One of our ministry sites that we went to during the second half of the trip is to a boarding school for children with special needs. Most of the students are older and pretty low functioning. In the mornings they do basic academics and in the afternoon they learn trade skills. My favorite room is the sewing room. They make all sorts of things, such as bags, shirts, dresses, and skirts. It is really quite impressive. They have a small shop where they sell their crafts.
I only got to go a couple of times, because I’ve been working on creating a new website for Rafiki Africa Ministries, so I stayed home a couple of my scheduled days to be productive on the internets.
We all really liked going and spending time with the kids, but it was also sad sometimes because they didn’t have a lot of resources to use to teach the students.
One day I went, I spent most of the morning sitting and doing nothing helpful. I felt kind of let down that there wasn’t something I could do to be productive. Then suddenly I saw Allie’s face show up in my doorway, looking a bit traumatized.
Please note that her experiences were not the norm, but they are too hilarious not to share.
First the teacher asked Allie if she could trim the students’ fingernails. She was a bit nervous, because they don’t use fingernail clippers here – they use these razorblade things. But she agreed. Then the teacher asked if she’d also trim their toenails. Keep in mind that these students probably didn’t sit very still because this is not a pleasant sensory experience for them. Also keep in mind that no students wear shoes here. They spend the day walking through dirt, garbage, and peed on floors. But she took a deep breath and tackled their toenails. At this point, the teacher announced that she had lost her cell phone and she needed to go look for it. She didn’t want the students running away so she padlocked the door shut. She told Allie that perhaps she could lead the kids in some songs. This was an epic fail. Allie got out a drum and began playing it and singing songs. Nobody joined in. Nobody even cared that she was singing. There is really know way to know how many of the students could even understand her English. When multiple students began peeing all over the floor she decided to give up the singing and look for some cleaning supplies. There were none to be found. In the meantime the students are walking through the pee and tracking it all over the floor. There is an older student in the corner who is ticked about the peeing. So he begins picking up large African drums and throwing them at the other students. Allie can’t stop him because he is throwing drums at her if she goes near him. She goes to the window and waves for help. The teacher returns and she ran away.
She is a special ed teacher back in the states, but this madness was a bit much for even her to handle!
Then Ashley, a summer volunteer at the school, took us to get chapati from a stand near the school. Chapati is our favorite Ugandan food, so this was an exciting development in our day.
Little did we know that just a bit later we would be praising Jesus for chapati, because neither of us could finish our lunch. It appeared to just be posho and beans – a Ugandan staple. Then we heard it had fish in it. But not fish like you are picturing. Silver fish. So picture taking a forkful of food and then glancing down and discovering a tiny translucent minnow staring up at you with its beady little eyeball. Yeah, you’d struggle to choke that down too.
Just another day in Uganda. Always an adventure to be had.