Parties, cows and a new intern...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009- It’s been a busy few weeks at St Denis over the last few weeks as I prepare to leave and handover to new intern Christina.

Students returned to school a few weeks ago after a month holiday, and they are now studying hard in preparation for their final exams at the end of the month.
Some good progress on the projects has been made over the last couple of months with various activities taking place.
Just before the holidays though was Senior 4s leaving party, which is THE event of the school year! They in fact don’t leave until October, but this is the last chance they get to let their hair down before they get their heads down revising for their O-Level exams.

The students were up early preparing the food and getting the library ready to host the main event later on. All Senior 4 girls had been hidden away for most of the afternoon as they got themselves ready in traditional Ugandan dress called Gomas.

It was a quick change for the boys after supervising the arrival of the sound system. Parents, teachers and younger students gathered in front of the school to await the arrival of the S4 girls. A mass was then held by Father Kasoma, who is very popular among the students, with all his stories from the far off places he has travelled. Following mass came the obligatory speeches, another perfect opportunity to speak about the TAMTF projects. Food was served and the party really kicked off when the volume button on the sound system was cranked up to the max for the students and teachers to dance and sing the night away! The party was a great success and continued well into the wee hours.. I have to say it was nothing like any school disco I’ve ever been to!

So, back to the projects….

One of the cows in the dairy had a calf over the holidays. So milk production is back in flow with whatever is left over after feeding being sold to the local primary school. A few weeks before the birth a meeting with the Agriculture club was called when the agriculture teacher talked all about the cycle of the milk production and how to get the best production possible. So putting this knowledge into practice will be important as the students prepare to take a more hands on approach to the dairy project and start learning how to milk the cows for themselves.
Excel training for some of the teachers and the school secretary has been going well in preparation for the record keeping and accounts of the new businesses. The wonders of excel have captured these staff and they are eager to continue their training!

More work has been taking place with the development of activities for teaching entrepreneurship to the students. We have been developing activities with as much focus on the projects as possible so students have a real life example with which to carry out the activities and be able to see the true purpose of learning about entrepreneurship.

Into Your Hands opened a new office here in Makondo in August with two new staff, James and Justine. They will be managing the IYH projects like Send a Piglet Home (SAPH) and will also be involved in the TAMTF projects. In fact James has been an invaluable source of knowledge when it came to preparing the budgets for the school piggery and dairy. There is not much he doesn’t know about rearing pigs and cows, and his advice and experience will prove to be vital when these projects get going.

The SAPH project is going well with some of the students pigs having given birth to new piglets. The team are now ready to select the new beneficiaries of the project who will each receive a piglet. Training is being organised for the students and their families to learn the important points of rearing piglets then it will be over to them. The team has been working hard to get feedback from the beneficiaries who all said this project has been a great help to them and their families.

Christina arrived last week to take over from me and is settling in to St Denis life. She has lots of exciting things planned for staff and students over the next few months as they prepare to take on the projects.

It’s been a great 6 months for me here and I have got to work with and get to know some wonderful people. Staff and students are really enthusiastic about the TAMTF projects and are working hard to make sure they will be a great success.

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