Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Acholi Quarters

Today my teaching partner and I took 39 eight year old students around a slum, the Acholi Quarters, in Kampala, as part of our Community Development Project. The school has an ongoing link with this community of displaced people from the North of Uganda, but it was my first visit to the area. The community is made up of over 10, 000 poor and vulnerable people (virtually every mother has a child with malaria)  .The community was friendly and welcoming and we got shown around the little maze of mud huts, latrines, animal pens and rubbish tips.

We went with the aim of making observations and sketches of their very basic community playground, making notes of unsafe materials (mmm...all of it!) so that we could design and build a new playground after raising funds for it. My teaching partner and I hardly took any photos, which is a shame, but with so many children and so many twists and turns and alleys, we didn't really get a chance.

For many pupils, if not all, it was the first time they had been so up-close and personal with these types of living conditions. Many were quite happy to be able to hide behind a clipboard and be very busy and important, rather than try to interact with other children we met, but I was still SO impressed with them. Visiting the area could be understandably intimidating for anybody, at any age.

The pupils helped each other jump over sewers and avoid muddy puddles and showed respect to the living conditions of the community. I heard no 'eeeuurrrrhhh's' or 'yuuuucck's', even when they noticed what was on the slide (!) and only one pupil got a bit upset when he got a bit of mud on his leg! (I think everyone will have extra long showers this evening!) Our pupils quietly observed, watched their step and then got excited about what the new playground, that they will create, will look like.

We all may live in Kampala, but the community we visited today is a million miles away from our lives. Every now and again, we need reminders of  how lucky we are.


  1. Sounds like a day they will always remember. I feel for those moms - how they must worry about their children.

  2. As welcome as flowers in May.


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