I finally got to visit and speak at Zesu Primary School which is a government run school in Mbale. This is the same school that I spoke at last year so it was good to go back. The school is busting at the seams and needs more classrooms and more teachers. This year, 2014, they have 1,154 students of which about 605 are girls. They are taught by just 20 teachers! With an average of 57-58 students to a class, that’s a lot of kids to try to teach!
As with all African schools, they are under funded, which is a gross understatement. If they have books, they don’t have covers and they are very old and worn. The classrooms have no lights, so on cloudy days the rooms can be pretty gloomy. On a bright sunny day, the classrooms get kind of hot. The roofs for the buildings are what they call iron sheets, which is what we would call a tin roof. There are no ceilings in the rooms so as the metal heats up the rooms heat up. Just try to imagine sitting in a room with 50 to 60 kids, that may or may not have had a good bath for several days, packed wall to wall with temperatures in the 90s and even up into the 100rds. That’s what going to school is like here in Mbale.
These kids are being taught by teachers that are only making 300,000sh, which sounds like a lot but that’s just $120.00 US dollars. That’s not a typo. Just $120.00 US dollars!!!! Now I know (after all I’m living here) that it’s cheaper to live in Africa but it’s not that cheap. The teachers may or may not have electricity in there homes and they may only eat one meal a day. I’ll be honest with you, I have no idea how they do it but somehow they do. So if you are ever looking for a hero, just check out some of the teachers here.
Well anyway, I got to talk to the kids and try to encourage them to study hard and to learn all that they can. I’m not sure if they got anything out of it but I was blessed to be with these young people. They are the hope for Uganda.