Turns out we had a lot to offer each other.
Over the next few days we continued our teacher training sessions at different schools in the area. The participants were grateful for the certificates we provided at the end of our session that served as evidence they had received continuing education. These certificates, which seem trivial to us, would open doors of opportunity for them.
After a couple sessions, I learned that the participants were more receptive to our lessons if they first got to know us. I had come with a western mindset of not wanting to waste anyone’s time and liked to get right to business. But I learned quickly that once we started visiting with the teachers before our training session then they were more open to share about their needs and struggles. The life lesson learned, take the time to get to know someone. Relationships matter.
The teachers in Uganda are overwhelmed with the sheer number of children in their communities. Uganda is experiencing one of the highest population growth rates in the world. These students live in poverty and cannot afford to go to school. If they do come, it is usually without supplies or food. Keeping students, especially girls, in school is also a struggle. The teachers expressed the frustration and difficulty of having to continually write and rewrite the lessons on a chalkboard or paper. Image teaching without a textbook or a copy machine.
I left Uganda wondering how to help the teachers and students with more than just a temporary handout?