Archive for October, 2017


Source: OUR CULTURE, OUR FOOD, OUR HEALTH

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The 5th Annual Cultural Day at GAYAZA HIGH SCHOOL took place on 7thOctober, 2017.
As a noun, culture denotes the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement. It includes customs, arts, social institutions and achievements of a particular nation, people or other social group. These were exquisitely presented at a beautiful student led exhibition of traditional dishes.

During the August holidays, senior one students at Gayaza High School are required through the Home management class project work to learn how to cook at least two traditional dishes while on holiday. This activity is documented both in video and photography followed by a written report. It was exciting to view the videos and pictures of the activities that took place at home and the involvement of the parents in the learning of their children. Then the students have to plan together with their parents on how to participate in the class exhibition which is held at the school to celebrate our traditional foods over the independence holiday. This year the D-Day was 7th October and the Senior One Parents’ Academic Committee took all the responsibility to mobilise the parents for the success of this event.

EVENTS OF THE DAY.
It was an early rise for the S.1 girls, with a mixture of excitement and anticipation! The day to experience what their fellow students- the “Kamwakas” and “grannies” and “great grannies” had told them had finally come. Dressed in their house T-shirts with African cloth wrapped around their small waists, the girls carried jerrycans of water and mats to Ann Cutler field, the venue for the function.


By 6:30, the gates were open, and the girls welcomed their equally excited and anticipating parents. Saucepans, dishes, stoves, gas cylinders and firewood were quickly set up in the different regional camps. By 9:30, the smoke, aroma, and kitchen flavor covered the venue. By 11:00am, some families had some dishes ready.


The girls, who worked closely with the S.5 new students, left to change into their respective traditional attire.By 1:00pm, the gorgeously dressed ladies had the tables laid with ready varieties of food to eat!In their different regions: the  Western, Northern, Eastern and Central region, the girls exhibited their traditional foods to the guests, emphasizing the nutritional value in each food.


Anthems, dances, songs and poems from the different regions were showcased to celebrate the day.
Both Students and Parents will surely live to remember the day.
There were student cooking competitions held and the best cooks were rewarded by Vivo Energy with a gas cylinder. When the teachers turn came,it was the students’ turn to evaluate their teachers and the best teacher also received a gas cylinder.


On that background, it is important to note the following :
1. As an institution, Gayaza High School envisions producing a holistic girl fit for the dynamic and contemporary world. The cultural day was a sure avenue in doing so.
2. The Gayaza girl is one who is cultured! With all necessary norms, values, ethos and traditions for healthy and happy living, for society transformation and national development. Needless to say, that our girls are the mothers of the next generation.
3. Paradigm shift in Education. Gayaza High School, as one of the oldest school is paving way for more meaningful education, that goes beyond the four walls. Education that imparts the 21st century skills and values. Skills necessary to survive in the world, such as effective communication , creativity, innovativeness, collaboration, ICTs among others. Cultural day goes a long way in doing so.
4. Celebrating unity in Diversity. This ought to be a national goal for social cohesion and harmony. The team work that was exhibited was incredible.
This activity teaches the SDGs of;

1-No poverty- Traditional dishes could become a lucrative business

2- Zero Hunger- Traditional crops are resilient to the climatic changes and lead to food security in our homes.

3- Good Health and Wellbeing- traditional foods have great nutritional value

4- Quality Education- Project based learning as used in the activity is a great pedagogical approach to education.

5-Gender Equality- The participation of both parents enhances gender equality

12- Responsible Consumption-Traditional way of life focuses a lot on balanced diets

13-Climate Action- Most of the traditional crops are grown using traditional methods that are sustainable in nature.

16-Peace and Justice- Respect for each other’s’ traditional foods and practices enhances peace and justice.

MY EXPERIENCE AS A STUDENT AT THE 4TH ANNUAL SCHOOLS FARM CAMP 2017 HELD AT GAYAZA HIGH SCHOOL (25TH -31ST AUGUST,2017)

The Annual Farm camp 2017 was held at Gayaza High School and it started on Friday the 25th and ended on Thursday the 31st August 2017. The theme of the camp was “Skilling the Youth in Agribusiness in tune with Wildlife conservation”. We would like to thank all our sponsors;AVSI, FAO, RIHAM, NAGRC, NACCRI, STANBIC BANK,MOVIT,RWENZORI and the various schools.During the camp, many activities took place and they were to help the students develop their skills in Agribusiness as well as awareness of the good in Wildlife Conservation. The camp was attended by 454 students and 85 teachers from more than 35 schools across all the four regions of Uganda-East, West, North and Central.

Many students arrived a day before on Thursday 24th August 2017 since their patrons were scheduled for a teachers’ conference the following day. They were welcomed by the Youth Future Farmers of Africa(YOFFA) committee members.

On arrival, you would be required to register, then get a mattress and then you are escorted to the various houses for the accommodation. We had supper and some entertainment before retiring to bed. In the morning during breakfast, it was very clear that some teams had checked in late at night since the numbers of students and teachers were now more than the day before.

At 10:00a.m we had a media briefing where a number of reporters from various media houses and our sponsors converged at the school to inform the public about the 2017 Farm Camp. The common theme during the media briefing from all the speakers was about supporting the youth today to have the skills and enjoy working within the agricultural sector for a better livelihood and for the development of our communities.

At 11:00a.m, all the students gathered at the school farm and they were divided into various groups that included; poultry, dairy, banana, vegetables, bio-gas, and piggery. The students were trained in the various areas and those students who were well conversant in the different areas were chosen to be co-facilitators. This was a strategy of using students to teach other students so as to inspire many more to learn but also considering the fact that peer teaching helps students learn more from their fellow students.

The teachers conference was well attended and facilitated by speakers from FAO. The call to the teachers was supporting their students to learn using the context of Agriculture such that the youth become beneficial to their communities.

After lunch, we retreated to the tents where we had a presentation from Stanbic Bank on Financial Literacy and later on a talk on etiquette from the Nabagereka Development Foundation team. Their talk touched different essential topics and these included; integrity, honesty, and the focus was on people’s conduct for a healthy life style. The students participated in the different activities and a snack was given at the end.

At 7:30pm, supper was served and the students were divided into two routes and this is how the students were to travel to the Murchison falls national park. The students in route one received their camp t-shirts and tags since they were leaving on Saturday. Mrs. Magaya Sarah then read out the house keeping rules to all the students guiding us in the way  to conduct ourselves during the camp and we were all urged to follow the rules for our own safety.We then prayed and went to bed in order to be fresh for the next day’s activities.The teachers also had a planning meeting in order to get all the teachers involved in guiding the students during the camp.

Saturday 26th August 2017

We woke up at 4:00am to shower and prepare for the trip to Murchison falls National Game Park. We were grouped into two routes and Route 1 was set to go on Saturday while route 2 on Sunday 27th Aug 2017.
The campers in route one wore their different farm camp shirts with their respective colours that they had received the day before. The colours included grey, blue, red and purple. I personally was in route 1 and had a grey shirt.

The campers in route 2 had their breakfast at 6:30pm before those in route1. By 7:00am, we were putting our luggage into our respective buses and preparing for the journey.

By 8:00am all the buses were set to leave and I was in the Ministry of Agriculture bus which was instructed to set off last as they were still loading food.

My colleagues in the media team on route 2 report that after breakfast, the students gathered in different groups and moved to the farm where they immediately started on the training that was conducted in the different areas including; dairy, vegetables, bio-gas, banana, poultry, forestry and piggery.
The training was conducted by forty experts and individual farmers from Gayaza High School, AVSI- SKY supported Agribusinesses, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, National Animal Genetic Resources Center & Data Bank, Uganda Christian University, MST Junior Sch Entebbe, Ministry of Education and Sports and NARO-Namalere.  These experts were supported by students from different participating schools who were chosen and trained as co-facilitators on Friday 25th Aug 2017.

At 11:00a.m, the students and everyone who was at the farm to warmly welcome the guest of honour to the different units. The occasion was exciting as the guest of honor opened the newly constructed cattle barn that AVSI-SKY had funded at the Gayaza High School farm. At noon, the participants then moved up to the tents to listen in to the various speeches including the guest of honour who was representing the Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Uganda.

Our journey was quite lengthy and we were anxious about our destination. The bus was full of songs sung by the campers to keep themselves a wake. The bus driver made the first stop at the Migyera supermarket round about 11:00a.m to enable some students to ease themselves and buy some snacks and refreshments.

The journey took longer than it was supposed to for we passed via Masindi town and got lost somewhere along the way. By the time we found the way, it was a bit late. A guard at the entrance of the National Game Park told us to hurry so that we make it to the ferry on time.

 

The ride from the entrance to the ferry was a two-hour drive. The other buses had already crossed the Nile by the time we arrived at the ferry. This was around 5:00pm. We crossed the river in a matter of minutes and found the other campers on the other side waiting.

We all re-boarded our respective buses and trailed our way to our campsite. On the way we passed by several animals for example warthogs and baboons.

We also saw lodges like Paara Safari lodge. We finally arrived at our campsite at around 7:00pm. We were asked to get out of our buses and gather around for communication on the dos and don’ts at the park by the ranger. We were told not to feed the animals or make any unnecessary noise so as not to poison the animals or startle them.

We were then grouped and sent to our residential places by Ms. Zawedde Deborah. Our place of residence lacked electricity and was far from the water source. We had to move from our rooms in the dark to go to fetch water on the other side of the camp site next to the boys’ rooms. Thank God many of us had remembered to carry torches as advised from school. Fortunately, or Unfortunately, there was a large warthog next to the tap and the lines were long which scared many of us. We then had to shower in make shift bathrooms constructed using papyrus reeds and all the time my mind was thinking about the un invited visitor.

After supper, most campers were too tired to attend the camp fire and the soil was muddy due to the rain and we decided to go to sleep.

Sunday 27th August 2017

We woke up at 4:00am and scrambled for the bathrooms. Fortunately, most of the girls (who were sleeping far from the water source) had fetched water the night before except for the few that didn’t fetch water. We then showered in the papyrus reeds, packed our property and went for breakfast.

We then entered our respective buses and were separated into groups, one was to start with the boat ride and end with the game drive and the other that was to start with the game drive and end with the boat ride. I chose to start with the boat ride.

The boat ride was on river Nile to the Murchison falls. We saw foam in the river which the tour guide said was due to chemical reactions in the river caused by the pollutants like detergents in the river. We also saw animals in the water like crocodiles and hippos. We were also able to see the king fisher and water buck.

We arrived at the trail to the top of the falls and got off the boat. We hiked up the trail and got to the top and saw the falls and rainbows.

We then got into our buses and moved to the ferry where we crossed the river and began our game drive. We saw animals like oribi (2nd smallest antelope), giraffe, buffaloes and many others. We went back to the camp site and had our lunch.

After lunch, we began our trip back to Gayaza High School and on the way at about 4: 20p.m we were met by the students on the second group that were also rushing to enter the national park before dark. We could not hold back but shout our excitement to the group that was wishing for the same.

The second group had spent their day visiting Asili Farm in Masindi where they were able to see the use of very high technology in Agriculture on an extensive farm. The excitement in their stories after this visit leaves one hoping that next time it will be our turn to visit.

On their way to the national park they had picked up one student from Kabalega Secondary School in Masindi to give him an opportunity of visiting the park. This conservation area is within his home area and yet the local population have minimal chances of entering the park. Unfortunately for the second group, it rained heavily from when they were entering the park to when they left the next day and thus could not experience all the tour activities apart from the game drive. The teachers did not get chance to go onto the game drive as one of the buses could not travel on the wet roads but instead found their way to see the water falls. They also had an experience because they had to push a vehicle out of the way that had fallen blocking the road due to the slippery conditions.

Monday 28th August 2017  

We woke up at 5:30am and breakfast was from 6:30 to 7:00am. Then the board was put up which had the allocation for our respective groups for the farm activities explained groups i.e. A, B, C, D and E. The groups were further divided into A1, A2, B1, B2, and C1 and so on.
This was done for easy administration and to make facilitation faster and effective i.e. if a group was given Matooke and biogas, the first group would do Matooke and the other would do biogas and later switch after an hour’s interval.

The morning activities ended at 11:30a.m and went up to have break tea. The mid-morning session began at noon and ended at 1:00pm then the campers went for their lunch.

The afternoon session began at 2:00pm till 4:20pm. At 4:20pm campers attended a UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) talk. The campers had an opportunity to talk to the executive director of UWA- Mr. James Musinguzi and had an encounter with real wildlife including parrots, a python and a tortoise. This was a learning experience for the campers and enabled some people to get over their fear of reptiles and birds.

 

After the talk, campers had evening tea and a Church service from 6:00pm to 7:00pm where the guest preacher, Mr. Atuhaire Frank delivered a powerful sermon. We had our supper at around 8:30pm and during this period, our fellow campers from the second route returned. The excitement grew louder since it was the first time for some people to meet their friends that they had not seen since we were in two separate routes. At the end of the day we had entertainment and went to bed by 11:00pm.

Tuesday 29th August, 2017

We woke up at 6:30am and showered and went up for breakfast. We then received the Rota of activities supposed to be done that day. We split into groups of class levels i.e. F1, F2 to F6 in our respective tents. We discussed activities that have been done so far in the camp and their integration in the different subjects in the curriculum i.e. Geography, Art, and Physics etc. Presentations were made by the different groups and we went for break.

 

During this time, the teachers were also attending a workshop facilitated by Agricultural Education Experts from the United states focusing on integration of the agricultural activities within the school curriculum.

After break tea, the different schools  presented their agriculture projects done in the past year back at school.

 

After the midmorning session, we had lunch at 1:00pm and after lunch we boarded different buses which were supposed to take us for the different farm tours.
The farms visited include; Gaza Dairy Farm, Sight Farm and Agromax. The bus I was in was to go to AGROMAX farm. Agromax is an Israel founded demonstration farm that mainly deals in horticulture. They welcomed us and explained to us the processes of vegetable growing in green houses and within the open fields. This was yet another life fulfilling tour and our faces showed it all.

We then returned to school at 6:00p.m and prepared for supper. We regrouped to the tents thereafter and we were split into our school class groups to discuss action plans. We retired to bed at 11:00pm with all our energy well spent.

Wednesday, 30th August- Final day;

We woke up even earlier than the other days since we had a lot of expectations for the last day. The Basketball teams were to start in a competition from 8:00a.m that focuses on “Basketball for Agribusiness”. During this time, there was a parallel session where agricultural experts from the U.S.A were training student leaders on “effective leadership within student clubs”.

At the same time, another team of experts was discussing with the teachers the opportunities in integrating agricultural activities within the various curriculum areas.

The start of the activities was sluggish as it was raining almost cats and dogs that morning.

On this day we were also expecting another team of 150 students and teachers, brought to us by the National Research Organisation-NARO under a NaCCRI programme facilitated by UBIC. These organisations had conducted an essay writing and drawing competition on Biotechnology in schools and the award ceremony was to be conducted as part of the camp activities on this last day. These participants and experts from NARO started trickling in under the rain and our team of ushers making use of the umbrellas donated by MOVIT came in handy to receive them.

By 9:00a.m our Chief guest for the morning part, the Honourable State Minister of Primary Education was arriving and she was to take a tour of the farm before settling in to officiate at the Biotechnology essay awards.  She was flanked by the Director of Basic Education and Secondary sector. At the farm she taken around by the peer facilitators who were exciting to listen to and caught the attention of the minister.

From the farm, she stopped by at the Basketball court to witness the sport of Basketball for Agribusiness and while there she got a briefing about the concept from the Patron of the MaryHill girls team. She was happy to meet the sports ladies whose focus was on learning how they can better their sporting activities through skilling in Agribusiness.

She was then welcomed by the Headmistress of Gayaza High School who ushered her into the tents were the closing ceremony was ongoing. The organisers of the essay competition briefed the minister about their activities and later on invited her to award the best pupils with certificates and goodies.

At the end of her speech, the chief guest left and we all started preparing for the afternoon session where another set of guest s were expected. The American Ambassador who was the chief guest in the afternoon arrived at exactly 2:00p.m and immediately went to view the students’ exhibitions.

She was excited to see the youth activities and the businesses that they were engaged in. In her speech, she encouraged us to learn a lot while at school and hoped that the schools will continue to open the space for practical learning. She apologized for the short time she had with us but hoped that in future she would find such time to learn more with the youth.

The closing ceremony continued with a number of speeches from officials within the Ministry of Agriculture and the Deputy FAO representative who officially closed the camp.

The judges for the schools’ competition thanked the students for the exhibitions and commended the best three teams. The best school was Iganga girls’ secondary school, followed by Tororo Girls and the third was Muyenga High School.

The teams that competed together with the facilitators were invited to cut the cake which we enjoyed together as participants of the 2017 Farm Camp.

Each of the winning three schools is to receive a heifer from Gayaza High School in a programme to promote the creation of student clubs in schools that will be referred to as the Youth Future Farmers of Africa. These student clubs will be supported and advised by teachers who belong to the Adult clubs that will be mentored through a national network of a coalition of members; teachers and educators within the agricultural sector. This network has been registered under the name “Teachers and Educators for the Future Farmers Africa Limited”- TEFFA.

The final day was climaxed with a bull roasting session where we all ate and drank and one could see the students and their teachers happily sharing as one family and each one of us new very well that our role was to take the learning from the camp and influence change within our schools and communities. During bull roasting, certificates were given out and this added the icing on the cake.

Then the celebration started and everybody got giggy and the giggy dance moved on.

Later on, at night we sat in our school teams and wrote down our action plans and hopefully the participants at the 2018 Farm Camp will use these plans as an evaluation basis for the impact of the camp. The teachers also held an evaluation meeting and agreed on the way forward for Agricultural Education in our schools.

It was a great camp and a learning opportunity for all the campers. See you in 2018.