Luke Pye
 

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2013

Sustainable Fruit Tree Project

 

Luke Pye returned to Uganda in May 2013. He is working on a project to plant fruit trees at the ACE schools.

Here he is seen at the Ludgvan Village Open Day on 5th May. He was giving out information about his project and collecting money towards it.

He flew to Uganda a few days later.


He made visits to the schools to view the sites and discuss his ideas with the headteachers.

He then organised a training morning for headteachers and some other teachers, involving speakers from other organisations. This was his agenda -

9:00: Brief outline of tree planting and the importance of the process - Dennis (The Wildlife Clubs of Uganda)

10:00: Caring for trees organically - Regina (The Gorilla Organisation)

11:00: The role of the project within the community - Charles (Community Welfare Officer- UWA)

12:00: The links between the tree project and education - William & D.E.O (District Education Office)

12:45: Why the project? - Luke Pye (ACE)

1:30: Summary and Debrief

2:00: Lunch & Finish

He subsequently sent us these pictures.

 

He wrote -

The training was a huge success with 17 out of 18 teachers attending (Nyarusunzu only managed to send the headteacher).

The majority of the day was spent inside with all the speakers giving very informative and well presented pieces about their given topic.

 
After 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.  

They also 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 schools.

 

- More information will be placed here as the project progresses -

 


2011

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 Sponsorship Scheme.

His brother, 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 ago.

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.

 

Luke Pye

BLOG 3

"A Busy Three Weeks" 22nd April

So, 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.

The 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.

As 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.

Many 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.

The 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.  
Swings repaired
Meanwhile 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.  
Classroom painting

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.

Rukongi 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.

I 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 events.

Inquisitive children  
Many children were inquisitive about what was happening in their classrooms.

I 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.

I 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.

Rurembwe 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.

The 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.

About 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 pupils.

This picture shows Dismas painting with the children.

 
Dismas painting

Rurembwe is a good school and trying hard to achieve well.

I 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."

Luke Pye 22/04/2011




BLOG 2

"Update from Kisoro" 19th March

Vitte! (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.

Firstly 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.

There 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 up.


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 with William.

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.

 
Women's Day

On arrival

This 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 non-existent.

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."

On completion

Children 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.

Everybody was 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.

The mornings 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.

Gitenderi Primary 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




BLOG 1

"Welcome 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 Kisoro.

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!

Enough time 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.

The other 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.

GREETINGS FROM ALL IN KISORO!

Luke Pye 27/02/2011

Presentation of balls  

Luke took many items with him to Uganda.

He took a replacement laptop computer for David Epidu and letters and some gifts from sponsors for their students.

He 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.

 

 

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