Day 6 - Little Angels School (on Lake Bunyoni)

Jan and Paul Dwyer had told me of a school near here that they had visited last year, and of the poverty of the children there, so when Duncan, who began the project to help these kids [having been a sponsored child himself from a young age, and wanting to give back to other needy kids], came around while we were having dinner the first evening and told us about his new school just a little further along the lake side, so those of us who weren't going to see the gorillas the next day said we'd go to the school.

So on Friday morning, we gathered at the dock and jumped into the dugout canoes, which each take about 2.5 months to hand carve, and went for a very pleasant ride along the lake, waving to all those locals passing in their dugouts. Eventually, after about half an hour, we came to the site of the school, set on a steep bank beside the lake.

Above: The dugouts docked at the school fence. Below: The school building.

Up we climbed to the school building, a temporary slat timber structure which had been built only 6 weeks previously when this school started. Happy children singing and reciting numbers met us as we approached and entered each of the 3 class rooms. Classes are for Baby: ages 3 and 4; Middle, ages 5 and 6; and Top, ages 7 and 8.

We were warmly welcomed and told to take as many photos as we wished of the children, something I rarely do, as I wouldn't like a camera being shoved in my face all the time! But, as we were free to do so, we did. And the kids loved it! They had a passion for sunglasses, and were always grabbing at them, so I put them on a few kids and took their photo then showed them what they looked like. They loved it!

They put on a singing and dancing show down on a relatively level area below the building, and each class had a turn. These little kids, who have so very little in life, were so happy, smiling and laughing all the time, enjoying what they were doing. Even when reciting numbers in class, they seemed to love it.

Then it was their breakfast time at about 11am, so all trooped further down to another relatively flat area and all sat. Here they were given a large beaker full of a hot, porridge like food. However, they didn't have enough beakers to go around, there being about a dozen who missed out, of the 130 or so kids in the school. Now in western countries, those who missed out would no doubt be screaming, yelling abuse and carrying on! Not so these kids. They sat placidly, waiting their turn. When the first to finish their meal held up the cups, they were collected and refilled, and given to those who had their hands up as having missed out the first time. Easy and simple, no drama.

Above: Yes, there's always one in every crowd!

These children are all HIV-Positive or else from extremely poor families, too poor to attend the local primary school just a short distance away. For these reasons, sponsorship of a child is sought when possible. For just US$40 per month, the lives of these kids can be vastly bettered. $10 goes to the class teacher to provide educational items for the kids, so the whole class benefits from it, and the other $30 is for the child. However, the money is not just given to the family. Needed items of food, clothing, bedding etc are purchased as required and given to the family members, thus the whole family benefits, not just the child.

I couldn't resist. This is Angella, just over 5 years old, and extremely poor, who is now my sponsored child.

If you feel you would like to do something for these disadvantaged kids, please contact me: [beemerbird at netspace.net.au - replace at with the symbol] and I'll send on some information. It isn't necessary to sponsor a child. Donations may be made in $$ to the project's bank account, or parcels of school requisites posted to the school would be greatly appreciated.

From the 7 or 8 westerners in our tour party, five children were sponsored, so this will be a big help to the whole school, as well as the families.

We in the west who have so much, need give so little to enable these kids to have a much better life.

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