25 hours of air travel. 6-hour bus rides. 11 enthusiasts. 7 countries.
That is what it takes to get the wheels of The Walking School Bus rolling.
The manager of the guest house, Rachel, welcomed us at 2:30 AM, after a six-hour bus ride on a windy, pot-hole filled, dirt road, with a big smile and a warm hug. We settled in quickly, and went to bed, ready to rejuvenate ourselves for the coming morning.
Our international bunch from India, France, South Africa, Rwanda, China and Canada, woke up to the sounds of mother nature: the rooster alarm clock. As the sun rose in the Pearl of Africa, we took in the beauty that had been ignored in the darkness the night before. Luscious trees, flamboyant flowers and towering mountains.
Rachel made us all a delicious, yet familiar breakfast of omelettes cooked in traditional Ugandan fashion: on coal-burning stoves.
Our international group arrived with the understanding that we all come from different origins. With different origins, come different energies, different ideas, and different talents. Different, but complimentary.
Cultivating a thought process becomes easier when you are in the company of curiosity. Luckily for us we were surrounded by kind locals to answer all our questions.
We walked through Nabagoye village along the narrow, dirt road as we explored the lush countryside. All of the beautiful, sparkling, eyes that we passed along our journey from the guest house to the schools Hadassa Primary School were incredibly welcoming. The villagers excitement was palpable. Whether village dwellers, students, or educators, the myriad of faces we encountered, were all enthusiastic about our work and excited to participate.
This walk led us to Semei Kakungulu High School which got its name from Semei Kakugulu, the founder of Judaism in Uganda. As the TWSB team sat down in headmaster Seth’s office, we discussed the unique interfaith students who have put faith based differences aside in pursuit of higher, collaborative education. We spoke about the next two weeks upcoming projects in line with access, nutrition and education and spent time mingling with the students.
We continued on our Journey to Hadassa Primary school where we were greeted by a large, excited group of elementary schoolers who led us hand in hand through the schools court yard. We were escorted into the library where we met up with headmaster Aaron Kintu Moses who helped us plan the Global Reading Program’s implementation.
After a wonderful Ugandan lunch with some of the largest, juiciest Avocado’s we’ve ever seen, our adventure continued to Mbale Town. As we left the calmness of the village, we found ourselves in telecom chaos.
After resolving our lack of data and first world problems, we threw some frisbee, wrote in our journals, snapped pictures of the stunning views, had meetings with local leaders and watched the sunset.
Following an early dinner and team meeting, the group was all incredibly excited about the upcoming days. Specifically, implementing all of the hard work that has gone into preparing for this trip and bringing our projects to fruition.
The Walking School Bus Team