Volunteer Blog

17-3-2019, Seeing Suubi SS In Action Is Absolutely Surreal

After arriving in the village last weekend to lots of singing and dancing to celebrate my return, the week since has given me an opportunity to see, with my own eyes, how Suubi Secondary School operates on a daily basis. Although I have seen hundreds of photos and heard from David how things have been progressing since my last visit; about structures being built and activities being carried out, it has been absolutely surreal to see it all for myself. It is difficult to describe how it feels to see almost 200 students now having the opportunity to get an education in the village. The dream we had is now a reality! 

Celebrating with singing and dancing is always a wonderful way to be welcomed back.

Since I was here last here the new classroom block, including the library, computer & science laboratories and 2 additional classrooms have been completed. To see how they are now being utilised and the positive impact they are having on the quality of education the students are receiving is overwhelming. Students now have access to books to study from, enough computers to hone their IT skills on and science equipment to carry out experiments, rather than only learning from the blackboard. These are all things that students and teachers in the western world take for granted but their counterparts at Suubi SS realise how lucky they are to have these facilities in Uganda, particularly in the village, and are definitely making the most of it all.

The library is a place where students access books to gain a greater understanding of what they have been studying in each of the 15 subjects they are taught. They can read from within the library space as seen here, or borrow books to use after class hours or in the dormitory at night.

Students seem to devour the information they are reading. This is understandable when you consider that prior to the library being added at Suubi SS many of them would have spent their entire education, prior to that, only learning by coping information from the backboard or in rote fashion. Now they can absorb the information at they own pace and gain a true understanding of what they are being taught.

I have also been impressed to see students individually then take the books and approach teachers, outside of their ordinary class time, to make sure they fully understand what they have read.   

Our Senior 5 students are very fortunate to have one on one access to teachers so they have the greatest chance of succeeding when it comes time to sitting their 'A' level examinations.

In the computer laboratory students now have access to a laptop each - they no longer need to sit around for long periods of time waiting for their turn. This means they are learning for the entire time they are in their computer class.

Again, it is wonderful to see students focused and absorbed in what they are being taught for every moment they are in class.

The science laboratory is also a hive of activity. Students carrying out experiments to gain a 'true understanding' rather than trying to imagine what is being taught from the blackboard or text book is something that was only dreamed of in the past.

In this chemistry class students could see for themselves how different chemicals react when mixed with each other.

Carrying out experiments, such as watching the solution turn various shades of blue on this occasion, rather than merely reading that this would be the reaction, has been a new experience for students in the village.

Students interact and ask questions about what they have seen, again creating the best opportunity for them to truely understand what they are learning.

It is great to see the boys dormitory almost complete too. This year we have over 60 boys who are boarding so it is a relief to no longer have them crowded in to a spare classroom. They have recently moved in to the new dorm which they are all very happy about and are looking forward to the completion of their washrooms over the coming week.

The new boys dormitory structure, which sits in front of the original classroom block, is now almost complete. Painting and washrooms will completed over the coming week.

The boys are happy to have moved in to their new home.

With an additional 74 Senior 1 students this year, Suubi SS staff soon realised that there was a need to a greater amount of clean drinking water. Although there has been a small water purifier in the foyer of the administration area it could simply not provide the amount of drinking water required for the increased number of students. With this in mind, the solar water purifier that had previously been install at Suubi Clinic/Centre was moved to the school site this week. The Clinic has a smaller water purifier in the foyer which can easily cater for patients.

It was quite a sight to see a group of students carrying the solar water purifier through the village to be put in position at the school! 

Clean water is something that westerners take for granted but it is vital to help prevent waterborne illness among students and staff here. We hope positioning the solar water purifier between the two classroom blocks will be a solution to providing enough for everyone. 

So as you can see the past week has been quite a lot to take in!

I'm looking forward to spending more time with the Suubi ladies and some of the Suubi SS students in the week ahead, teaching them some new craft skills. I can't wait for the arrival of Loretta, Karin, Sandra, Lis and Adele next weekend too - I'm sure they will come with lots of great ideas that we can pass on to the ladies, students and Smiling HeARTs. I look forward to telling you all about it in the next blog update.

Until then, HUGs from Helen


sue o'brien commented on 18-Mar-2019 05:20 PM
Truly amazing, great to see students now having such great resources. It's good the boys now have a dormitory & are no longer sleeping in classroom

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