Day 16 - Friday 21st July

Our Day 16 report for Friday 21st July is written by Aidan.

We started off the day with another wonderful teaching session, today being our final one. The time was mainly used by everyone to rehearse our showings for the upcoming talent show later in the day. Many groups, such as Grace, Mia, James and myself also joined together to finish off our two weeks of teaching with a few fun and games out on the field. It was amazing to see how close each of us had become to all our students, whether we’d had them for all eight lessons, or just started with them the day before. We then all managed to get some amazing class photos with our groups, even if a few extra students from elsewhere snuck in. However, this joyful morning soon turned rather chaotic when we all pulled out our gifts for our students. What we had intended to be a kind gesture to our personal groups quickly ended up as a mad free for all, with students from our groups, other groups, and even some who weren’t even in anyone’s lesson making a grab for as many sweets as possible. It was rather terrifying for all of us being completely surrounded, grabbed at, and pushed around by masses of students, of ages ranging all the way up to older teenagers. Although it was slightly upsetting, there was no way we could let it ruin the amazing two weeks we’d spent with all our students, or dampen the excitement for the talent show later on.

We then headed back to what was now basically our home away from home, the Countryside Guesthouse. We all sat down for our final proper meal at the guesthouse, and I settled on the fish fingers and chips, perhaps not the most cultural of choices, but definitely the tastiest. The vegetable noodles, banana pancakes, and a ham a cheese toasty were also some of the favourites for our final meal. After enjoying some delicious food, we then prepared for this afternoon's event, by dressing up in our traditional outfits, fresh from the tailors. The girls wrapped and pinned their elegant skirts and sashes with a lot of help from Ruth, while the boys buttoned up their “smart”, and rather abstract, shirts, well at least the ones of us that could, the tailor being a little minimalist in her measurements for some of us. It was then back to the buses with our instruments and minimal preparation - the HDS Interact group way of doing things. We were greeted at the school with a huge crowd of students surrounding a small stage, made only that morning by a few students, some logs, and a couple of machetes. The sun was extremely bright, and the heat was probably the hottest we’d had yet, so it was sun cream up and shades on all around. Our African clothing was the only thing stopping us looking like classic British holiday makers, although they did make us look like complete idiots instead, really colourful and rather funky idiots.  A few unexpected issues appeared during the setting up of our instruments, such as a lack of battery in the guitar, the obligatory power cut and the rather long distance between the stage and speakers, a length that none of our leads could come close to reach. Mr Royle witnessed some incredible African electrical work involving a generator and a length of two core electrical cables (who needs the earth wire anyway?). However it wouldn’t be an Interact event without some problems, so we went with what we had, and did a bit of what we do best, improvised.

The show kicked off in no time, and began with traditional African dancing, something we’d seen quite a lot of over the last two weeks, but something that has definitely not got boring, and still continued to amaze all of us. Every dancer up on that stage was so talented, and there were more than a few performers that we agreed could have a very bright future if they managed to get out there. But to think that some of those dancers will never get the chance to leave their small town in south-west Uganda to show the talent they clearly have was extremely upsetting. With the optimism, attitude, and skills some of those students have, they deserve so much more, and I believe that is why Humphry Davy chose to partner and support the Vision School in the first place. The two MCs, aka the Ant and Dec of Kisoro Vision, then called the Interact group to the stage. Grace began our production with a big thank you to the prefects for the dancing and drumming workshop they provided on Tuesday, and then called her students to the stage for a beautiful reading of The Mousehole Cat. She was followed up by her Vice President, Thomas, to thank all the students for their co-operation over our time at Vision. His class then came up to present and read from the story they’d been working on, The Giant of St Michaels’ Mount. As you can see, we were really forcing some Cornish tradition on them! It was then Elsa’s turn on stage, and after giving a thank you to the prefects for giving up their time, she gave a wonderful reading of the poem the Jabberwocky, although seeing as I couldn’t understand half the words in it, I’m not sure any of the students had a clue about what was going on. After Velvet took the stage to say thank you for the tour of their art room, we all took the stage for our first song, Mad World. We had no arrangement of where to stand, one of the mics didn’t pick up the singing, and our pianists were so far away they could hardly see what was happening, but thanks to Grace and Jess’ amazing singing it went as well as it could have considering the situation.

It was then the Vision students’ turn to take the stage again. However, instead of the traditional  African dancing we were expecting, what we saw appeared to be their take on modern hip-hop dancing, learnt assumedly from what they saw on tv and in music videos from the western world. After this, it was once again the turn of Humphry Davy to show off some more of our students' achievements. I started off by giving a thank you to the prefects for taking us up to the extremely beautiful viewpoint the day before. I then brought up my group to read out the short stories they’d created, some of which were very interesting, ranging from a comedian trying to overthrow the ‘King’ of England, to a weird cross between Little Red Riding Hood and Captain America. Nevertheless, they were all amazing and I was extremely proud of all them. I then called up Bryony, who gave a thank you for the walk for water we participated in, and then called up her own class, who also read out their amazing and very well written stories. It was then Richard’s turn, and as the computer genius of the group, he explained briefly what he’d been teaching, before presenting the school with four laptops, out of the nine that were donated by Bryony’s Dad, Andy.

Next up was Mia, and she thanked both Dan and Buka for allowing students to come out of timetable so we were able to work with them ourselves. Her class then gave a lovely reading of a traditional African tale that they’d be working on as a group. Jess then got up on stage to sing No Diggity, and this is where a bit of improvisation came into play. The Royle boys got up on stage, the father holding a mic up to Jess’ guitar, while the son held another mic up to her mouth. It all came together amazingly though, and Jess did an amazing job.

After that thought-provoking performance, it was time for HDS’ final slot on stage. James opened with a thanks for the co-operation from everyone at Vision, and then proceeded to share another traditional African tale, that his group read out very well on stage. He was followed by Beth, who gave thanks for the prefects for their help at the market, in choosing our material for these flattering outfits. Jess then finished off the presentations with a thank you for sports day, and then presented a bag of rugby and tennis balls to the school, which they were extremely happy about. 

Our time at the talent show ended with a presentation from Dan, and the newly ex-head boy and girl. We were each very kindly presented with a Kisoro Vision football jersey, which I did feel slightly guilty about receiving, as it seemed for all they’d done for us, we should be the ones thanking them with presents, not the other way around. We also received several notes from the ex-Head boy and Girl, thanking us and asking us to stay in touch. Once the show was over, it was then time to say goodbye to everyone at Vision. The amount of photos, notes, letters, and pictures we all received from prefects, our classes, and loads of students was overwhelming. There was not enough time to read them all at the time, but it’s fair to say they will all definitely be read by us, and probably kept with us for a long time. It meant so much to see how much time they’d put into thanking us, and I think tears were present in more than a few of us as we said goodbye to some of the amazing friends we’d made. We even presented a hat, and said a goodbye to the amazing gatekeeper at school, that Thomas and I had formed a very strong bond with.

For our final evening at the Guesthouse, the Staff kindly gave us soft drinks on the house, as well as a wicker basket from our good friend Francis, whom we all swapped Facebook names with to keep in contact with. To say thank you we performed our two songs from the talent show, as well as a favourite of ours, Man in the Mirror.  It was an amazing last night, and we will all deeply miss the kindness and friendliness of everyone at Countryside Guesthouse, and we all send a huge thank you for their hospitality, but we’re all just as excited for our weekend of luxury starting on Saturday.


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