Week Three

Uganda

This week we left Rafiki Africa Ministries and had to drive 2 hours to a small rural village called Buwooya to work with a small primary school called Buwooya Mission School.


We learnt very quickly that the living conditions are very different to what we were used to at Rafiki. As it is such a rural village, there is no running water and only power during the day from a small solar panel. We often walk to the well to get more water to bathe and handwash our clothes with. With no light at night, we take a bucket and bathe outside. We also had to get used to our new squat toilet very quickly, which we had to share with the primary school kids.

Village life is also very different to the busyness and traffic of Kampala. Everything moves at a slower pace and there is no need to hurry, sometimes dinner would come at 10:30pm. With no power at night, we often get to sit in quiet and enjoy the outdoors. Sometimes we will watch a thunderstorm in the distance, or walk down into the valley to see the stars and a whole field full of fireflies.

As it is a small town, we also do not have access to larger shopping centres which we found in Kampala. We quickly ran out of sunscreen and could not find any in the nearby area. I guess the locals don't really need sunscreen here. We had to travel 50 minutes on a motorbike before we came across a supermarket which sold sunscreen. I've never been so happy to get sunscreen in my life.

For dinner, we found someone who sold live chickens and bought one for David to kill and prepare our meal with. We appropriately named the chicken Goliath but made sure we didn't get too attached before cutting his head off. I think David enjoyed the experience of killing his first chicken. Goliath tasted great.

The school we are working with, Buwooya Mission School, is a primary school for children whose families cannot afford to pay for school fees. Some of them are orphans due to diseases such as HIV/AIDS, so they live with relatives. Sometimes, there can be eight children living in one house, which causes financial stress on the guardians, as most people in Buwooya do not work, but instead farm on their land to grow their own food, which they will sell if there is excess.

David and I got to teach a class each with a translator. David taught a class some music basics, and I taught a class on telling the time. Teaching the class was difficult as the rooms were built out of wood, with a metal roof, making sound echo around the room, and noise from the other classrooms made it difficult to hear. Part way through my class, a rabbit snuck through the wooden wall to listen.

There are three teachers at the school, which is not enough for the number of children who attend, meaning that kids have to wait for the teacher to finish their class before attending to them. The teachers work very hard with all the children and do a fantastic job in really tough conditions.

Buwooya Mission School is one of the projects supported by the 2018 CameraPro Explorer's Grant.

David and I have also been working to create a documentary about the work of the school, and take portraits of the students who attend. Under the harsh sun, I have experimented with shooting portraits with a Godox AD200 and a Sony a99ii with a 50mm f1.4 lens.

We have one more week in Uganda before flying to Ethiopia.

Thanks for following the adventure!

Subscribe for updates on future exhibitions, screenings & speaking events