Thursday, January 13, 2011

Les Journaux Africains: Edirisa, Town Centre, Kabale, Uganda - 18.50 07/04/2010

Photo © 2010, Matt Jenkins.
I spent a decent amount of time this afternoon setting up a creative writing competition for the Senior 6 class with their teacher, Sebi, and Stefan, one of the WMSF group. Stef and myself had come up with a plan earlier in the week whereby we would share a double lesson with Sebi's group and look at creative writing around the themes of 'Freedom', 'Celebration', 'Noise' and 'Singing' - we had been looking at the poem 'This Room' by Imtiaz Dharker.

The students had seemed a bit skeptical about creative writing at first as the Ugandan Literature curriculum doesn't allow for much creativity - it is worth noting that the Literature curriculum in the UK was similar until quite recently. With Sebi on board, an amateur poet and at times a lone voice in the school, we know that by Thursday evening's deadline for entries that there will be plenty to judge.

The lesson had to finish early as a whole-school assembly had been called following the beating of a student from a another school - it would appear that some students may have gotten themselves implicated. All students and school staff were in attendance along with the local police superintendant; a man as scary as the armed prison guard with whom me and Nick DS had come face to face last year. The bazungu weren't invited, but I stood chatting with Sebi for a short while, observing the proceedings.

After the usual, protracted daily goodbyes, I headed into town with a group of others on foot, bound for the Edirisa.

Photo © 2010, Jeff Vanderpool.
Upon arriving at the Edirisa, somewhere I had sometimes in the past thought of as being a place where mzungu backpackers hide from the real world, I was enthralled to see the effort that Greg, Jeff and a band of local helpers had put in.

Every fixture that I remember as being there from the year before, in the main café room, was gone. The room was a complete shell where once there had been bookshelves, tables and souvenirs for sale. Paper had been laid out on the floor, pots of paint were waiting to be opened and dead plaster lettered various corners of the room.

I know that the room will be successfully transformed into the Kabale Arts Centre by Tuesday, it's just that,  looking at it at the moment, it seems inconceivable. I guess it will be something like 'Grand Designs, Uganda'.

Whilst waiting to head back up the hill for some dinner - I'm hitching a lift - I started to plaster a couple of holes in the wall. It is an immensely cathartic experience and I feel that I have something of a knack for it.

Tomorrow, along with a few other commitments, I will return and continue helping out. I have my eye on a wall that needs a bit of reconstructing with a touch of plaster. Hmm - a new career?

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