Global Partnership - Hosana Trip 2010

Brimsham - Hosanna Trip 2010!

 After a whole year of dedicated fundraising, days of turmoil after the Kampala terrorist bombings just 5 days before our departure and almost 24 hours of travelling, 6th Formers Hannah Gale, Claire Stirling and Jack Howell along with teacher Miss Davies arrived in Uganda.

On Monday 19th July we visited Hosanna Primary School for the first time. Nothing could prepare us for what we saw and how we felt as we first entered the slum of Kisenyi, the biggest shanty town in Kampala, and home to Hosanna School. I could not define it purely as shock, sadness, shame, disbelief or even anger. It was a combination of everything, to the point that I felt overwhelmed by a tidal wave of emotion. We were seeing it all with our own eyes and feeling like we were understanding and experiencing the lives of these people by being there. But in reality we were just passing through and looking on. We do not live like they do and nor will we ever have to, so how can we even begin to understand…to really understand? We couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable as we drove through the narrow streets in our indiscrete taxi, passing children sitting inches from the open sewers and people standing in the doorways of decrepit one roomed shanty houses. As the school comes into view, we see the crowds of 600 children just inside the gates, dressed in the familiar green uniform we have seen in so many photos and videos. But now we are actually there; we are actually at Hosanna School. I really hoped I wouldn’t cry before even getting out of the taxi, but I soon realised this was an ambitious expectation. We were greeted by headteacher Anne before turning to walk into the school. The baby class were right at the front and jumping up and down, waving to us with sheer excitement. I couldn’t stop smiling, but at the same time suppress the urge to cry at feeling so humbled; I think the strangest mix of emotions I have ever felt. To welcome us the children sang This Little Light of Mine while a small group of children dressed in traditional costume, danced toward us. We followed them down to Anne’s office and where four of the smallest students presented us each with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Now I think we had all given up trying to hold back the tears.

Over the course of the week we taught every class and supplied every child with an exercise book and pen or pencil. We brought 3 parachutes from the UK, bought with the £300 donated by the Rotary Club. The children absolutely loved them. We even had the teachers in hysterics at the ‘Cat and Mouse’ game where one child runs around on the top of the parachute and tries to catch another crawling underneath. We taught them how to play frisbee with Jack’s 14 donated ones. We taught them dodge ball and piggy in the middle too. Story-telling proved great fun. We read Percy the Park Keeper, After the Storm and taught the children the names and sounds of every animal that appeared in the story. This involved the three of us leaping around at the front of the classroom like ‘the rabbit’ ‘the duck’ and ‘the owl’ as the children copied. My seriously strange impersonation of ‘the mole’ I have not yet lived down. We taught the children how to make friendship bracelets in another lesson. Most of the students unsurprisingly put our examples to shame. On the Friday the students held a Sports Day for us all. This included letter arranging and a banana eating competition for the baby class. For the rest of the school there was a sack, running, bottle balancing and matoke peeling race. There was even a teacher race which Claire made look easy and won by miles. Anne concluded that this was because she could “run like an ostrich!” In the end Jack’s red team took the victory, much to his delight!

Our visit to the school has been the most humbling and moving experience of our lives so far. We have seen for ourselves how important Hosanna School is to the children and how we need not do a lot to make a huge difference in their lives.

I hope everyone continues to support the partnership as they have done up until now. To the people who questioned why we raised so much money to send students to Kisenyi, instead of sending all the money straight to the school, we say the trip has strengthened our partnership with Hosanna. There is giving money and then there is giving your heart in friendship and support which means so much more. It is through this trip that we have been able to promote the Global Partnership to the wider community in a way we never thought possible. It has also meant that a further £800 was raised and donated on our behalf for us to buy resources to give directly to Hosanna School. In fact, even after buying all the classroom resources, number and letter boards for the baby classes, 2 huge teddy bears, sweets for the children, banners for sports day and T-shirts for each school house, we still had enough money left over, from donations and our food and contingency budget to give a further £800 to Hosanna. The school has never been more grateful and it was this trip that made it all possible.

We hope that more students will be able to travel to Hosanna School in the coming years and that in the near future children from Hosanna will be able to come to the UK. As Anne said: “we can inspire them and show them what they can achieve in the world”. A special thanks to Miss Davies who made the whole experience possible and supported us throughout. Thank you also to staff and students who helped to raise money and awareness.

We have each left a little piece of our heart in Uganda.
 
Hannah Gale
(On behalf of the Global Partnership Committee)