Pathfinders Diary: Settling in at Kasese Humanist Primary School
By Sarah Henry
The Pathfinders are well into their stay in Uganda, and have new adventures and experiences every day. They’ve been blogging about their experiences—you can keep up with their posts here.
Conor, the Pathfinders Project director, shares excerpts from his journal as he traveled from Cambodia to Uganda. New experiences with food and people are part of the total cultural shift that comes with relocating to Kasese. One major difference Conor is noticing in Uganda is the Religious Education system. The tests are one-sided and leave no room for a lack of faith. The Religious Education classes and test don’t allow for comparative study, although they occasionally allow for knowledge of Islam, rather than Christianity. One more thing for the Pathfinders to work with their students on!
Wendy has similar feelings of confusion in this new country. The teaching and schooling systems in Kasese, Uganda, are radically different as well. Of course, Wendy is responding with grace and aplomb, keeping in mind “That’s Kasese.” The kids in Kasese are lucky to have her. The living situations are also quite different from those the Pathfinders experienced in Cambodia, going from roughing it to “basically camping.” The showers are outside, the floor is naked concrete, and the water is constantly dirty. Luckily, the Pathfinders have a place to stay and food to eat, and are able to help the people and children of Kasese.
Not only is schooling and culture radically different in Uganda, but Michelle has been noticing the pervasive gender inequality. When Conor offered to pour water for female teachers, they explained to him the rules of respect regarding women and men. Now, Michelle’s class wants to study and debate bride prices and dowries. Michelle and Conor are working on educating women and men alike about equality in relationships and society.