Sunday, March 13, 2011

Four Weeks In!

Hi Everybody!
On Friday we realized that we'd been in Uganda for 4 weeks! In someways the time has really flown by, and in others it feels like we'vealready been here for much longer!

I thought I'd tell you a little about what training is like for us,then give you some specifics about what we've been doing! Thankseveryone who emailed and checked in. We absolutely love hearing fromyou and miss knowing what is going on in your lives! We still don'thave internet so we're using our minutes at an internet cafe, sohopefully soon we will be able to write more personal replies toeveryone.

So, our day usually starts around 7am, when we get up. We arefortunate that our homestay is closer to the training center so wedon't have to plan for such a long walk in the morning. Annet usuallymakes us eggs every morning, and we have tea and bread from the bakerydown the street. Delicious! Then, we walk to training and arrivearound 8. The last few weeks we have had 2 hours of language in themorning (I think RYan mentioned that we are learning a language called Runyankore/Rukiga, spoken 4 regions in Southwestern Uganda). Languageis going pretty well so far! We also usually take "break tea," atradition I have full intention of keeping when we get back to thestates! :-) After that we usually spend some time at SBT(School-Based-Training). Since we are in the primary educationsector, our 3 weeks of SBT are split between a primary school, aCoordinating Center, and a Primary Teacher's College. This way we getto see multiple aspects of the primary education system here inUganda.

Last week we spent our time at a Primary school here in Lweza. Wewere in a group with 2 other trainees, and we each taught 3 classesbefore the week was through. I think we all really enjoyed theopporunity to work with Ugandan teachers and students and experiencelife in the primary school! I taught English, and Ryan taught scienceand math. Our classes were P4, P5, and P6. This meant they aresimilar to the US grades 4, 5, and 6, but are not as strictly dividedby age. Students are not promoted unless they pass the promotionalexams at the end of the year, and if they started school late theystill must begin at the beginning. So, the ages really varied in theclass. Each of our classes had between 55-70 students in them. It was a great experience.

Then this week we spent time in a "Coordinating Center." Here we leada workshop on literacy for in service primary teachers. Thecoordinating center acts as a resource and intermediary betweenprimary schools and the national ministry of education. Onecoordinating center may serve more than 100 primary schools, so theirjob is big! It was good to be there are learn about what they do, assome of our group will be stationed there.

In the coming week, we will observe and teach at a Primary Teacher'scollege (the name is self explanatory!). I don't know very much aboutthem yet, but we will be learning soon. We think that Ryan and I willultimately be placed at a PTC, so we are looking forward to learningabout what happens there.

After this week of training, we get to have some exciting experiences. Next weekend we get to tour Kampala. It has been off limits due tosecurity reasons, so we are excited to get to visit it soon. Also,Sunday we leave for a week of language immersion in a village thatspeaks the language we are learning. We will travel with our languagegroup and teacher to practice speaking Runyankore. I'm excited.

In a couple of weeks we will also learn about the specifics of oursite, and do a future site visit. We are of course very excited toknow where we will be calling home for the next 2 years.

So, training is ticking along and I think before we know it we will beswearing in as volunteers and moving out on our own. It's hard tothink of not seeing our training group regularly (we've gotten reallyclose!) but we are all excited!

We're doing really good! We've gotten better at doing our laundry byhand, and are working on improving our aim into pit latrines! :-)We're learning every day and really enjoying the experience!

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers and keeping in touch. We will write again soon!

Much love,

PS - Osiibe gye! (Spend the day well!)

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