The days are cooler now. The stifling heat and dust that filled the air before the rains came have passed. Periodic, tumultuous rainfall has taken its place, lush greenery erupting and murram roads gradually disintegrating into torrential rivers and clinging muddy swamps. The Redearth Nursery and Training Centre is now officially open, and the eventful ceremony took place on the 19th of June. The day before was drizzly, windy and dull as we prepared for the 350 + expected visitors on the following day. Local people are notoriously knowledgable and apparently well informed about weather patterns, and are almost always wrong. The forecasts covered the whole spectrum, from flood to balmy sunshine. Lisa, one of our volunteers, however,made a prediction that turned out to be correct. ‘It rained today so tomorrow will be sunny,’ she asserted firmly with impenetrable logic, and so it turned out! It was a fantastic sunny day, an event full of Ugandan optimism, joy, noise and wishful ‘planning’ of the wing and prayer variety. A youthful brass band from a local diocese, most of whom were enthusiastically playing a similar tune at the same time and in a similar key, accompanied the processing marchers around a mile through the town from the local playing fields to the Centre. About 150, including Nursery school children in uniform, sundry adults and well wishers, including parents, teachers and others, marched and danced along the route behind a huge REDEARTH EDUCATION banner as the band blared its way down the road. It was decided and agreed that the day’s events would definitely begin at 8.30am sharp and end at 4pm. The programme eventually coughed into life at 10am and ended at around 3pm. Amazing. I don’t understand how it all was squeezed in. Marching, demonstration lessons, teaching and learning materials exhibition, IT suite showing 11 different videos of our work simultaneously, traditional singing and dancing, anthems, a functioning nursery school, lunch, speeches, more speeches, prayers, reading demonstration by year 1 and 2 children, ceremonial ribbon cutting by the MP and on and on! The place had the look of a medieval joust with pointed-roof white tents draped with red and blue decorative swathes of cloth in the colours of the nursery school uniform. Wonderful! The VIPs included the local parliamentary MP, Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Deputy District Education Officer, Secretary for Education in Masindi district, priests, head teachers and children. A fantastic day. Two days later – was an exceptional, landmark day too. A team of 3 of our Ugandan field officers conducted their 1st training session to 44 teachers SOLO! I went to collect them after the training was completed and the trainees were full of praise and delight at being trained by their own people. This is another important step in our plan to make our programmes sustainable by local Ugandans, preparing them to take over the organisation and deliver high quality CPD to teachers. A great day! Well done Janet, Caroline and Chris.
Written by Redearth co-founder Ronnie Katzler