Since the beginning of the new school year in February I have been meaning to visit the friends I made when working at Alpha Community Academy last term. On Wednesday I finally took a taxi-bus out to Kanombe where the school is situated. I hardly recognised where I was going. The school is on the outskirts of the city, past the airport, and when we moved last October the road from the airport was a potholed, bumpy affair. In the last five months the road has been flattened and tarmaced and proper pavements have been built. This gives the area a completely different appearance. Even the mud road down to the school has been tidied up.
Since last term the school has acquired a minibus which, I was told, is used to transport children who live outwith the immediate area, back and forth to school. A number of them were sitting inside, waiting to go home when I arrived. The new nursery classroom that was being built before I left, has been completed, brightly decorated and filled with desks and chairs for the forty children who were in baby class last year. These were the children with whom I was predominatly involved. One or two of them were waiting to be collected and I was able find out how they were getting on.Although I didn’t get a chance to see it, the new extension housing an assembly hall and primary 3 classroom has also been finished. I understand the number of children in this class has almost doubled since last term.
It was good to meet up with some of the people I worked with last year and catch up with their news. I had only had any contact with one of them over the long holiday as many of the teachers came from Uganda or further afield. Most of these people are no longer at the school and there were many new faces. However Mama Peace is still there, looking after the pre-nursery class, which is back in the building where Alpha first started and where Gavin and I were living when we arrived. It was strange to see the main room filled with toys but these small children now have a room where they can have a sleep in peace away from the happy sounds of their playmates.
I was invited to have my lunch, a plate of vegetables and plantain, with the primary two and three children who stay at school all day and discovered that children all over the world are the same. They do not like to eat their veg. Perhaps, as at home, these unpalatable items are usually disguised in the rest of their food.