Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Visit to Lake Bunyonyi

We spent most of last week on Bushara Island on Lake Bunyonyi, about 4 hours south of Mbarara and close to the border with Rwanda. It's at a much higher elevation that other places we've visited, and everything is uphill from the lake, so we found ourselves getting short of breath quite easily. All the more reason to enjoy the incredible bird life on the island. In this photo, however, I am looking back at the lake from one of the secondary schools I visited.

Specifically I was visiting these five girls - Loice, Phiona, Prudence, Agnes, and Immaculata - sponsored by my daughter Emily and four of her
friends. These girls are now in either Senior 3 or Senior 4, and will stay at this school until they finish thier "O levels". Another 2 years will prepare them for "A levels", which all of these girls hope to write. Their dreams include entering medicine, nursing, and being an accountant.

And here is the S-1 class at the same school. There are 110 new students in this class - school starts at the end of January - of whom 6o are orphans, either "single or double orphans". Kitambaa Designs is now supporting 9 secondary school students, and has promised to continue doing so throughout secondary school, providing the students earn good marks. You have already seen photos of several students we have supported over the last three years; the students we added on this trip are primarily the eldest children of the widows in our workshop. The cost of a year of school is roughly $100-150 a term (depending on the school), and there are three terms in a year. This need for secondary education is probably one of the biggest in the rural areas of Uganda - certainly it was the need expressed most frequently by the widows we met.

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