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Sustainable Fruit Tree
returned to Uganda in May 2013. He is working on a project to
plant fruit trees at the ACE schools.
is seen at the Ludgvan Village Open Day on 5th May. He was giving
out information about his project and collecting money towards
to Uganda a few days later.
visits to the schools to view the sites and discuss his ideas
with the headteachers.
then organised a training morning for headteachers and some
other teachers, involving speakers from other organisations.
This was his agenda -
outline of tree planting and the importance of the process -
Dennis (The Wildlife Clubs of Uganda)
for trees organically - Regina (The Gorilla Organisation)
role of the project within the community - Charles (Community
Welfare Officer- UWA)
links between the tree project and education - William &
D.E.O (District Education Office)
the project? - Luke Pye (ACE)
sent us these pictures.
was a huge success with 17 out of 18 teachers attending (Nyarusunzu
only managed to send the headteacher).
of the day was spent inside with all the speakers giving very
informative and well presented pieces about their given topic.
all the speakers had presented the teachers and headteachers were
taken for a short tour of a tree nursery where Regina, the sustainable
agricultural specialist, answered questions about planting methods,
tree specie identification and grafting. All the teachers were
very involved asking lots of questions to all the specialists.
identified the key challenge of community sensitisation which
will be addressed over the coming weeks by sending ACE partners,
the Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA) and the Wildlife Clubs of
Uganda (WCU), to schools management committee meetings and other
community meetings in the areas surrounding the ACE schools. Next
week I will be travelling to all ACE schools with Denis Agaba
(WCU) to carry out assemblies for the children to raise awareness
of conservation issues and the importance of caring for the trees
that will be planted. I will also be formulating a programme with
Regina to carry out organic tree care management training in ACE
More information will be placed here as the project progresses -
Luke Pye is
currently making his second visit to the ACE schools in Uganda.
He is the son of Janet Pye, the ACE trustee who oversees the Student
George, visited the schools with the party from Mounts Bay School
in October 2006 and Luke was a member
of the group which visited in February 2010. Whilst he was there
Luke carried out repairs on the play and sports equipment which
was built by Eden Quayle about three years
He flew out
to Entebbe on 15th February 2011 and will be there for three months.
Whilst he is there he will be sending regular blogs which will
be posted here.
Busy Three Weeks" 22nd April
I have not written a blog for some time due to the amount of work
I been doing. So let me bring you up to date. I will talk about
my work in Nyarusiza sub-county in this extract. Nyarusiza is the
sub-county that contains four ACE schools - Nyakabaya, Gitenderi,
Rukongi, and Rurembwe.
sun rising over the hills surrounding Kisoro signifies the dawn
of a new day in the district and is a beautiful sight to see. Monday
is market day and by late morning the town is flooded with people,
colour and a real assortment of goods being sold. But on the Monday
before visiting Gitenderi there was no time to admire the sights
as I was to head to the school to start what would turn out to be
a very productive week.
Gitenderi is the largest
of all the ACE schools and is in fact one of the largest primary
schools in the district. It is a fantastic school with so much going
on. As I rode along the stone-filled road to the turning to the
school I was excited about getting to work in this school, as I
feel it has made a lot of progress from what I saw a year ago. The
motorbike bounced across the bumpy sports field towards the now
VERY familiar and friendly shouts of "Mzungu" - my arrival was expected
and the children were evidently excited.
I got off the motorcycle and looked up I saw that the door frame
of the staff room was filled by the big figure of Augustine, the
headteacher. He is a very big man and has an equally big smile.
This smile was beaming as I greeted him. After a quick look around
the school it became evident what I would be doing and what the
staff wanted from me.
of the classrooms had desks in need of repair and they were also
in need of a lick of paint. I needed some skilled help to repair
both the desks and the playground equipment, which was also in need
of urgent repair. I had been searching for Dismas the carpenter
(recommended and used by Eden Quayle) for two weeks, and I finally
managed to track him down as his home is located next to the school.
next day I arrived to find Dismas already working! The man definitely
knows how to work hard and also he knows how to keep "Mzungu Time"
not African time, or lateness as its more commonly known in the UK.
The new swings flew up in just over a day and Dismas continued to
repair all broken desks.
my painting tutorial with the P6 children was in full swing. As simple
as painting is, the children first needed to learn the very basics
as this was their first time to paint. The saying 'many hands make
light work' is somewhat applicable to the work rate with many children
but not relevant to the level of supervision needed. With my team
of now expert painters we managed to paint 2 classrooms in the space
of an afternoon.
I then spent
a further day making sure that, if I left paint there, I would be
able to return to the school to find it used correctly. In the process
the children and I painted another classroom. With this work done
there was only one day of the week left. The final day at Gitenderi
was possibly the most enjoyable as I was teaching. My lessons were
all taught in English and aimed to improve the children's pronunciation.
is located just south of Gitenderi. It is a smaller school than
Gitenderi both physically and enrolment wise. Victoria, the headteacher,
was so happy to welcome an ACE worker to her school.
Work began straight away by organising the delivery of needed materials.
Later in the week I was joined by my right hand man of repairs,
Dismas. Swings were replaced, sports pitches constructed and marked
and desks repaired. My work again involved paint and teaching.
identified 2 classrooms that needed repainting the most. Next I
trained the children and one teacher how to paint and work began.
Rukongi was transformed during the week, with the newly renovated
classroom block being close to completion, new sports facilities
installed and classrooms redecorated. This week was also the week
for preparing for sub-county athletics. Along with other teachers
I supervised and watched the preparations for both track and field
children were inquisitive about what was happening in their
had again set aside the final day for teaching and focused on teaching
the older pupils. P7 were very eager to learn more English and were
very attentive learners. When I visited P1 I saw that children were
struggling to form the letters of the alphabet properly. So I took
time to explain how I learnt how to form letters when I was younger.
returned to the school a week later to find another classroom painted
with the paint I left, which made me a happy man. I also attended
a PTA meeting where parents were invited to discuss matters regarding
their children's schooling. There was an attendance of over 90 parents.
Although this is relatively low in comparison to enrolment, it was
positive to see parental involvement in school activities.
Primary School is set in stunning landscape at the foot
of Mount Muhabura and neighbouring Mgahinga National Park. It is
one of two ACE schools that was found to be unsuitable for honey
production. But when I arrived at the school the headmaster was
very keen to show me a site they had found that may be suitable
for an apiary.
next morning I woke early and arrived at school before the children
did, so I could begin the trek to the site. The site is located
just inside the National Park boundary and is a hard 30 minute drag
all up hill. The site seemed good to me, from my little knowledge
about bees. It contained water, plenty of pollinating plants, and
itwas secure. I wrote a letter to the Ugandan Wildlife Authority,
requesting permission for the school to have access to the site.
The request is still pending.
80 desks were in need of repair, which is about 2 days work
for Dismas. He then continued to build new swings and mark
the playground. Together we repaired the walls of the P7 classroom
and then re-painted it with the assistance of a group of P6
picture shows Dismas painting with the children.
is a good school and trying hard to achieve well.
have tried to summarise a lot of work in this blog I hope I have
done an OK job. I am already working on another blog to outline
the previous two weeks work in Bukazi and Mukibugu. The school term
ended this week but my work will continue as I am not yet completely
finished with what I intended to do. The sun has now set over a
fairly mild Kisoro so "good night."
from Kisoro" 19th March
(Good day in the local dialect of Rufumbria)
It has been
a while since my last blog and a lot has happened. I have been busy
working in the schools over the last two weeks.
I decided to revisit all the school except Nyarusunzu, due to distance,
to assess what I can provide for the schools. It was great to be
in the schools with both the children and the teachers. I have now
fully mastered the "art" of riding a motorcycle on the roads of
Kisoro district. Locals now say that I am "Senior at riding." When
visiting all the schools I looked closely at attendance, especially
on market days, and also l looked at the progress of the honey
project which is small due to the season.
are few places in the world where the people decide when it's a
public holiday. Uganda seems to be one. I say this because on Monday
7th there was yet another election in Kisoro and the whole of Uganda.
Instead of going to work or school, people took it upon themselves
to take all day to vote! There was one person I found in office
and that was William (the school inspector) who insisted
on working even though it appeared the idea of a public holiday
had tempted many officials to leave the office if they had turned
The next day
was a public holiday too, as Uganda is one of 25 countries worldwide
to celebrate International Women's Day. I attended the celebrations
It was great
to see so many women striving to achieve gender equality in a country
that has at times a visible imbalance between the sexes. After short
speeches, by Ugandan standards anyway, there followed what seemed
to be endless dancing and singing.
It was very
clear that women were happy to be recognised and celebrated.
is what I found when I arrived at the school. The swings were in
desperate need of repair.
I spent a further
two days of the week at Nyakabaya
School. I used this time to construct new playground equipment
as the school's current equipment was either in need of repair or
The sight of
a mzungu (white man) using a panga (machete) is clearly
not a regular one for children or locals of this school! Many of
the children laughed, as did the local carpenter who was assisting
me. I have to admit I haven't fully mastered the technique yet but
I will learn "slowly slowly."
enjoying the newly renovated volleyball court.
You could hear
the children in the classrooms becoming more and more excited as
the swings, netball pitch and volleyball court took shape. The equipment
was finished just in time for games time.
thrilled to see it repaired and I was so happy just to see the children
being able to play on the equipment. There was a real buzz within
the school and there were a lot of smiles!
The sound of
rain hammering on tin roofs has become more common in the last week
as the wet season has begun. The roads leave a lot to be desired
when dry, but, when wet, they are terrible, with pot holes turning
to deep puddles.
are deceptively warm and sunny, but, come the afternoon, the rain
has usually started. I was caught out when travelling to Gitenderi,
where I was based this week. As the rain poured, I made a dash back
to the town with only a waterproof coat I had borrowed, as I had
forgotten to take mine. 'Soaked' is too mild a term to describe
my clothes - I think 'perforated' comes closer!
When I reached
the town William asked me "How many litres of water are you carrying?"
- this was the extent of soaking I had received. People were surprised
that I was still in good spirits and I explained it was like being
at home in Cornwall, apart from the warmer temperatures of Kisoro.
School is a great school and both teachers and pupils are extremely
friendly and hard working. There was a good amount of work to do
at the school, but I will explain what I have done there in next
week's installment as I fear this maybe getting long.
I will be spending
next week in Rukongi and I am
looking forward to pushing on with more work. I will also be updating
the blog more regularly now, as I have settled in fully and the
power supply is becoming more consistent. Over the last week the
power has constantly been on and off, with the longest blackout
being a whole day! This is due to extensive work on the power lines.
Thanks for all
the support from the UK and also for reading this.
Luke Pye 19/03/2011
back to Uganda" 27th February
It was almost
exactly a year ago when I left Kisoro last and as I left I said
to many people "don't worry I'll be back." At the time I'm not
sure I fully meant it but you should never promise an Ugandan
something you can't deliver! But it turns out I did mean as I
am back. I returned as the country is such a colourful and exciting
place to work but also as I feel I can make a difference, even
if it is small, to these friendly people's quality of life.
I have now
been in Uganda for almost two weeks. I arrived on Tuesday 15th
at 22:10 as expected, the flight was fine and I actually arrived
shortly before the scheduled time of arrival. As I stepped off
the plane dressed in jeans, as the weather in the UK wouldn't
allow shorts, the heat and humidity took only seconds to hit me.
Even at night Entebbe is hot and extremely humid with almost 100%
air humidity not being uncommon. As I collected my bags and headed
for the exit there was no sign of David (ACE's number one Ugandan).
Then as I looked around hiding behind a row of taxi drivers and
hotel workers waiting to collect muzungu's (white people) I caught
a glimpse of the familiar face of Mr Epidu who was hiding to apparently
test to see if I could remember his face!
The next week
was spent in Entebbe and Soroti due to the disruption caused by
elections and also David had to return to his home district to
be able to vote. It was amazing to see a different part of the
country which looks more like Africa as you imagine it, unlike
So fast forward
a week and I arrived in Kisoro early on Tuesday morning after
catching the overnight bus from Kampala to Kisoro and as you can
probably imagine bus travel in Uganda is a bit of an experience!
After being to delayed on the final stretch of mountain road due
a stuck vehicle on part of the road which is unfinished we arrived
safely in a misty Kisoro. It wasn't long before familiar faces
began to appear. Firstly the inspector of schools William Balibutsa,
who has recently returned from the U.K where we was looking at
schools and compiling a workshop to "take" home for the teachers
of the ACE schools. He was his usual happy and talkative self
and didn't hesitate to ask how everyone was in the U.K and tell
me how well his and Augustine's workshop had gone which was great
to hear. Later Mandela, the education office driver and general
"good man" came to visit. It was a strange feeling seeing all
these people as it felt like I had come home after just week as
they are so welcoming!
had been spent relaxing in the last week and I was ready to get
out to the schools. So it was time to get on with some work. David
and I spent 2 days going to each school, apart from Nyrasunzu,
to review the condition of the infrastructure and to talk to the
headteachers about what they feel is a priority for their school.
It was a fantastic feeling to be back in schools with the headteachers
and the children! As I drove the motorcycle with David as the
passenger into the first school, Gitenderi, the cries of "Muzungu,
muzungu" could be heard from the entrance of the school which
is some distance from the classrooms where the children were!
The new classroom block is looking sterling especially if you
consider what was there before when I last visited.
schools are ever improving and I hope by the time I leave there
will be a noticeable difference in both the condition but also
the quality of the teaching as ACE works in conjunction with the
education office to improve the quality of teaching.
I have keep
this first blog short as it was only meant as a bit of an introduction
and a bit of background to why I am here and where I am. I will
write a more in depth update on the schools when I have spent
more time at them.
FROM ALL IN KISORO!
Luke Pye 27/02/2011
took many items with him to Uganda.
took a replacement laptop computer for David Epidu and letters and
some gifts from sponsors for their students.
has been given a budget by the trustees and authorised to buy replacement
items for each school. Here he is presenting new footballs and netballs
to the deputy head of Nyakabaya School.