In addition to computer club and classroom time, Osborn and I are working on several projects to help the school. We have already almost finished building a garden, from slashing the grass to building a fence to tilling the soil. On the second day the kids all brought their slashers to school with them (it’s like a bent sword that is only sharp on the end, or a golf club with a dagger where the club should be) and totally out-slashed me at slashing. The grass was thigh-high and tough. Osborn filmed my inexpertise among children watching and giggling. I had blisters. Then, with assistance from local carpenters, Osborn raised a fence of wooden posts, barbed wire, and chicken wire. The students in the environmental club cut into the grass with hoes, churning the ground and using rakes to remove roots. Right now Osborn is out buying seeds.
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We also cleared an area where we can build a volleyball court: the grass is slashed, the court measured, and the poles for the net installed. Tomorrow we will begin installing gutters along several of the classrooms, so that they can collect rainwater in a large barrel to supplement what is used for the new garden. And over the weekend we plan to fortify a dividing wall between two of the classrooms for the purpose of soundproofing; currently it is bamboo-halves and a sheet of plastic.
Between spending time with the kids, working with the teachers, and these fix-it projects, I am exhausted at the end of each day. A boda boda, which is like a motorcycle taxi, brings us back to the New Eden Guest House (and bar) in Bweyale for only 3,000 Ugandan shillings. That’s less than $1 US. Sometimes I take a shower (which means I stand beneath individual droplets of cold water in a corner of my bathroom), and then Osborn and I eat dinner with our hostesses. We have things like rice and cabbage, or ugali and beans, or potatoes and goat meat, or rice and eggplant. It’s always delicious. Then I climb into my bed which is shrouded in superfluous mosquito netting (I don’t think I’ve gotten a single mosquito bite during my time here, despite my untouched bug spray) and read for a bit. I’m usually asleep before 10.