Monday, January 17, 2011

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

All photos © 2010, J. Vanderpool.
As Grace walked off into the dust of the main road, my dinner date arrived. By way of saying thank you for the lovely birthday cake, I offered to buy lunch at the Little Ritz for Sister Eva, a hardworking and open-minded nun with Caritas Internationalis. We both went for the option of grilled chicken, chips, salad and Fanta.

After lunch, we headed off to the Catholic convent school on the edge of town. As we bounced down the dusty backstreets in Sr Eva's Nissan car I thought to myself how liberating it was to be away from the main group of staff and students for a while and to be doing some exploring alone.

The convent school, named after a local bishop whose name escapes me already, was of great contrast to the Islamic primary school that I had visited earlier in the week. There was secure compound with a guard, neat, uniformly build buildings with a house for the nuns and dorms for some of the children. The gardens were well tendered and the buildings had windows.

I was given a tour of the premises and was greeted with rapturous applause and singing upon entry into any of the rooms. I was intrigued to find a pair of mixed race children; the first such I had seen in Uganda.

Greg and Rohan painting the high bits.
With time running out, I was offered tea with the Headmistress, Sr Eva, and a more junior nun. We had time to discuss the differences between our countries' cultures, morality and the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is being proposed in the Ugandan Parliament.

As we left the kitchen, we passed the vocational education unit for post-primary school aged girls. It was amusing to see the reactions on their faces at seeing a male over the age of eleven in their compound - and a white one in a cowboy hat at that!

Sister Eva, thankfully, was able to run me back into town - good because I had only a small idea of the route back. She took me on an alternative route into the suburbs, through throngs of students finishing school and past the municipal stadium to the Edirisa.

Once at the Edirisa, I walked into the room that is to become the Kabale Arts Centre to find Greg, Jeff and a merry band of our students helping out. Also in attendance was Ruth, who was covered, or so it seemed, head to toe in paint.

I picked up my bag of plaster, mixed it with water on the floor and carried on where I had left off yesterday. Following Jeff's rampage, whereby he pulled out all the remaining old screws and nails from the walls, I had suddenly found I had a lot more holes to fill. At around six, Greg suggested that we call it an evening to finish the decorating job once and for all tomorrow - I have found myself a table to write at whilst I wait for him to finish. I am glad the day is slowing down. I am tired.

Fantastic photo by Jeff Vanderpool of Rahima and Lul, two of my students.

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