By Erin McDonough
Jinja, Uganda–After a short bus ride this morning to the Holy Cross Primary School in Jinja, we were all shocked to see what the school had arranged for us. About 800 primary students lined either side of the driveway, singing and dancing to welcome our group. They requested that we walk in twos up to the school. Leading us was a small group of boys who were doing choreography to the music. I was, as I’m sure we all were, incredibly honored and impressed with the school. There were a few moments when my emotions had moved me to tears and I had to turn away from the students and teachers to compose myself.
Once we had gotten up to the school, we divided up and went into the various classrooms. I was so incredibly thrilled that I was able to go to a Primary 1 class (first grade equivalent). I felt right at home, although it did make me miss my little firsties! The Primary 1 students also welcomed us with a song. After we sat down, the students sang a song with motions that seemed to be a daily routine. It looked so fun, I wanted to join in! We are going back to Holy Cross Primary on Wednesday, so I am definitely going to ask the teacher to write down the song for me. The students were learning about some healthy foods, and the teacher was instructing using the actual fruit. I thought it was a great idea to have a visual aid! Shortly after, the students had “break time” so we met with the teachers to discuss their school and some of their needs.
Leaving the school brought many emotions. I was so pleased that the students and teachers had welcomed us in with open arms, although I learned many of the challenges that they face everyday. The classroom I was in had approximately 80 students, yet they were so well behaved and compliant. They have very little materials, including paper, pencils, pencil sharpeners, books, etc., yet there was not one complaint. The students used what they had in order to successfully complete their work. I can’t even express how inspired I am by this school, and I am so excited that we can help bring materials to them in the near future.