Friends of St. Michael’s Girls Primary School Busembatia Uganda

2013 Easter trip to St Michael's

The Easter 2013 trip to the school was enjoyed by all 5 travellers of whom only Vicki Beach had been before. Her fellow trustee Matthew Devlin accompanied her along with his wife Rosemary, Marian Marlow and Mary Morrison. As always it was an eye opening experience for the new visitors, both humbling and joyful.

It was particularly good to see what had happened since the last visit 12 months ago. The fence surrounding the school is of high quality and is almost complete. There are now drinking stations and hand washing stations around the school which serve 2 purposes namely to ensure the girls can keep themselves hydrated and also can wash their hands when needed but particularly before meals. The rubbish situation is benefitting also from a more managed approach now - which was very necessary.

In the last year Jude (the nurse) has managed the sick bay Lizzie’s Place and the medical issues with much skill and dedication. He has not administered any antibiotics without prescription in the last year! This is so good because throughout Africa there has been an over reliance on antibiotics for all sorts of minor ailments (and this was very prevalent at the school too) which has caused their beneficial effects to be diminished and other health issues to arise.

The malaria testing kits have proved absolutely priceless in detection and are a significant weapon in the fight against this terrible disease. When detected Jude uses the 3 day treatment course the charity funds. Both have had a major impact. It is good to report that another nurse has been found who is likely to join Jude in the sick bay to give him support and also free time!

There were trips to Jinja, Matthew visited the local community and of course the joy and excitement of Holy Week celebrated at the local church with Father Vincent hosting a party for parishioners to which we were all invited, a great time was had by all, clergy and lay alike. Sister Teo, what a remarkable woman, is having an orphanage built and we visited twice to see progress. She is very concerned at the fate of the many many orphans who have no family and who have been abandoned. We visited Bishops Willigers, the next door secondary school and met Kennedy, the Head.

Another of the highlights was Sports Day, complete with marching back from Busembatia and then the fun and competitions of the day. The school was at its best as always. Mary brought her teaching and dyslexia  expertise with her, it was good to have a professionals view about what can/should be done. Improving the classroom experience and improving literacy were 2 of the most important.

The garden is now being cultivated by one of the teachers and there has been much planting and it is in a better shape, with tomatoes, aubergines, cabbages, mangoes, bananas to the fore. Importantly we are organising for Sister Teo, a teacher and a member of the local community to go on a 3 week organic cultivation course at Kasenge with the specific aim of training them to enable better use of the school garden and land with the object of self sufficiency. The land has been underused and this is an opportunity for training and teaching so skills will be brought back to the school. The benefits can be immense. The animals we are pleased to say are thriving, the pigs had a litter born when we were there and 2 more litters due. The goats continue to thrive and reproduce and the cows are happy and produce their milk.

The school feeding programme continues to provide important nourishment; the school minibus now has a garage and Sister Josephine is settling in to her role as Headteacher, with assistance from Sister Teo who is now co-ordinator. It was reassuring to meet the school management committee and also the Governors of Bishops Willigers (development committee) to learn of their needs and to encourage.

As always our time sped by, we departed with some sadness but inspired by everyone we came into contact with and with our thoughts and ideas for the coming 12 months and beyond.

If you would like to be part of a future visit to the school then please contact us. There will be another trustee going out in July this year 2013.