Early on Mon we set off for St Clare’s Girls Secondary School which is in Budaka, near Mbala, north-east of Kampala. It is a girls secondary school catering for 300 girls approx from Senior 1 to Senior 5, primarily boarders with about a dozen day students. There we stayed on the school compound with James and Julie Bailey, an English couple who are on a two year volunteer contract. James is school administrator and Julie volunteers in the local clinic.
We were very impressed with the I.T. room set up by James and Julie. They have 30 computers from Camara and about 8 Microsoft. The IT department is one of James’s many projects of improvement and development for the students and the school. James aimed at setting up a good facility and he certainly achieved that.
Having checked the computers the previous evening we set to work on Tuesday at 8.30 with a busy and ambitious programme to train the students and teachers. The girls had some computer skills which for the younger ones was mainly with the games. The teachers (8) were beginners and picked up word processing quickly. The girls were very quick and eager to learn.
Having had 44 in one class it was decided to divide the classes which gave the girls a computer each and was also much better for us. In four days we trained girls from Senior 1 to Senior 4, about 240 girls, in word processing. Senior1 and 2 got an introduction to impress/presentations which really grabbed their interest. On Sat prior to leaving we did a final check on the computers to ensure that everything was in place. On seeing the room open it was not long before the girls were in. Looking at what they were doing on the computers we were delighted to see that the majority had impress/presentations open. We looked at each other and knew that we had succeeded in our work. Only one girl was playing a game.
The welcome and hospitality shown us by James and Julie was second to none. They made their home ours for the week. It was wonderful to see their selfless dedication to the school and the girls.
All three of us enjoyed the training in St Clare’s. We especially enjoyed the interaction with the girls who were eager to talk. On day one when we had a power cut (while waiting for the generator to be set up) Maureen took the Senior 2 girls out under the mango tree for a chat and exchange of culture. This secured her popularity and for the remainder of the week and if she was not with us we were asked “please Madame, where is Madame Maureen?” Before leaving many of the girls came to say farewell and gave us photos of themselves to remember them.
Our first training stint in Uganda was most certainly a positive one.
We wish James and Julie all the best for the remainder of their time in St Clare’s.