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Les Journaux Africains: Edirisa, Kabale, Uganda - 16.10 08/04/2010 - Part One

Being that my last entry into this journal was made at nine o'clock this morning, you might get a hint at how busy I have been.

The day started with a misty stroll down into the town. The air was particularly heavy this morning, pregnant with the threat of heavy rain, but this gently subsided by the time things got going at Restore Lost Hope - a centre for street children opposite the Little Ritz in the town.

Before getting into our activities, we were invited to introduce ourselves to children. After each of us had said our names, the children would beat out a rhythm on a drum and clap their hands. The children then, accompanied by the adult helpers, danced and sang a song of introduction, native to the local Abanyakigezi people.

My activity focused on storytelling and I had Grace Kamie helping out, along with Thomas and Tugce - two of my students from the UK. Many of the children at the centre could only speak the local Rukiga language and so, thinking on my feet, I devised a plan that involved Grace translating.

Four of the braver students would tell a story in Rukiga. Grace would translate as the children took it turns to tell their stories, with myself and the English students writing the stories onto an empty storyboard drawn out on A2 paper. So that the children could begin to associate words with 'real' things, the storyboard was then illustrated by the remaining twenty or so students. The stories involved a lot of wicked stepmothers and lonely children.

Despite my earlier worries, the process went well, with the children being genuinely proud of what they'd produced together, with minimal fighting over crayons.

At the end of our time at the centre, it was time for Grace to return home, towards Ntungamo on the 1pm coach. Having paid for her bus fare, by way of small thanks for all her hard work, and with a few, or rather a lot, of tears shed, we said our goodbyes.

This entry is continued Monday.



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