Meanwhile...back at school

Wilsons_2013 Posted by Rory Wilson on Mon, 16 Feb 2015 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

Last week as I drove to Kampala at 6.30am, the roads were busy with children walking to school. Many were carrying their piece of wood for the school kitchen that would make them porridge for lunch.

February is the start of the school year in Uganda – following the southern hemisphere calendar. (For those who only live in the North, remember that it is summer in the south at Christmas, so the children’s long summer holiday is thus co-incident with the main Christmas holidays. Not that Uganda actually has a summer being on the equator!, but I guess a big holiday at Christmas may be the best option if we remove the nostalgia of building sandcastles in July on Ballyholme beach. )

Education is such a big thing. A visitor from NI recently noted that in some circles these days it is an idol. In Uganda it may not have those proportions, but perhaps it should? It often defines social class; maternal education massively determines infant mortality; the rate of HIV is inversely related to educational attainment as is the likely hood of being incarcerated by the legal system.
Many of these statements are probably also true in the UK and Ireland – but in middle class suburban churches (such as I grew up in) they are not often obvious to see.

Parents and children here value education. 4 year olds can walk 5 miles to school setting off an hour before dawn. They want to. Many parents choose to send their children to boarding school despite the significant costs (on many levels) so that they can achieve a good level of education and so have more choices and opportunities in life than their parents have had. At boarding school, studies start at 4am and finish at 9pm – a level of commitment few of us managed except for cramming the night before an exam.

No great life shattering extrapolations today. Just sharing a difference between the Ireland of today and the Uganda of today (which in some ways may be similar to the Ireland of my grandparents.)

Lots of love

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