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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Canada Day(s)!

On July 1st and 2nd we celebrated Canada Day with the students at Ihunga, Kahunga, Kitwe, and Nyamyerande primary schools. Some of these schools having been partnered with sister schools in Edmonton as part of Ainembabazi‘s Synergy Project which promotes a cultural exchange between the young people in the two countries, the education committee interns orchestrated Canada day celebrations in an effort to teach the students here a little bit more about Canada and its culture.

I can't attest to how much actual ‘culture’ was learned but it was confirmed that we all speak the same language of laughter. And laugh we did! The classes rotated between each of our stations and from flag making to hockey playing, from ‘snowball’ fights to Canada facts sharing, from snowflake creating to dancing and games, we covered all the bases of a typical elementary school experience back home!

Troy took on the hockey station while I was charged with shaking my booty at the dancing station. I do however deny all responsibility if the Ugandans happened to come away thinking that any one of the Electric Slide, the Twist, the Hokey Pokey, the Hawaiian Cowboy, or the Can-Can are in any way ‘official’ Canadian dances…

Troy taught them the finer points of hockey, or at least of being a hockey fan, an Oiler fan specifically. By the end of the day, he had all the kids chanting ‘Let’s go Oilers!’ and they had all but mastered ‘the wave‘.

While it was our intent to share a bit of Canada, we also came away with more than a little Ugandan culture. All the kids were eager to share a song or a dance to kick things off at my station, with The Calypso being a particular favorite. At Nyamyerande, the students prepared a play for us and also shared some traditional dance, while at Kahunga they pulled us into their spontaneous dance circle and tried to teach us some new moves!

We were very grateful to have been welcomed in with open arms and while we hope we left them with a glimpse of Canada, they left us with an invitation to return for Ugandan's independence day in October :). They also wouldn't let us ride away empty handed and between the team we were gifted close to 100 avocadoes, 100 passion fruit, a dozen papaya and pineapples and a couple dozen eggs….! It seems that gratitude was indeed felt both ways.

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