Mukono Town Muslim Primary School is a school with great heritage and community support, but lives intertwined between bars and other establishments of like kind. The road between the school and the businesses are filled with trash and a few weeks ago a body was found amidst the piles. Because of these issues and children being kidnapped and sacrificed by witch doctors for the body parts (their belief is they will bring wealth to a family, African albinos are even more of a commodity), a wall is being built. It is hard enough to be a student in an oversized classroom trying to study, let alone with drunken men peering through the bars of the classroom windows trying to lure you out to an unspeakable world.
Upon our arrival to the school, we were greeted by the Headmaster who gave us a tour of the wall being built. They are maybe a fifth of the way complete, yet per Michael and Terry, it looks light years better than last year as many heaps of trash that have been removed.
The Mukono Town Muslim Primary School is a success story. In 2008, when Sister Schools started visiting and bringing school supplies, the population of students jumped from 220 to almost 950 today!! Asia, our Ugandan Coordinator, calls that an “African bush fire”. Per the Headmaster, this is all due to the fact that Sister Schools has donated school supplies. If a child knows they have a chance to go to school even if their parents can’t afford school supplies, by going to the office and asking for a pencil or paper out of the supply closet, they in turn have a chance at a different future.
Today was a special day as it was the end of the term and all the parents were there to pick up their children after the grades were handed out. Students are ranked in order of grades and it is a big deal in Uganda, as it is also symbolic of which path your life will take depending on your ranking. We met with the parents and each of us did a quick speech, explaining about Sister Schools and how important education is and most importantly, thanking them for being involved in their children’s education. In all the schools I have been to thus far, I hadn’t met any parents so this was a treat, although there was a language barrier and Asia had to translate. A few parents came up to us after and thanked us.
I met with the PTA President whose parents helped found the school many years ago. He said it was an honor to represent the parents and that Sister Schools plays a big role in the school’s growth. He also wanted us to relay back to the students of the US schools that donate to Sister Schools, a heartfelt thank you for the impact you have had in changing a lives for the students in his school.
At the end of a speech or presentations to us, a Ugandan will wish us abundance and say, ”I can’t believe you are strangers but you love us.” I say, it is easy to love the children of Uganda; their gratitude, thirst for knowledge, and the love in their eyes.