Raffles for Rihamu

The children at Hambledon Primary are working hard to help our friends at Rihamu. They want to help renovate the P1 block, replacing the wooden slats with permanent brick walls that will provide much better protection from the elements.

The school council have come up with the idea of ‘Raffles for Rihamu’. Raffles will take place weekly and will start in November with cakes as the first set of prizes.  A big thank you to all of our parents who have said that they will donate cakes to this project.

The children are excited that Madam Shakila is coming to visit Hambledon in March 2020 and are looking forward to revealing the outcomes of their fundraising.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


We are so happy and delighted for the contribution from Hambledon Primary School for the 5000 water tank.

Before this, it was a big struggle to meet all our school water requirements, from the water we use to cook, drink and for general use. We had a connection to national water line but this was most of the times off due to our inability to pay the monthly bills. Now we are able to meet all our water needs and the children now do not need to travel long distances to collect water. We are grateful that this has improved the general school sanitation.

Thank you so much Mr. Paul and team about this great contribution.

The newly installed school water tank

Shakilah – Head Teacher Rihamu Junior Sch

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beginning Wants & Needs work at Liss

Year 6 have begun their work on the wants and needs learning that Miss Duncan and Mr Davies began when they visited Kafuro and Rihamu during the summer.

Our first task was to draw around the outline of a pupil and give the outlined child a name. Next, we discussed what this child would need to grow up into a happy and healthy adult. The children were set the task of identifying twenty things that would help the child achieve this. At this point there was no input and the children could completely decide for themselves.

Once the pupils had completed their twenty things that a child would need, they wrote them on post its and placed them in the middle of the child. Next, they were asked to remove five of the things that the child could do without – this reduced the items to fifiteen. This exercise was repeated twice more and generated fierce debate on each table as the children argued over what should stay. Eventually, each group had five items left which they shared with the rest of the class and compared.

Our next step was to introduce UNICEF wants and needs cards and perform a similar exercise. However, firstly the children were asked to divide the cards into three groups: those they thought were Most Important, Important and Least Important. Then, once again, Mr Stanley asked the pupils to reduce the cards down to just five, and the classroom became very animated as the children had to make some very difficult decisions over what should stay and what should go.

Once the pupils had completed this exercise, they compared the five wants and needs they had left with the post its they had created in the previious lesson. As a class, we then discussed the difference between wants and needs.

Needs: the things that are absolutely necessary for all children to have a happy and healthy life

Wants:the things that are nice to have but not necessary for a full life.

We finished this first session by discussing some key questions: Are wants and needs different for people in the UK and Uganda? Why don’t all children in the world have what they need?

To the first question, the pupils were quite clear that needs would be the same in both countries. However, there was an acknowledgement that wants would be different. For example, a pupil in the UK might want a Playstation or an Xbox, but for a pupil in Uganda, where electricity is scarce in places, a new bike would be something that they might really want.

The pupils were surprisingly not shocked that children in the world didn’t have everything they need. They were quite clear about some of the reasons why this might be the case:

  • War
  • Some countries don’t have enough money to feed people
  • Some governments are corrupt
  • The environment was not conducive to growing food – a result of climate change
  • Lack of water supply – again due to climate change.

There was widespread disbelief in the class that millions of people go hungry in the world when there is more than enough food to feed everyone comfortably.

In our next session the pupils looked at the needs of children are protected. We studied the United Nations Charter for the rights of the Child. In groups, the children looked at the post its they had created during the first session and divided them into wants and needs. For each need they tried to marry it up with one of the articles from the convention

The class then shared their ideas together and were easily able to show how the articles supported the needs they had identified.

Finally, we looked at scenarios in which children’s rights have been abused. The pupils were each given a scenario and tasked with identifying which rights had been violated and suggesting actions to restore these rights.

Some of the scenarios are posted below:

Download (DOCX, 57KB)

Download (DOCX, 96KB)

Download (DOCX, 78KB)

Download (DOCX, 75KB)

Download (DOCX, 84KB)

Download (DOCX, 62KB)

In our next post we will talk about Rights and Responsibilities and how we have used them to create our class charter.

Posted in Kafuro Primary School, Liss Junior School, Rowan Class, Wants & Needs | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Preparing the Liss garden for autumn

Warm greetings to all our friends in Uganda. We have just completed the first full week of school back in Liss and some of our staff and pupils have been beginning to prepare the gardening area for autumn. Mr Stanley has been looking after the tomato plants and now the tomatoes are beginning to ripen. Mrs Marfleet has cut back some of the foliage to allow the sun to help ripen the tomatoes.

Two Year 6 pupils, Alfie and Lewis, have been busy clearing the raised beds of weeds. In the spring we will be planting new vegetables to grow.

Posted in Liss Junior School, Rowan Class, School Grounds | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Final days and reflections

Uganda Day 14: 2019 

After a comfortable sleep in a room on my own in the motel, woken only by a cockerel at one point in the night, I woke up feeling fresh. We all slept in for a while before breakfast which was where we were staying. 

Then we went to a market in Fort Portal. It was extremely colourful, with a variety of fruits and vegetables being sold. One particular thing I spotted was the way tomatoes were displayed. They were balanced on top of one another like when people balance rocks in a stack on the beach which was very clever. 

For the afternoon we went to Mountains of the moon to use the pool for the day and relax. I finished my book and just relaxed for the afternoon, occasionally dipping in the pool to cool off. We stayed for dinner and I tried the beef fajitas which were delicious, then it was back to the hotel for another good night’s sleep.  

Uganda Day 15: 2019

Paul, Luke, Meg and I went for breakfast whilst Andy and Nick got some extra sleep this morning. We were almost ready for our final part of the journey back to Entebbe. The bus journey wasn’t too long, only 4 and a half hours, but time flew by playing games with Nick, Paul and Luke. 

We shortly arrived at UWEC zoo and were reunited with our huts we stayed in on our first night in Uganda so it felt a bit like returning to our second homes. As we arrived late last time and didn’t see many animals, we went for a wonder around the zoo (along with hundreds of school children on trips!) We saw lions which we hadn’t managed to see properly in the wild, more zebras, and monkeys playing on the paths. The boys were tired so we headed back to our huts but Megan and I didn’t want to rest so we went to explore more of the park as we hadn’t seen the giraffes properly. We found an elder tree, baboons and the giraffe viewing platform and had time to chat and reminisce about the trip.

Joffrey picked us up at 5pm to go shopping. We went to the craft market which was really colourful, full of paintings and souvenirs to buy but it was just nice to have a look around.

Finally, it was time to revisit the beautiful restaurant (Gorettis) on the beach from our first night. We sat back at our table and as it was still light, we could enjoy the breathtaking view of Lake Victoria. Before dinner arrived, we had time to reflect on our time here. We did our top 3 moments for the whole trip and everyone had such different moments which was brilliant. Then we remembered funny moments of the trip and things we will miss. It got a bit emotional before leaving as we prepare to go home tomorrow. Overall, this trip has been an incredible, life changing experience and one I am thankful to have had. 


Before taking this trip, I didn’t know what to expect. I was a bundle of nerves, anxiety and excitement at a fresh opportunity to see more of the world and different cultures. Having now been able to experience the Pearl of Africa, I can see why it deserves that name. It’s not just the animals, which are incredible to see in their natural habitats, and the landscape, which goes on as far as the eye can see and changes with every turn, it is the people. I have never been anywhere more welcoming and protective of visitors to their country. Just by meeting someone, you are already their brother, sister or friend. You are treated like family without hesitation just by being happy and polite. The people of Uganda’s happiness has been unfaltering in every town and city we have visited. With those who have little, they are happy. With those who have plenty, they are happy. This joy beams out of them primarily through dance and music which spreads to anyone around as it is infectious. 

My biggest thank you for this trip is to the people at Kafuro Primary School, particularly Stephen Thembo, who made me feel welcome as soon as I entered his school and began speaking to him. I felt like I had known him longer than a few days by the end of my time in his school. I would also like to thank the teachers at Kafuro Primary School for giving me free reign of their classes (and sometimes translating), allowing me to experience different styles of teaching in a different culture and try to show them some of my style. 

I am going back to England with a renewed appreciation for things we take for granted, such as getting water from a tap instantly and without thinking. Having listened to Mr Stanley talk so positively about Uganda for the last couple of years, I hope I can harness some of his passion for the twinning project and continue to ensure that the children of Liss understand how lucky they are to be twinned with such a fantastic school and to remember that they have family, the school children of Kafuro, in Uganda.

Posted in Kafuro Primary School, Liss Junior School, nature, Trips, Twinning Project, Uganda | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 14: Reflections on Uganda

We’re sat in Fort Portal, nearing the end of our Ugandan adventure.  This is an opportunity to pause for breath, drink a Nile and take stock of what has been a real life-changing experience.

There is obvious impact from the Changing Classrooms Project and we’re only half way through it.  The Headteachers from Rihamu and Kafuro will visit Hambledon and Liss in March 2020. The learning has been mutual and we will take things from the experience that will benefit pupils at all schools.  A detailed exchange of thoughts about managing school improvement has already taken place and I look forward to implementing some of the ideas that I take away from this trip.

I am excited by the potential to make an enormous difference to the lives of children in Uganda for the long term.  It won’t be too tricky either.  By western standards the money and resources required to make significant improvements to the schools here is relatively small. A little will go a long way.  We have already started this with our projects to improve sanitation and the building classroom infrastructure.  I hope we can continue this to ensure that pupils don’t waste valuable learning time performing tasks that take them out of the classroom, such as fetching water.  When they’re in class, we can ensure that they can learn without being exposed to the elements.  I am hoping that our School Council can rise to this challenge next year.

The purpose of this project is to benefit both English and Ugandan schools and there is much that Rihamu can contribute to Hambledon. As well as a window to different cultures and beliefs, our children continue to strengthen their ties with their pen-pals.  We also have plans to create video links and exchange voice messages with our friends at Rihamu.  We’re getting good at recording podcasts at Hambledon and these are a great way of promoting communication between our children.

As I think back on what I experienced I am glowing with admiration for what Shakilah and her team achieve with meagre resources.  In Uganda it doesn’t matter what clothes you wear or what car you drive.  Everyone is together and they look out for each other, nobody is judging.  It is inspiring.  School children concentrate well, listen carefully and show high levels of respect to each other and to the adults that teach them.  Living standards are lower and the pace of life is slower, but levels of appreciation are high and I will take these precious memories back to the UK.

Posted in Hambledon Primary School, Kafuro Primary School, Liss Junior School, Rihamu Junior School | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Uganda Day 13: 2019

Hippo House has truly lived up to its name today! Last night I was woken up at about half past 4 to a hippo grazing right outside my window – a bit of a shock when I opened the curtains and it was that close! Sadly, it was our last day staying in the park and we begin our travels back towards Entebbe today, with a few stop offs over the next few days. After waking up at 4.30 to the hippo, I couldn’t get back to sleep so I knew it was going to be a long day. 

We made our final visit to Tembo for breakfast to bring our time in the national park to a complete full circle. 

The car journey was long and pretty boring, so to pass time, Luke, Paul and I played a game called Mexican handbag in which you choose a country and an item and make up a meaning which became quite entertaining and has seemingly created a new language for us!

We arrived in Fort Portal, new word meanings in tow, and found our hotel for the night. It is very different to Hippo House, mainly because it has hot water! We dropped off our bags quickly and headed off to Semuliki National Park to visit the hot springs. The scenery on the journey was magnificent, the road we took weaved between tremendous hills and felt similar to the Amalfi coast mixed with the views of mountains that you may find in Austria but twice the size. 

Once we arrived at the springs, we visited the female spring first. There is a male and female spring at the park, named so due to a couple who went out into the forest and never returned but it is believed their spirits can still be found there. The female springs were so hot we were able to cook eggs in them. I was allowed to put them in the water but they had to go into a shallower area first which wasn’t so hot so that they didn’t crack. We looked around the rest of the spring while they cooked for 10 minutes, including looking at the fountain part which was like a sauna if you stood too close – hopefully I should have glowing skin now! When the eggs were cooked, we peeled them quickly as they were extremely hot, and ate them. I had two and they were really tasty, although it felt odd they had been cooked in the water we were standing near. Then we moved onto the male spring. This was a short drive and walk across a long jetty of wooden planks through breathtaking scenery which felt like we were in a scene in Moana. When we arrived it was much bigger than the first spring. It was wider and there wasn’t a fountain as the source of the spring was under the middle of the water. We didn’t cook anything here but were able to use some planks of wood to get very close to it to see the remains of sacrifices of money and bones from animals, as the local people believe that the lake has healing and wish granting properties.  

We left the springs and returned through the beautiful scenery again. When we got to the hotel we had some time to relax in our rooms before finding a hotel (recommended by Isaac at the lodge) for dinner which was lush. I had fajitas which I had been craving! Whilst the boys watched football, Meg and I went to explore and found a swimming pool and pool table! Joffrey played Andy and almost beat him one handed! Meg and I played a game too and I lost by only one ball. 

Posted in Uganda | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Uganda Day 12: 2019

This morning I woke up to see off Steve, Karen, Jan and Ashlea as they set off super early. I managed to go back to bed and have a super relaxing morning. We ambled to breakfast late and tried the hostel which was nice. Andy and Paul were brave and tried the Rolex (omlette in chipati) which I think they liked! It was a relaxing day today as we spent it at the lodge, swimming and (for me mainly) reading, so there is not much else to report!

Posted in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Twinning Project, Uganda | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Uganda Day 11: 2019

Unlike the CM sports gang, Paul and I had a later than normal start. We headed to the Conservation Cup tournament which kicked off just as we got there – perfect timing! Whilst supporting Kafuro during their football and rugby games from the sidelines, I had time to chat to Ashley who leaves tomorrow! I can’t wait to catch up with her when we are both back in the UK. I also chatted to some children on the side of the pitches who had lots of intriguing questions about England. 

A few games completed, it was time for lunch. Children were served first and then the adults ate in a classroom which felt like being back at school during wet play! 

I was also able to meet lots of people whilst I was there. I met Stephen’s wife who was very kind, and Stephen Biru who is Director of Education and Conservation. 

The finals took place in the afternoon and it went very quickly. Kafuro didn’t win either of the tournaments but they showed fantastic sportsmanship and team work. I’m sure they will come back stronger next year! The winning teams were awarded the prizes and all teams were given a football from the kit used for training. Once all teams had been celebrated, it was time to say some sad farewells. It was hard to get away from the school as no one wanted to leave. As we were driving away, we passed Stephen who had very kindly been to buy me a present – a lovely wall hanging in the shape of Uganda! A wonderful reminder of my fantastic time in Africa. 

Driving home we passed some small shops selling souvenirs. I purchased an elephant carving, a keyring with the uganda flag and a small drum to show the children at school for music lessons. 

At Tembo in the evening, we had our usual meals, followed by more farewells. This time we had to say bye to Steve, Karen, Jan and Ashley. I’m sure I will be making visits to QECP when I am home for a catch up!  

When we went to the Lodge in the evening, a huge storm came over, which we’ve had a few of whilst being here. The lightning here is brighter than England, it completely lights up the sky for longer than usual. Strangely there is no thunder to accompany it and it is still unusually warm during the storms. Joffrey explained that this storm was a farewell to Steve and his group, just as the rain on our first day had been a greeting. If this is the case, England must be saying hello and goodbye to lots of people all the time!  

Posted in Kafuro Primary School, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Sports, Twinning Project, Uganda | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Uganda Day 10: 2019

Resorting back to my usual French toast at Tembo for breakfast this morning, I was ready for a busy day ahead at Kafuro. 

Ronnie drove Paul and I (very smoothly, the complete opposite to Joffrey) to Kafuro. Shakilah met us at the school, her first visit there, but upon meeting Stephen she realised he was her old teacher from P6/7 for English! It’s a small world, even here in Uganda. Shakilah was shown around the school with Paul whilst I taught my final lesson to P7. We tackled sanitation which most children believed to be keeping the environment clean but, with discussion, they were able to connect to the disposal of waste, including that of humans. I explained about the challenges girls face in education due to having to collect water and carry out other chores which the children understood well, collecting water for their families themselves. Having a tap with drinking water at school has enabled them to focus more on learning. This is as a result of previous fundraising by Liss pupils.  

Lesson finished, it was straight to the kitchen to cook pizza for all of the school! Assistant chef, Paul, was very handy to have around today! He really knows his stuff about pizza. The children all partook in the making of the dough, mixing it all together and getting very sticky in the process which was hilarious. Whilst the dough rose, we made the sauce. Children chopped tomatoes and small onions grown just across the road and mixed with some water which they reduced down over the fire. It was a lot cooler today outside but when I went into the kitchen it was too hot to handle! 

As the pizzas cooked, Paul and I joined the other teachers for lunch which was delicious as ever. The children were fantastic at minding the pizzas while we ate to make sure they didn’t burn! 

When we had finished lunch, it was time for the school to try the pizza. Each pizza was cut into about 40 tiny slices so P3-7 all got a change to try. Their faces were a picture as it looked like chapati but certainly didn’t taste the same! It was heart warming to watch them try something so different to their normal cuisine. 

Then the heavens opened and rain poured down, the storm had been in the air all morning. At a break in the downpour, there was a chance to watch the reigning champion tag rugby team practice. They were fantastic and showed great sportsmanship and team work just like the children of Liss. 

Finally, and sadly, it was time to say goodbye. I popped into P6 and P7 but the other classes were having lessons so I didn’t want to disrupt. The whole school then came to their windows as we drove off, beaming smiles on their faces and waving enthusiastically. I felt very special and privileged to have spent the last few days at such a fantastic school which I am proud Liss Junior School is twinned with. 

Posted in Class P4, Class P5, Class P6, Class P7, Kafuro Primary School, Liss Junior School, Trips, Twinning Project, Uganda | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment