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Showing posts from November, 2012

Bow Riverside, River Lee Navigation, East London

It was on Saturday 20th October, a somewhat murky afternoon, that a group of us decided to walk the towpath of the Lee Navigation from Hackney Marshes to Limehouse Basin. The Lee Navigation itself is a canalised section of the River Lea and forms a part of a complicated network of rivers, cuttings, overflows channels and streams - one of which runs past the rear of my flat - that dominate the geography of the local area.
About 3½ miles into the walk, with the rain beginning to fall, we reached the point where the Lee Navigation meets Bow Back River. 
I immediately fell in love with the relatively new bridge that crosses the river at this point. I think what fascinated me about it wasn't so much the angular design of it, but more the way in which it blended perfectly into this strange urban-rural hinterland - or 'edgeland' as some have called such landscapes.
The navigable river, with its old trees and foliage on the banks, gives the walker a sense of seclusion from the ur…

The Bakiga Window Vol. II: The New Class

With their distinct lack of formal school clothes, and their inherent naughtiness, the Senior 1 classes stand out against the otherwise uniformity of the student body at Kigezi High School. It is not long into their first year in senior classes and their new uniforms are yet to arrive.
It is Tuesday 3rd April 2012 and I am sat at the back of class S1D as they embark on an English language lesson. The subject that Penninah, their teacher, has chosen for today’s class is ‘the active and passive voice’.
The topic itself may not be fascinating, but to observe these students taking their first tentative steps into senior education is amazing. In the UK, I am often amazed at my students forgetting the basics of English language, so to see group of twelve-year-olds getting their teeth into such a subject is strikes me as being an admirable undertaking.
Casting your eyes about the classroom it is clear to see who is already assuming which role within the class. To the front of the class a sh…

The Bakiga Window Vol. II: Splinters in the Air

Walking to the bottom of hill on Johnstone Road, turning into the area off Bugongi Road, past the bar advertising Pork and Beer in simple painted letters, and away from the tarmac of the main streets used to fill me with a little fear. Now, in the morning mist, I see a hive of activity and get a glimpse of different facet of Ugandan life. 
It is Thursday 5th April 2012 and I have taken a stroll with my colleague Jas through an area of Kabale that I have often passed by and seldom explored over the years. Indeed, in my first visit to Kabale in 2009, in the best traditions of bazungu in Africa for the first time, I labelled the area somewhat ignorantly the ‘Poor Quarter’. Although many of my reflections from that time are generally accurate, if under-informed, there is a lot more to this district than my over-simplification of these streets as being ‘Poor’ – this mzungu has learnt and is still learning at least.
Away from the dawn chorus of boda-bodas, and the chanting of the children …