and other traits of learning in Uganda...
23.06.2012 24 °C
A dark silhouette appeared out of the blackness. Fluttering and flapping, it was a small bat flying haphazardly towards my face. I was outside, thinking and praying, sitting outside of our dormitory style housing taking in the untamed African night. I was very aware my bare feet were at risk from pinching ants marching in their straight lines through the grass. Of course, like usual, I had to be vigilant for the mosquitoes whose presence is betrayed by their horrible high- pitched drone.
But it was the incredible sight of the African night sky which kept me sitting there. The stars here are so clear, unrecognized constellations, beautiful tiny sparks of light, spread across the sky.
Africa is rugged, wild, untamed. This makes it frightening as well as exciting and intriguing.
It is frightening to hear of a lady has died of cholera in the neighbouring village this week. There has been a cholera outbreak in Arua, so we have been told to be extra vigilant with food preparation and wash fruit and vegetables.
Our lectures in the mornings on this discipleship training school are a lot less wild, most of the time, although some of the illustrations given or stories told by our African colleagues are distinctly African and wild.
For example, a Ugandan lecturer shared stories of the Lord’s Resistance Army and their horrific acts. She talked of a woman whose nose and lips were cut off, and a boy whose dad was cut into small pieces, put into a pot, boiled, and the other villagers were forced to eat. (for more stories about the LRA and their horrific behaviour read ‘Abote Girls.)
Most of the lectures aren’t so harrowing, thankfully, although it is interesting to hear from the students of their polygamous father whose wives used witchcraft to gain favour from the husband, and other stories so far from my own upbringing.
The classroom is a unique place, it is a privilege to be studying amongst the Ugandans (& a Kenyan). This is probably one of the highlights of being here because I am very keen to understand the African thinking and mindset better. There are 4 deaf students amongst us, so Helen and Adam, an English couple who have a heart for the deaf, are constantly signing whatever is being taught. There is a lady who hardly speaks any English so there is another staff member, John, (sign name: pointy head) who is always by her side tirelessly helping her.
Amelie is being looked after by Lilian, our sweet nanny, during our lectures, but 2 of the students have smalls kids who accompany them (and us) to class…
On occasions this means the class can be noisy when 15 month old Newton (named after Isaac) screams whilst his mother tries desperately to suckle him with her breasts hanging out to try and calm him, Luckly (a name of a cute toddler, not a typo) has produced a puddle on the cement floor of the classroom, but thankfully it will dry quickly here.
Outside, men are slashing the grass with long curved pangas sweating.
Inside , our Ugandan lecturer is wearing a Dundee United football jacket because it is only 24 C and cloudy. Her Scottish jacket seems out of place, a piece of my world breaking through into this strange and crazy place….