There’s beauty all around Uganda with lush vegetation, flowers and trees around, and the teeming livestock and wild animals everywhere. Then you get to the slum areas, which the name itself would signify that it is not the greatest place to be yet there’s so much beauty. The beauty comes from within. Uganda is a country that has beautiful souls and is a beautiful land. The last leg of the trip visited a school called The Parent’s Academy, located in a slum in Kampala. There are 15 teachers that teach the 350 students enrolled in this school.
On our way to the school, I had a vision in my mind of what it would like. Sadly when we got there I wondered to myself if we really were there. The structure was in a deplorable condition that by US standards is not suitable for learning. The children greeted us with excitement and followed us all around throughout our entire time there. We got to tour the different classrooms and they were just in such sad conditions. Touring the classrooms brought back so many memories. I grew up in the Caribbean on a small Island called Antigua and I saw similarities in the education system as it relates to the level of studies in each class. It brought joy to my heart knowing that although resources are limited, the quality of education was still good.
We met with one of the directors who was also a teacher, and she spoke about not having many supplies, but they do their best to ensure that the students are well taken care of. Some of the students are orphans and the funds the school is able to collect goes towards feeding and clothing these children.
Something I noticed in Uganda is that education, while it should be a privilege, it is not in this country. Poverty is so prevalent in this country that most people cannot afford to send their children to school because the school fees are so high and is even higher for those who are not employed.
While at the school we got to meet some of the students; some were studying to take their O levels exam and the others came to see us, it was a holiday so not every student was present. We got the opportunity to donate clothing items and seeing the pure joy on the children’s face almost brought me to tears.
This experience made me more grateful for what I do have. We live in a world where most people don’t have anything, yet they are full of joy and are grateful for the little they do have. It’s so easy for us to forget how blessed we are and we sometimes find ourselves complaining about simple things that people right here in Uganda are not even privy to.
I’m already thinking of ways I can contribute to these students. I want to help motivate and encourage the kids at the Parent’s Academy to do their best to help them climb the ladder of success and make it out the slum. I want to help these kids so they can live a different life and provide for their families.
This experience made me appreciate how fortunate I am to have the life that I have. It’s heartbreaking to see children without so much, yet they are able to find so much joy. Being in Uganda showed me how important it is to find the joy in the little things especially being as fortunate as I am. Those children will forever hold a special place in my heart and I’m going to make it my mission to come back and to always give back. The people of Uganda are so rich in love and appreciation and I want to embrace this part of the people in my own life.