Global Partnership - Hosanna Trip 2012

In July 2012 nine Sixth Form students and two members of staff visited Uganda to work with Hosanna school as part of a Global Partnership Scheme.

Uganda Visit 15th - 30th July 2012

 On Sunday 15th July, Frances Bircher, Alex Case, Steve Cripps, Matt Horn, Ben Howell, Ellie Milton, Emma Pilgrim, Kate Rogers, Helen Tyler, Ms Hewitt and Ms Revans waved a teary goodbye to our families and friends to start our journey to Hosanna Primary School in Uganda. We all had many expectations for the trip but none of us were prepared for the impact the visit was to have upon us.

Arriving in Uganda on a hot Monday afternoon we were slowly trying to acclimatise to our new environment. We were met at the airport by John, who we would be staying with, and who we learned over the two weeks was a truly inspirational human being. Having grown up in a poor area of Uganda he was then educated in the UK and returned to Kampala to better the lives of hundreds of his fellow Ugandans.

 As we pulled up outside of Hosanna School, which is situated in the heart of a very poor community, we could see and hear the 800 strong students and staff who were waiting for our arrival. We were each presented with flowers by the children and then followed a group of pupils dancing through the grounds as the rest of the school sang and cheered, welcoming us with smiles on their faces and joy in their eyes. To say we weren’t moved by this would be a lie, but also we felt somewhat unworthy of such a lavish greeting.

 The children returned to their classes and we were given a tour of the school by Anne, the head teacher. As we entered each class we were welcomed by singing and we could see how much they all appreciated our presence in their school. We taught every day at the school for the rest of the week. Lessons included storytelling to the baby classes, who were aged four and five years, science and maths with the older students, crafts making friendships bracelets, playing games with toys that we bought from the local supermarket and teaching English, a vital skill needed in their education.

 During our time at the school we were given a tour of the community surrounding Hosanna and we got to see some of the students’ homes and families. Each and every family we visited were grateful for their children being sponsored by many families in the UK and associated with Brimsham, and expressed their thanks to us. After this visit and returning to Hosanna we soon realised what a haven the school is for the children, a place for them to be able to escape from the hardship of living in the slums, a place where they could learn, smile and be happy.

 On the Sunday of our first week in Uganda we were invited to church, the original function of the Hosanna School site. The service comprised of singing, dancing, bible readings and speeches. The pastor, Anne and the congregation expressed their thanks to Brimsham Green for the hard work put into the link. In the evening we took the staff of Hosanna to a cultural centre where we enjoyed food, music, and local dancing.

 During the second week of our teaching at Hosanna we were asked to invigilate the children’s exams. This proved to be a more challenging experience than first thought, as soon as the teachers left the class the children showed us that they were just that, children. Talking, laughing, copying and blatant cheating reminded us that, even though they had to grow up fast living in the slums and dealing with adversity, they were in fact children. The last day of being at Hosanna was sports day. We were all split into four different teams and then set off to a large playing field, we marched through the centre of the slum singing and chanting. The day was a great success and we were able to provide all the children with a hot meal and a drink, something not all of them receive at home, and a party bag which they loved. We also presented Anne and the school with a plaque celebrating our trip and the partnership and thanked them for taking us in with open arms and an open heart.

 We all hope that the link continues for many years to come, with the help of Brimsham, the staff, students and parents, Hosanna has been able to grow from having 13 students to 800, and it is still growing. There are children that want to go to Hosanna but the school is full. We donated £6,000 from our fundraising which will contribute half of the money to build much needed classrooms. We also bought many books and other educational resources. Many years ago the link between Hosanna and Brimsham began; eight weeks ago it grew stronger. Let’s make sure that continues.

 Brimsham Green has been linked with Hosanna School since 2002 and our visit will help to strengthen the link between the two schools, as well as deliver much needed resources.

The Uganda Committee