Since Ttega is out of session, I decided to go to work with Freda at a project she’s helped initiate at her school in the neighboring village, Lungujja.
Lungujja primary and secondary school is a very run-down place. I’m not sure if that’s even an accurate description, since it was technically never built up. Like Ttega, Lungujja has no electricity or running water. However the maintenance at Ttega is much better, and Lungujja holds about 7 times as many children,making overcrowding a huge issue and keeping the lace clean practically impossible.
In order to help with overcrowding, a new site has been picked out for the school. However I’m still pretty unsure of how this tiny building is meant to be an improvement. Teacher Joesphine lives at the new site with 3 of her own children, and shelters others. She hopes to change 2 of the building’s rooms into dormitories for volunteers, and to make the last room a classroom. However by the looks of the building now, that won’t be any time soon at all.
Josephine just got a loan to put in floors, wiring for electricity and pipes for water. It is also for plastering the walls and putting windows in one of the rooms. However we are all concerned about how quickly this will happen, if at all. Lungujja is another school that accepts kids who can’t pay fees. The teacher’s salaries are long, long overdue, and payments on an older loan are proving to be difficult to pay, as well.
Here in Uganda, debt is something that people find themselves in a lot of trouble with- even more so than America. Cheryl was talking to me about the mindset of people in this kind of poverty. Here, everyone is worried about the present, only about today. When you have so little, you do everything you can to make it through one day at a time. So, if that means getting yourself into debt, it’s fine, because you’re not worried about how to pay it off later, you’ll figure that out when the time comes. I can definitely see evidence of this mindset, and in other ways than money.
So this is one of those problems that’s too big for any of us volunteers to approach. We can’t change someone’s mindset or way of life, no matter how much we think it’s for the better. So, Freda has started up a program where children can come get familiar with the new site, do arts and crafts, socialize and play games. The kids who live at the new site are there in the mornings and Freda has been giving them English lessons. I think it’s great that no matter how poor the facilities might be or what kind of problems the kids might be facing at home, theres almost always a way to help out and feel like you’re contributing, just because the kids are so flexible and will gladly lie in the dirt if you give them Enligsh to practice and the attention they need to get it right.