03 February 2009

First Day of School '09

It didn’t go the way I planned… but that is okay…

Monday was the first day of school and I was excited… maybe too excited… I woke up around 5 AM and ran 4 miles before the sun came up… by 7:30 AM it was pouring ran and time to drop the boys off at school…

This is no simple task on rainy days since their school is on a steep hill and the roads all turn to mud… and as it has been known to happen about 5-10 times a year… a line of cars get stuck in the mud…

There is a protocol to follow when this happens… back up if you can to give the person in front of you room to slide… sit and wait for 10-15 minutes while they spin their wheels and the locals who can’t drive tell them how to drive… then you humbly offer to help... you don’t want to insult another driver by insinuating they don’t know what they are doing… even though usually they don’t…

To make a long story short… I ended up driving one woman’s Landcruiser 100 meters up the hill and them tried to walk back down the hill without falling on my hind quarters… then I moved the rocks from the back wheels to the front wheels for the man driving a “front wheel drive” station wagon… and finally before I could get to the Corolla who was also stuck in front of me he managed to spin himself sideways and completely block the road…

I ended up 4-wheeling in reverse 100 meters down the hill and out the other road… it must be genetic that guys who grow up in Atascadero know how to 4X4… I wonder if I am also gifted at branding cattle?

I ended up getting to work at 8:45 AM… 15 minutes late for the orientation for the new students… as I raced past the front desk I noticed the Secretary wasn’t at her desk... an hour later her husband called to report she had vomited the entire night… as I raced past the Administrators office I noticed he was also missing… 20 minutes later he showed up running.. his car broke down 2 km from the school…

In fact the entire staff was late for the first day of school… only in Africa!

The orientation started 45 minutes late… not the way I wanted to start as I always make a point to tell them to “keep time”… but I don’t think they noticed I was late…

Instead they were staring in shock at the mud on covering my pants, dress shirt, tie and jacket… I hadn’t noticed until I stood in front of all of them… but at that moment I did make a vow to stop dressing up for the first day of school…

After the adventurous start to the day… things went pretty smooth… in the first hour of the new term 50 students had reported… half the student body… this doesn’t sound that great but it is pretty common for most Ugandans to miss the entire first week of school altogether… the most we ever had before was around 35 and we pulled this stunning feat off on a rainy day…

The students were all excited about the additions to the library, computer lab and student dinning… in fact most of the students broke up in groups at lunch time and started giving themselves tours of the campus to view all the changes…

There is something exciting about a place that is in the process of improving… its something in the air…

Hope!

3 comments:

marcie said...

It is so fun to hear how quickly GBI is growing! Please post more pictures of the changes if you can! Awesome!!!

jeh said...

can't wait to be a part of things.

SmR said...

"it didn't go the way i planned...but that is okay" it's so crazy that that's true.

thanks for opening your home and fridge to us Uganda Studies Program students last Friday!

- Sarah