I have just returned to Uganda, and Dan Ahimbisibwe, the librarian at Kitengesa, has been briefing me about what is going on at the library. The place has become busier than ever. Three classes from the neighboring primary school, P4, P5, and P6 (equivalent of Grades 4-6), come every week for a scheduled period. Since there are about 50 children in each group, Dan puts them in the newly opened hall, and when we have volunteers from Canada, as we do for about six months of the year, the volunteers work with the children. Three classes from Kitengesa Comprehensive Secondary School, S1, S2, and S3 (equivalent of Grades 8-10) also come to the library for a scheduled class period, and again the volunteers work with them--yesterday, when I arrived, a couple of volunteers were helping the students read a newspaper article and look up in a dictionary the words they did not know. Best of all, children are coming to the library on their own. Yesterday when I arrived some 15 children from the nearby primary school were there even though it was not a scheduled library period for them. Apparently their classmates were busy rehearsing for the Education Week celebrations next week, but these particular children were not involved so were spending the time in the library. They were sitting round the table with a pile of books in front of them and each was reading one. One of the volunteers commented that they often come like this and immediately grab books to read.
In addition, the volunteers are now taking books to another school, Hillview Primary School, and have recently taken to visiting regularly the nearby school for the deaf. One of these volunteers knows some American Sign Language, and they are all busy learning Ugandan Sign (I had lunch with them at Dan's house yesterday, and much of the conversation was about particular Sign words). This relationship with the deaf children is quite a breakthrough, and we'll follow it up with a special Children's Day for them.