Tales of the Unexpected

Elspeth Dugdale | May 9, 2022

Tales of the Unexpected
Chameleons ..... scary or not scary?

One of the unexpected bonuses (challenges?) or terrifying/hilarious aspects of being in Uganda and at WTA after a while, is to find oneself in situations that you could not plan for or could never anticipate.....




Looking back, here's a list of memorable experiences & observations from last term. Some we have shared together & others we have endured/enjoyed solo:

  • Using complex software to help design a whole new school timetable (J)
  • Marvelling at a 4 hour old baby and his mother
  • Getting forced off the road by police/Presidential convoy/ large coaches on a regular basis
  • Being forced to reverse back down a game track by a large ‘tusker’ elephant for 15 long minutes
  • Organising the hand-planting of the grass on the new 2 acre football pitch
  • Finding a surprisingly decent swimming pool just in Luwero, complete with Carluccio’s umbrellas!!
  • Enjoying regular French conversations with a new colleague from The Congo (E)
  • Teaching Maths - definitely out of the comfort zone (E)
  • Teaching A’ level General Paper lessons at 0800 on a Saturday morning (J)
  • Giving an impromptu brickmaking explanation in the library (Phil)
  • Being admitted to hospital (J) & driving ambulance-style to the hospital (E) *
  • Dancing on stage at the music celebration to the huge amusement of the whole school (J & E)
  • Rediscovering that small spider bites are still evil (E & Phil)
  • Being completely beaten at chess by a super-smart new librarian (J - edit 'but not for long!')
  • Discovering that Romeo & Juliet (Usborne version) is the most popular fiction book ever
  • Watching the effective use of technology and visual aids in class teaching
  • Discussing the cost of childcare for a new baby with a young mother (sadly, still at primary school herself)
  • Enjoying & understanding a 2 hour Physics lesson (E)
  • Learning the meaning of a new word 'burdizzo' (standard castration tool) - well known by every rural S1 student...
  • Chasing a large fruit bat out of the house late at night with a broom
  • Watching a student teacher control a class of 110 with a single clap of the hand
  • Totally failing to do the same thing (E)
  • Discovering that saying ‘Sshh’ with a raised finger makes the entire class collapse with laughter.
  • Feeling secretly pleased that a 1960s Ladybird book about Napoleon (50p charity shop bargain) is a popular addition to the A' level History textbooks
  • Teaching impromptu conservation lessons using a friendly chameleon (J)
  • Scaring a whole group of 50 primary children with the same chameleon (guess who..)
  • Being astonished (& frustrated) about the number of impromptu public holidays in Feb & March
  • Discovering that Uber works in Kampala and is cheaper than a boda for 2 people
  • Remembering in public that some English grammar is totally illogical, very irregular & often outdated - and almost impossible to explain.
  • Watching the trained secondary teacher explain the same point almost effortlessly
  • Meeting a leopard (accidentally) & a large python (deliberately) on the same day in Murchison (J - obvs)


*all's well that ends well...