the rest of the lessons were disturbed by teachers too late for work or teachers even not coming to work. That’s when I decided that I needed a copy of their books. So that’s what I did in the afternoon.
The day started like any other day. But I decided that I would like a system in the way we should teach, so I went down to the expertise center and rearranged the books so it would be much easier for the other and me to give lessons and know what lesson we should be teaching.
After that I gave a lesson about transforming nouns to adjectives. There were no classrooms available, so I gave the lesson under a tree. The lesson had a slow start but after a while the children had the hang of it. After this lesson we saw a music lesson, a music lesson is just repeat after me till you know the lyrics to heart.
Today I observed Remco, it was the first time that I saw Remco frustrated. The teachers aren’t giving us all the information. After this lesson I prepared my lessons. All in vain, cause there was a reverent coming. That meant that all the children should gather in the dining hall. They said it would take a hour, so after two hours of sermons and singing the sermon was over and it was time for lunch. So after lunch I had one lesson. It was suppose too be four lessons. So after that I prepared lessons for the next few days. After that we ate our Catoke and went upstairs to Chris his place.
Next day I started on my newsletter that I have to make for school. After that I played some soccer on the local football field in Bukomansimbi with some of the local children. After Milotte, Rosan and me finished playing we got some soda and rolleggs and went upstairs.
After dinner we had a tallow in our room, so after some bird-chasing we guided it outside with the help of our flashlights.
Then we heard the choir and went to see that. We saw the children dancing on their own. Without shame, and with a lot of pride. The contrast was made when the teacher entered and all the music, singing and fun stopped and all their heads went down. Also for us the fun went away.
Saturday we slept in, and after 9 o’clock I got ready. Chris drove up to our house on his motorcycle and told us he’ll see us there. After two hours of everybody slowly getting ready we went to Bukomansimbi to get a special ride. After some discussing we had a price with the driver, we got in and he drove off. After not even 100 meters we heard a loud bang. The driver stopped went to the back and saw that the exhaust pipe came off the car. With some rope he tied it back on and we were off to Masaka. After a bumpy ride we drove into Masaka and nearly hit a big truck, nothing special. Happens every time. He dropped us near a second hand clothing shop on the main street. I went in to get some swimming trunks and bought a pair. After that I noticed my phone ringing. That’s new, it was a Ugandan number. It was Chris. I told him where we were. The rest of the group went grocery shopping. Chris dropped by and helped us get two boda boda’s. In the meantime he told me that everything in that second hand shop is our second hand clothing. Cause nothing is giving away. It is always resold.
We continued on our way to our guesthouse, a place whose owner is from The Netherlands. It had unlimited WIFI, great breakfast, nice beds, nice view, a normal toilet and a HOT shower. It was paradise.
After that we went to the swimming pool. After getting of the boda boda I got in an argument with the drivers. In the meantime Chris drove up with a local in not the normal way to dress in Uganda. She helped me to get my point across and we went in to the swimming pool. The local told us about her time in The Netherlands and in Amsterdam. Chris told me that she probably was a prostitute. Well, now I know how you get money in Uganda. After five minutes a Swedish guy arrived but didn’t except us there. Cause after ten minutes he went to get some friends and we didn’t see him again. After a lot of swimming, internetting, eating and throwing balls around we went to plot 99 to get some dinner. I had tomato soup, olives and a pizza Carne. Yeah, I know. But in weekends I like to eat something different than rice and beans.
After plot 99 we went to Villa Katwe(the guesthouse) and we got ready for clubbing. Clubbing was a contrast, normally we only see raggedy houses that are 90 % dust. The club was something straight out of the Netherlands. Neon lights, big LED screens and a bar with everything you ever desired. The club was mostly filled with men, so Rosan and Milotte got a lot of attention. And the men here are pretty hands on, even with other men. In the club my hand was grabbed a least six times. And keep in mind that in Uganda homosexuality is life in prison.
After a while we were in the middle of the club surrounded by locals. All in a circle and we all were showing off our dance moves. After that we went to our guest house, but not before we got some rolleggs and ate them in the grass. It was a good night and I slept as a baby.
The Sunday I woke up around 11 a.m. Got in a nice warm shower and we had breakfast. We played some baseball and after that we went to the market to get some groceries. But our driver first had to stop. He paid some dude in a bar and told us it was his previous passenger. He dropped him at a bar. Gave him enough money for two beer and told him to wait for him. Cause he first had to drop us off.
After some talking and some groceries we went on our way to kidsgear. On kidsgear we chilled and got ready for the barbeque. We went barbequing and watched the Ugandan Episodes of the Top Gear special. After that we went down to our house and got some rest. The next day was the start of a new school day.
This morning I gave a English lesson about verbs. The children reluctantly came with me. Chris observed the lesson. I did a game during the lesson and during this lesson everybody paid attention. It was a simple lesson but it was a lesson driven by the pupils, not only on the teacher. I ended the lesson by letting the children walk back as a chosen animal, it became an elephant. After that I got the materials for P.E. Then I went for break and after that I went to P4, to give them physical education. I did a musical game with rhythm and after that I did an animal game, I finished the lesson with a variation on Simon says. After that we went to class.
After that I observed a PE lesson from Remco. I discussed with Chris about the quality of Remco his lesson.
In the afternoon we decided that we should try a local restaurant because it was Milotte her birthday. The first restaurant we entered had no food…. Okay, that’s new. An open restaurant with no food inside. The second one we entered had two small tables, ten broken plastic chairs and to salt shaker with some toothpicks in them. We had no choice in food, it was matoke (banana), rice and some local fish caught in the nearby swamp. The fish still had everything, luckily I had no intestines, no head and no tail. I ate half of everything and then I decided I had enough. The cook, the biggest African lady I have ever seen entered the room to collect the plates. While doing this she cause a look of confusion why there was still food left. After that we got some water, soda and food from the local supermarket. I’ve been there so many times that everybody knows my name. There are around six people in the store at once. And no, it’s not a big store. While the group was arranging a special ride. We ended the night by lighting our garbage on fire. Yes, with plastic and all those bad stuff. There is no other way.
Today I started with a mathematics lesson about adding numbers above 1000. It was the group who I had a couple of times before that. The group enjoyed the lesson, and the watching photo’s that were made during the lesson, even I enjoyed it. That was not the case with the mathematics lesson in P.5. There was no reaction from the children, the only thing that they could do, was repeat after me. After that Remco and me went on our break, were Remco told me he was feeling sick. During my next lesson Rosan stormed into my class, demending my phone. I was a little bit angry till I noticed that something was wrong. I gave my phone and after the lesson I went up to our house and everybody was inside with a puking Remco. Too not crowd up the place I went to Hoy’s college to do some schoolwork. After coming back up the girls went to photograph the children in Hoy’s college. I stayed with Remco and continued on my schoolwork.
Today, let’s call it sick day. We all tried waking up, we all failed at it. All of us with stomach pain. All with headaches. After a while I felt better and went down to the school. A lot of explaining that we also get sick. They all guessed it was Malaria, cause here in Uganda it’s Malaria or it’s nothing else. So after explaining that the switch in weather and food also causes illness, they were contended with the answer. Know I am sitting here, writing my paper, my reports and all of that other good stuff without throwing up. Wish me good luck….
Today I felt a lot better. I had a lesson prepared. Not for remedial teaching but for the whole class. A mathematics lesson that could be given in the Netherlands. I prepared the last evening when I was feeling better, I even told some teachers that they could watch me teach in a Dutch way. So, this morning I went to kidsgear to get everything ready. The kids in P 6 were looking flustered when I started exercises on the blackboard. After finished writing the exercises on the blackboard I turned around and saw that some teachers had gathered to watch my lesson. After that previous lesson ended I started my lesson. I can say it was a trill to do give a class to 35 + Ugandan Children. There were a lot of things that went wrong, but I noticed that I was enthusiastic and it had some effect on the children, it was a shame when the groups started discussing and one of the local teachers screamed that it should be quiet. She did not understand the goal of the lesson, to let kids discuss their answer and think about what they learn instead of just accepting everything the teacher says is true. I finished the lesson by letting the kids and local teachers ask me questions. Cause my motto during the class was GET BRIGHTER, ASK QUESTIONS. It had a slow start, with almost no questions, but after the initial ten I got questions about the Dutch president, the provinces, my age, capitol and even if I could sing the Dutch Anthem. So after a while all of the children were trying to think of questions. So I could say that goal succeeded.
After that I went to hoy’s to skype with my girlfriend. Haven’t done that in 1,5 weeks. It wasn’t a success. The longest time we got was 1.18 minutes with a 10 second delay in audio. So the only thing I got was a hello and a I think the connection is bad. After almost throwing my laptop down the mountain I got internet and I had a chat with her for at least 5 minutes. Hope next time is better.
We went to Kampala. After a special ride to Welcome(the taxi place near Masaka) we got on a bus for 4.000 shilling less than the usual price. We placed ourselves on the couch in the back. This the most enjoyable I could sit. After 2 hours we entered a taxi place, but luckily a local warned us this was not Kampala. After another stop she guided us to the right place. We got in a special ride and after a hour of busy traffic and a lot of honking we were at our hotel, the Red Chilli. We got in our rooms and quickly after that we entered(jumped) the pool. What a refreshment after a long day of sitting cramped in public transportation(all the time combined, it were 4 hours in public transportation) We stayed at the hotel, we ate pizza, we swam some more, we drank some drinks and played some pool. It was good.
Remco and me went early out of bed. To watch Max Verstappen race. After that I went to the pool and swam. After a while I was joined by the rest. Around 12 o’ clock we took the shuttle to a luxury mall in Kampala. We shopped and watched how the rich Ugandan acted.
After that we came back and swam, ate and now I’m writing this story. The mosquitoes are in a constant attack and slowly becoming more of a blood factory for mosquitoes than anything else. And they sting, they don’t do it all sneaky, the just plunge in and get as many as they can. I can you, it’s more than a slight annoyance.
Woke up, watched formula 1, too bad Max Verstappen could no finish his race. Packed, and then we wait for the bus to bring us to Kampala. Oh, and I shaved my beard. After that we found out that we had to check out before 10 a.m. So we checked out, we waited for the shuttle bus and then went for the taxi park where we got into a small van(Matato), when we entered a guy came up to me asking if I would like to buy some bread. I said no, and then we had a 5 minute conversation about Dutch Soccer. Another guy asked us if we would like a newspaper. I bought one of the newspaper and the curious thing was that it looked like a gossip magazine. But the locals assured me it was the national newspaper. One of the articles was about a guy that had a conversation with God. In the national newspaper. After a 2 hour long cramped ride that brought us to the outskirts of Masaka after that we were guided to a small car were we sat with four people in the back and five people in front. That was the way the common folk drove here. After our driver arguing for a half hour with the gas station clerk we were off. Two minutes in our drive we noticed people standing at the side of the road. One truck stopped right in front of us. Our driver shouted at the drive of the truck and he shouted something back. After another two long cramped minutes we were off. But we noticed something lying on the road. Something green with a lot of debris next to it. It was a woman, probably hit when riding a boda boda. The weird thing is that our fellow passengers and the people around the accident didn’t pay attention to it. The just went their way.
When we were near Bukomansimbi, our driver got out and urged some of our passengers to get out. He got them a boda boda and we drove off. After 200 meters we stopped and were joined by our fellow passengers that got on the boda boda. Why that was, was because that there may not be five persons in front of the car, so we drove past the police with two in front of the car, and after the police patrol we were with five in front. I could say I experienced public transport Ugandan style, that’s something I can say but I would like to not experience it another time.
I went down to give my English lesson to P5. Half way through the lesson, a teacher came in and disturbed my lesson. Because he wanted the class do to an exam he forgot to do the day before that. The worst thing is that I spoke multiple times to the class teacher days before the lesson and every time he said it would be fine. So me and Remco did some activities we had to do for Chris. After that I have my job interview. And around 5 o’clock I will give the lesson meant for the morning. Let’s hope that lesson will continue.
I had a job interview, or I was supposed to have one. The internet connection went terribly bad ten minutes before my interview. This interview was over skype, if you’re wondering. After some fixing and trying different things I got the internet up to 50kbps. That’s incredibly low. After that they called me again and after not even a minute internet went down, again. So, after that all I decided to send a message that this couldn’t work. They agreed. So I sent them a mail. Now to hope that internet fixes itself and that I get another appointment. Cause I really want this position.
Today Remco and me sawed and fixed some soft boards for in the class. This have not without some constrictions. Like children walking through our work and teachers who decide they want our room to have a meeting. But after a while we were finished with making them and I checked were we could hang them. Too bad it was too busy in the classrooms to hang them. So hanging the boards would be something for tomorrow.
We went to the assembly what was a general repetition for visitation day. Every class preformed a dance and in one dance Chris, Remco and me, together with the headmaster and some local teachers were invited to dance on stage. After that I did the last preparations for my 12 o’clock lesson.
We drove our own on boda boda’s, it was beautiful. I really enjoyed myself with these huge mountains and steep hills. Every meter was an adventure. We toured around the real Uganda, not the ‘’civilized’’ part of Uganda. We drove to the old village were the interns lived. That was 5 kilometers of steep hills. After that we drove through a tea plantation. It was awesome, I love driving my motorcycle at home, and here I love it even more.
When we got home, I even went to the top of another mountain and got some water. Then we went to Masaka for groceries. We ate at café Frikandellen. At night we went back to kidsgear. In the daylight they drive like maniacs, but when the sun is down. Then they drive…. Reasonably.
Went to the visitation day. Picture this, a small classroom with five huge loudspeakers and then two Ugandan teachers screaming WOOOOW!!! through the microphone. This and some dancing was visitation day. Oh the weird thing is, it’s normal as a parent to walk on stage and give your child a bit of money, during preforming.
First day of the next week. Gave a English story-making lesson to the kids of P 6. Finally they are opening up and asking questions. I see them enjoying the lesson. After that some P.E. for two hours and mathematics as the finishing touch. The evening we had an evaluation with Chris.
Well, to summarize this day, I would say rain. A lot of rain and new types of bugs. It was quiet down at the town, if it rains. Everything stops here in Bukomansimbi. Everything. Even the guy shouting how great God is from the loudspeaker on the roof of his car stops for the rain. It’s a real relaxing day. I need one of those, you could say I bless the rain down in Africa.
We decided to make an information college for the teachers of kidsgear. This college is about cooperative learning and how it should be given in the classrooms. This because we see teachers trying to give it but doing it(to say it bluntly) wrong. I called the headmaster and he said that he would be back in one hour, we didn’t see him for the rest of the day. So maybe tomorrow.
Today my new chance for a job interview and a skype call with my rayon teacher. I prepared everything hours in advance. Luckily, cause my laptop wanted a update, internet was not correct at first and my headphones weren’t in the correct setting.
Oh, what was I clad to see a screen with a face on it and a voice in my ear, cause minutes before the interview internet went down. After 17 minutes of questions the line went down and we continued by writing our questions and answers. Not the best way to do an interview, but at least it is a way. Too bad this way, was not a way that got me the job.
This weekend I stayed in Bukomansimbi, alone. To work on some reports and papers. It’s nothing that comes easy here in Uganda. At least not to me. After everybody came back from Masaka we went up to Chris to eat some dinner and watch The Netherlands versus Turkey.
Visitation day…. Yeah… another day of shooting in the microphone and repetitive music. At least in the morning I saw Formula 1 racing.
Today we gave a lesson to the teachers of Kidsgear about cooperative learning. It was something new for us but also for them. They are used to only getting information by people telling them the information, but we did different excerices with the teachers to show them the pros of cooperative learning. It was a whole new experience and I liked it. The teachers asked us to show us more about cooperative learning, so we’re doing another class for them, on a different time. Even the headmaster said down with us to tell us he was very excited about what we told the teachers. Now we want to give another lesson to the teachers, so that the school can benefit from our visit.
So, I gave another set of lessons. About consecutive even and odd numbers. After the lesson I had some time to spare. So I did a beatboxing lesson with the kids and even the teachers was laughing and practicing. Maybe cooperative lesson are not going to stick, but they at least can beatbox. And tomorrow we are going to eat at café frikadellen, it’s going to be a barbeque and maybe they have crocodile burgers, crocodile burger. That sounds amazing!
Too bad, there were no crocodile hamburgers… Better luck next time.
I been here for more than one and a half months, just a half a month more of teaching and then classes are over for a while. Then it’s time to see gorillas, hug giraffes and to wrestle lions. But before that moment is here, I have to do my lessons about international teaching. So I made some photos round the school building, and for tomorrow I will arrange time with P6 to start my lessons about this subject.
So two days without power. Bought a notebook to keep track of my lessons and to draw so I won’t get bored. I also given my first lesson in my lessen session. The kids had to look at drawings that kids in the Netherlands made. The kids in the Netherlands made the drawings about what they found typical Dutch.
The kids here in Uganda needed to write down what they saw in the drawings. If they had questions, they had to write them down. Then we talked about what was typical Dutch, I even took the kids aside to point out how big a windmill would be.
When I came back in with the children I gave them the assignment to write things and draw things that are typical Ugandan on a paper.
Then I went to Masaka, where there is power!!!
So my lesson sessions were a success, the kids enjoyed the lessons and it was great to see the kids here in Uganda motivated for school. They were thinking for themselves and discussing, something that did not happen during normal lessons. But now I’m laying sick in bed. Think something like a stomach ache.
Do you want to see fight club, but then with kids. Bring jumping ropes to the playground and start handing them out to play with during the break. The first ten kids will line up nicely, the rest will rush at you and grab what the can grab. I saw this and got angry, all kids released their jumping ropes. I explained I wanted a nice line and who was in this line will get a jumping rope. While I was explaining myself some kids were trying to grab a rope behind my back. The other kids saw this and rushed to the ropes. Remco picked up the ropes and held in tight. We then gave them to kids how weren’t pushing and were nice. This confused the children because they are accustomed that the strong and quick ones get stuff and only them.
When we handed out the jumping ropes I showed them some tricks with the rope. They were watching in amassment because they never saw a man jumping rope and because I am pretty good at it.
We went to Masaka to go to the doctor for Remco his infected leg. After a while and a lot of tests they knew what was wrong with him. He had an infected leg…. Yeah, we already knew that.
So after a few weeks of getting ready for our trip through Uganda, we went to Kampala. In Kampala we went to the casino. In an Ugandan casino you get free drinks and snacks as long as you play. So after a few beers we left the casino and I won 100% the money I put in. So that’s always a plus
We went to brood, which is a Dutch bakery in Kampala and ate some delicious bread.
Then we went to a mixed club, and mixed means 2% white and 98% black. After getting harassed by multiple black ladies we went to another club. After that club we went back to our hotel.
Day after that I got a pair of brand jeans. And it was less than two euro’s. After that we went to Entebbe. In the guesthouse we had some drinks and after that we going to get something to eat. AAAND THEN……. THE AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON!!!!!
Okay safari time. Leave from Entebbe, towards Bukomansimbi. The road to Bukomansimbi was being prepared, what meant that is was in the most horrible condition ever. Oh, I was driving. After we arrived I could say it was amazing to drive down this road. In Bukomansimbi to get some new and clean clothes. Off to leave to our first destination, this is lake Mburo. First national park. First sighting of zebra’s, warthogs and other kinds of animals you see dancing in the Lion King. In our afternoon drive we saw all kind of animals. The next morning we decided to do a walking tour. We climbed different sorts of hills and had amazing views and came very close to some waterbucks, zebra’s and impala’s.
After lake Mburo we went to one of our main attractions. The mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable. On the road to Bwindi I experienced my first African flat tire. After some creative thinking with rocks and help from a local we were back on the road.
Then we had the road up to the mountains of Bwindi. It was the most scary ride I ever had. It was pitch black and the road was just big enough for the car. With on the left side a steeper getting cliff. The last half hour we had to walk cause another car got stuck up the mountain. Luckily some locals could help us with our bags. So with flashlights in hand and some new found courage I went up to the lodge. Arriving in my lodge I was in heaven. Hot shower, nice temperature, bath, luxury beds and everything looked very nice.
The next morning we went gorilla tracking. After a steep cliff, where we had to walk off. We arrived at the gorillas. I want to describe it, but it was to beautiful and majestic. We were standing in the middle of a gorilla group. After some sliding and climbing I founded twelve different gorillas. Amazing. After a Hour and a half we went back. Still amazed about what we all saw.
That same day we left for lake Bonyunyi, the deepest lake in Uganda. Nothing special happened, except that Rosan and me got lost on the middle of the lake in the dark in an old fashioned canoe made out of a tree. At least I can say that I came to twelve bottles of beer (English walking song).
After lake Bonyunyi we went to Queen Elizabeth national park. After a short drive we arrived at the scene of the lion king. We were standing on a rock and saw 2000 square kilometers of Safari/ jungle combined in one view. After a hour driving through the park we finally reached the park headquarters. We got our tickets and went in. After that we went on the boat ride and saw different kinds of aquatic animals like hippopotamus and different kinds of birds like weaver birds.
The next morning we got up at way to early but it was worth it. We saw lions. Even a male lion. Okay, most of the time he was licking his balls, but we saw a male lion from 5 feet distance.
From Queen to Fort Portal, were I ate some good food, slept in a typical African house and had monkeys walking over my breakfast table.
After a long, long, long Fr@#cking drive of twelve and a half hours we arrived at Murchison falls. We made some photos at the falls and then we went to the hotel. To get some very welcomed sleep.
Oh, a Hippo was walking past our tents.
The next morning we went on a boat ride. It was the most beautiful scenery. We even saw elephants with their young drinking from the water.
After the boat ride we went to the ferry and from the ferry we went without guide through the park. Biggest smile on my face was when I saw giraffes (my favorite animals). I sat on top the car until we reached the entrance, this was about 30 miles. Murchison falls was my all-time favorite park. At least in Uganda.
From Murchison we went to the rhino reserve where I petted a warthog. From there we went to Kampala, in Kampala a quick snack and then we went to Entebbe. Some of our company went back to Holland and three others and me went to Jinja.
In Jinja we rested and as a finisher we went Rafting. It was the coolest thing ever. We flipped four times, I stayed under water for ten seconds and almost lost my swimming trousers. I would do it again in a hart-beat.
The last day, driving back from Jinja to Entebbe. Preparing my suitcase. Getting some good food and typing the last of this report. Cause guys and girls. I’m going back!
Now some information about money and housing.
You sleep in a bunkbed with the same gender. The houses are kept clean by the housekeeper. The bed are for Ugandan standards very good, but don’t except anything like you have in a normal western country. The housing with food included was 300 euro's a month. If you wanted something different, you could get something to snack for 2000 shilling. This translates in about 60-70 eurocent. Soda is about 1000 shilling a piece. If you get a whole crate of soda you’ll pay 14.000 shilling. If you pay 2000 shilling extra they will bring it upstairs. In the weekends I went to muzugu places which are expensive in comprehensive. A big dinner would cost you around 15 euro’s. So each month was like 400 euro’s, without all the extra's it would be like 320 euro's á month.
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