Teaching, Filming and Celebrating, Tue July 1

Starting on Monday of this week, the visiting teachers are working daily in classrooms in the five primary schools, and the visiting administrators are working with secondary schools and district school staff in Fort Portal. Today I filmed in Kiiko, Kigarama, Rweteera and Kanyawara schools.

Johanna reciting a Langston Hughes poem at Kiiko School.

Linda and Steve team-teaching at Kigarama School, in a room that was very badly damaged in the 1994 magnitude-7 earthquake.

Chris teaching in the Rutooro language at Rweteera School! She roused this class and the school headmaster Nyakama Stephen to sing and to pantomime the bear climbing up the mountain to see what he could see. What a performance!

A view along the road going north from Rweteera School back towards Kasiisi. It's very hard to capture the the beauty of these steep hills textured with banana trees, eucalyptus, avocado trees, pines,cassava plantations, tea plantations, and indigenous trees.

In the evening we all went to Joshua Kagaba’s house and plantation in Ruteete, about 5 miles southwest of Kasiisi School on the road to Ndali Lodge (which by the way is featured in the July European edition of Vanity Fair). Joshua and the other Ugandans who visited the US last year put on a joint celebration for the group. What a party!

Joshua owns maybe 50 acres, a very large piece of land for one person in Uganda. It’s prime farmland. He and his family are expert cattle and truck farmers. We picked pineapples, sugar cane, green bananas, guavas, avocado, green beans, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, cassava, and peanuts (groundnuts or g-nuts), most of which were new to most of the group other than (as Joshua put it) "shriveled in a plastic bag or a box in a market".
This worker is picking guavas in one of Joshua's many trees.

Country music played through the evening except when traditional dancers and musicians performed. Many local notables were present. One of them mentioned voting for Joshua in the upcoming election for mayor, for which Joshua is a serious candidate. There was fine Ugandan food and there were many speeches.

One of the speakers was the headmaster of Nyakasura Secondary School near Fort Portal. He said that the area where Joshua lives, the Bunyuruguru crater lakes, was deserted until the white men came to live in them. The local people feared the lakes as being dangerous and evil. But the whites cared nothing about the local beliefs, and the whites did not apparently suffer at all for having broken taboo by settling in the vicinity. The headmaster said that this propensity for action over belief is characteristic of Europeans vis-a-vis Africans. The same theme shows up very clearly in Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart, which all students in Uganda schools read and which I finished yesterday.

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