My first few weeks in Gulu have been great to say the least. Although my attempts to learn the local language have stalled I’ve learnt plenty more. I think I can say that I know my way around town and have slipped into a good routine. Ive begun to sink my teeth into a draft strategic plan for HCU after getting a grasp of the organisation on the ground; what it does, how it functions, who’s involved etc.
Like anywhere else, weekends are the best part of the week. Not because I get to blow off some steam at a party but because I get to teach my HCU class on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. I wont lie and say I wasn’t a little nervous with my first solo classes over the students but any sense of nervousness dissipated on my second weekend when I arrived to find a few of the kids having spelt my name out on the blackboard – whether or not they meant it I took it as a sign of affection.
I did encounter one challenge that I didn’t foresee when teaching the class. In an attempt to curry some favour for myself (and also because I need any excuse to eat some chocolate myself) I told the class that I’d bring some chocolate to the next weeks class. When the day finally came, to great anticipation, I brought in some chocolate for the class. What I thought would’ve been an easy and happy enough task turned slightly sour as some children from the other class got wind of it and came down to get some as well. I tried to accommodate as many as possible but some went without which left a bad taste in my mouth about something that should’ve been a happier event.
Resolute to fix the issue next weekend I brought in some more chocolate for myself and the class but distributed it in a lot more controlled fashion. While this solved the problem it reinforced a thought of mine that good intentions aren’t always enough when it comes to helping. You need to have a plan and implement it correctly to avoid unforeseen consequences and achieve your desired outcomes – a good lesson when approach future programs within HCU I’m sure!
Written by Harry Marshall