At the edge of the Bwindi impenetrable forest, where the lush green jungle, home to the mountain gorillas, gradually merged with the patchwork of subsistence food crops of the local Bakiga people, was the lodge that I called home during the Christmas holidays.
At the start of January, after a ten hour drive from Kampala, of which 2 hours was along a bumpy, pothole ridden road, where a red dust sept through every tiny crevice in the van, I arrived at the Limited Resource Teacher Training (LRTT) headquarters in Kanungu, Uganda.
LRTT, is a global movement whose vision is for a world in which all teachers are empowered to unlock the full potential of every child. It started in Uganda in 2011 and is now in 11 countries.
Working with the most recent intake of LRTT volunteer teachers, I spent my summer break far from the luxuries of western society. In pairs, working alongside two trained Ugandan lead teachers, we were organising and presenting workshops to 20 Ugandan teachers. From 20 something to 82 years of age, from primary through to secondary, from second year teaching to school principal, from history to science to maths to literacy, these teachers all had the same desire to provide the best education possible for their children.
Instead of using their summer break time to prepare their earth for the next seasons crops, they were traveling long distances for the opportunity to improve their teaching skills to better educate and improve the lives of the next generation. What an amazing, humbling, enlightening, motivating, empowering experience it was. Sharing knowledge with, learning from, laughing, eating, dancing, singing with such a special inspiring, group of educators. All of us with one goal in common, a brighter future for the children.
Due to it being the summer break the schools were closed, but was when we visited the empty classrooms of a local school that the reality struck. A dirt floor, a corrugated iron roof, no ceiling, a black board and absolutely no resources, NOTHING!!! However skilled the teachers are, without the basics, books to read, textbooks for information, access through the internet to outside world and the knowledge and information that we take for granted they have huge obstacles to climb, barriers to break down, challenges to overcome.
Rather than ‘a drop in the ocean’, I prefer to think of my time in Uganda as part of a global movement and arriving home I am still feel very much part of that movement. As to what my next steps will be I have not decided yet. I do know there will be many more steps on my journey working with a group of educators wanting to make a better and brighter future for the children.
Finally a big sincere thank you to all of you that made this experience possible with your generous donations and kind, supportive words and actions.
“He taonga rongonui te aroha ki te tangata. Goodwill towards others is a precious treasure.”