Volunteer story: Geoff

Lukomera, November 2011

Geoff

My visit to Uganda with ServeDirect in 2010 had been a wonderful event for me in every way. Encountering the real Africa up close was something else. The whole country was exciting, the children & schools hugely memorable, and Murchison Falls National Park not quite believable. My testimonial on the website ends with "there is no question that I must go back", and I did! Late on 19 November 2011 I was back in the unlit vehicle park at Entebbe Airport....

My classes ranged from about 100 down to 30 students. They were all essentially polite and quiet, and on several occasions you could actually have heard a pin drop. Keeping 100 kids on task when you are on your own takes a bit of doing (especially when you are making it up as you go along) and there are inevitably other things going on around the room....

Although it was a bit scrappy, probably my best lesson was with S5, aka the lower 6th. I had taken out several UK broadsheet newspapers and some internet articles, to fit the subject of "What's going on in the world". Together with a few Ugandan newspapers I introduced the lesson as an opportunity to consider different views on the same subject, possible bias and censorship, and generally to examine subjects to which they get very little exposure. What actually happened was that they just devoured all the newspapers in complete silence. The serious UK papers went down well, but then so did the Ugandan ones. One boy spent the whole lesson reading the Guardian sports section from cover to cover - the main thing was that a group of clever young people got access to new ideas.