Drum Beats “R EJOIC E W IT H US!” UC E Test Scor es Ou tsta n ding
Tusiime Christine proudly holds her certificate showing her second in the entire Kibaale District
The scores are in! The results of the Uganda Certificate of Education Examination (UCE) show that 55% of the S4 class earned a top score of Division One and 45% of the class ranked in Division Two. What a wonderful achievement! One of the girls, Tusiime Christine, was second in the entire Kibaale District; Muhumuza Josephine was fifth in the District.
Overall, across the nation, it has been noted that the girls’ scores this year were remarkably poorer than in the past. Sad to say, they never have been much to speak of to begin with. This is all the more reason for all of you to rejoice with us for the success of our girls. It is thanks to the dedication of genuinely caring teachers who gave generously of their own time and talents to work with the girls over and above their class periods. Naturally, we hoped our girls would do well and had high hopes for some Division Ones. But we truly could not have dreamed that our students would do as well as they did. So thanks again for all your love, support and prayers. Sister Mary Rita and Sister Anita Marie For the primary school this is the fourth time to have P7 students sit for the PLE exams and we have reported on that each year; but for the girls at NDASSS it is their first time to take the UCE exams. There is heavy pressure for all S4 students in all of Uganda to do well on these tests mainly because a good performance opens the door for higher education. The girls at NDASSS were no exception. For the complete list of results, please turn to page 3.
S4 girls studying for the UCE and the S4 class anxiously awaits the results of the UCE
Buseesa, Uganda Volume 13 Issue 1 March 2007
Means Of Transportation Ingenious Ways to Get Around
Buseesa is an isolated and remote area, with the nearest paved road a one and a half hour drive away. How do people of the village get around with means of transport so limited? Many of them don’t, of course. They spend their entire life in or near Buseesa and have not even seen Kampala, Uganda’s only real city and the capital, which is a 3-4 hour drive by car. The fundamental means of travel is walking (or “footing” as the locals say). It is amazing to us Americans how easily and far Ugandans walk. Students routinely walk to and from school over distances of 68 miles one way. For less frequent journeys, walking all day to reach a destination by nightfall is commonplace. One of the young women who visited our formation house for a time came via an 8-hour walk from her hometown. The distance is challenging enough, but often such journeys are made with 20-litre jerrycans of water on one’s head or huge bunches of bananas thrown over one’s shoulder. The second most common means of travel is the bicycle. For those lucky enough to own one, this machine is not only transport for oneself, but also for all sorts of goods. Everything from enormous clumps of vegetation for animal feed to pigs trussed up for ChristGoing home by bicycle mas dinner to racks of clothing to be sold in the nearest town can be seen somehow balanced in front or in back of the bicycle rider. Public transport takes two forms - boda-boda and taxi. The former is a motorcycle hired to transport passengers. Enterprising young men in every town congregate with their machines in hopes of finding people in need of a ride. The load is supposed to be one person plus the driver, but often 2 or 3 passengers crowd on. Navigating the ruts and mud of Kibaale roads is bad enough. Seeing these drivers manipulate the streets of Kampala, weaving through the press of traffic that can only be described as chaotic, makes one start in fear or stare in wonder, depending on whether one is concentrating on the fate of the passenger or the skill of the driver. Taxis are minivans, licensed to carry 14 passengers. Usually, the number is erased from the outside of the vehicle so that the phrase reads “Licensed to carry passenContinued on page 3
An overloaded bodaboda and taxi
Reflections on Life and Changes in Buseesa
Photo by Patrick Henry
Sister Anita Marie and Sister Mary Delrita share a story while enjoying their home visit.
SISTER MARY DELRITA WRITES:
Sisters Mary Delrita and Anita Marie Sister Mary Delrita school has now developed into our own 6 dormitories and classroom (right) and Sister Anita block. We are presently finishing construction of a science lab and adMarie (left) returned to ministration block. Then we will work on setting up a computer lab Covington, Kentucky in one of the classrooms for the use of all of St Julie Mission. This is for their regular home possible by a grant from a genvisits. Each spent time erous benefactor. We have so visiting with relatives much to be grateful for from and friends, giving talks all the many generous people at schools and churches who have made all of this posand shopping for a few sible. necessities that they can …Formation is really growing. take back to the misWe presently have 3 candision. They each were dates, 3 postulants, 2 novices asked to share their reand 2 junior professed sisters. flections on the mission God is good! Now in the village in Buseesa, Uganda. of Buseesa I would say that our
…The people in the village are a seeming contradictory mixture of a simplicity that is content and a strong desire to improve their lot. They are grateful; they have an interpersonal gentleness and a firm attachment to protocol. They are secure in “the old ways” yet want to learn new things. …In my 11 years at the mission I have had many responsibilities mostly in the area of support services for the boarding school: teacher for health classes, library set up, supervisory role in the dorms, kitchen, and maintenance. I also companioned young women who were preparing to become Sisters of Notre Dame.
…My dream for the village of Buseesa is that the people continue with their deep faith and trust in our good God and that as electricity and other advances come to our area that attitude will not change. I would dream of clean, running water and better health care opportunities.
Educational Conference in Brazil
Sister Mary Delrita helps out a St. Julie Primary student in the school library.
…While living in Uganda I have seen many advancements in the standard of living: • • • • •
Sister Anita Marie helping a
St. Julie farm and some jobs NDASSS student with a physics that are available on the school problem. premises have helped develop this area. It has been a security for the people in this area to be able to find employment. We presently employ between 30-40 people who are villagers.
More houses have corrugated tin roofs rather than thatched ones More houses are made with brick rather than mud and wattle More people have cell phones More people are wearing shoes Telephone poles and wires are being installed to provide electricity for the village
…My hope for Buseesa is that there will be local leaders who are honest, capable, community minded and who have a practical vision for the development of the area. Hopefully, there will be a wider job market, better roads and communication, some local leisure activities and the ability of the people to enjoy them.
A representative group of the Sisters of Notre Dame traveled to Brazil from all over the world to attend the Fourth Education Conference in the history of the order. The last one was held in 1950 in Rome, Italy. There were many languages spoken at this conference by individual participants but the talks and presentations were given in three major languages: German, Portuguese and English. One became very adept at manipulating the switches of the boxes that would allow her to hear the translation of the talks in a language she understood. Sister Mary Sujita was not able to be present at the meeting due to the death of her mother but she sent a copy of her opening talk to Sister Mary Francis who delivered it to the attendees. One of the main issues addressed in the talk was the emphasis that the sisters must have for those who are poor and on being in solidarity with them. Sister Mary Sujita quoted Fr. Kolvenbach, SJ in her address: “Solidarity is learned through ‘contact’ rather than through ‘concept.’ When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change.”
SISTER ANITA MARIE WRITES: …Sister Mary Rita and I came in 2002 to begin the secondary school in February of 2003. I began the first year by teaching Math, Physics, Biology and Chemistry to the incoming S1 students. It wasn‘t long before my knowledge of biology was exhausted and now I teach Math and Physics to S1 -S4 along with a partner teacher Ewaku Nelson. I also am the deputy of the school (assistant principal) and bursar and work with finances for St. Julie Convent. …There are many changes in the country since I arrived 4 years ago. The secondary school, which started with 22 students, has grown to 120 and the first classroom and dorm that was part of the primary
Sister Mary Rita giving her presentation on education in Uganda at the SND Education Conference in Brazil
Sister Mary Rita, principal at Notre Dame Academy in Buseesa, Uganda was at the conference representing the SND’s in Africa. She had spent many hours throughout the year 2006 preparing her presentation so that it would be representative of the educational system in the parts of Africa where the Sisters serve. Now that the success the S4 girls enjoyed in the leaving exams have confirmed the concepts that are being taught there is hope that the direct contact with villagers will also be an avenue for the change needed to improve their lives in some way.
Fr. Francis Visits the United States Fr. Komakech Francis, Pastor of Ugandan Martyrs Parish, Buseesa, Uganda, visited the U.S.A. in June of ‘06. He wanted to express his gratitude to the many benefactors for all that has been accomplished in Buseesa. Father is 35 years of age and has been pastor at the parish in Buseesa for 4 years. His duties include visiting 19 outstations, which in the Fr. Komakech Francis, Pastor U.S. would be called parishes, and of Ugandan Martyrs Parish, as pastor he shepherds over 20,000 Buseesa, Uganda parishioners. He says Mass in Buseesa on Sunday and a second Mass at one of the outstations. He has really tried to reach each outstation either by truck, bicycle or foot. He said that when he goes to some of the places there are almost 300 people waiting for confessions before Mass starts. If he goes to a distant place where he hasn’t been for a while, there might be fifty or sixty baptisms before Mass. After Mass he makes five or six sick calls. Father noted that since the arrival of the Sisters of Notre Dame the people of the area are taking more interest in education. Girls in particular now have more opportunities for advancement. According to Father, another “gift” that the Sisters bring to the local people is employment. There are many jobs as teachers, cooks, matrons, maintenance workers, and farm workers. Because of employment the daily lives of many villagers have changed. Now they are able to provide better for their families. Father concludes by Ugandan Martyrs Parish, Buseesa, Uganda saying, “The sisters have been a great help to me with the parish. Our relationship is growing so strongly. We work and pray together, help and advise one another.”
The UCE test results for the S4 class of NDASSS students are: Name and Division: Ayesiga Maria Goretti Basemera Rosetta Busobozi Rovince 2 Kansiime Pauline Kyaligonza Scholastic Muhumuza Josephine Nakakooza Madrine Nakyoole Heleen Namubiru Joyce Tumuhimbse Vastine
1 Nakawesa Lydia 1 Birungi Beatrace Kitiibwa Felista 2 1 Nakachwa Sarah 1 Nakiito Annet 1 Namale Annet 2 Nankusu Jane 2 Tusiime Christine 2 Nankumba Lilian 2 Twasiime Agatha
1 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 1
Hello Sponsor, I am really very grateful to send you this sincere thanks. The only way to thank you is through this letter. God is the only one who knows what is in my heart. Your have really done a great service for us. I pray for graces and love of the Lord to come upon you so you may continue serving. The Lord is pleased with your service. Thank you very much. Since I have been in school, my great aim is to become a very great scientist or a doctor. I want to save the lives of the people in my country. But the bad thing is, the education system of Uganda has a very long procedure. I wish I was studying in your country. A person can easily die here before finishing her studies. I am at Notre Dame Academy and the place is very nice. How about your school there? I think it is the same. I love studying very much but I want to tell the president to make the procedure shorter. I wish you the best. May the good Lord protect you abundantly. Yours, Asiimwe Sarah
Transportation, continued from page 1
gers.” In reality, people are crammed inside until even the operator judges that one more will cause bone damage. Overloading is illegal, but people made to exit by the police merely re-board around the next bend in the road. Because of overloading, taxis frequently break down on the roads. Passengers are then left to fend for themselves. Sometimes, taxis take alternate routes without informing passengers and people end up in places they don’t want to go and know nothing about. The vehicles are given colorful names like “God Will Take Care” and “Big Daddy” which are displayed across the windshields. One would think twice about riding in a taxi called “With God’s Help We Will Arrive.” Unofficial public transport is any vehicle that moves. There are always persons on the roadside ready to jump into the first pickup lorry (truck) that passes by. Even if the back is loaded high with grain bags or long-horned cattle, people climb up and ride atop the goods. If the grain shifts or one loses balance above a bull horn... well, it’s the chance one takes.
Unofficial public transportation
Since the roads are not always safe is anything that moves. This (robbers are the threat), people tend truck is loaded with cargo and passengers, a familiar sight in to travel in groups, even on foot. Uganda. Going some distance with one’s life in the hands of a boda-boda driver or having one’s journey made possible by the generous offer of a ride, gives travel a communal aspect not found in more developed lands. Even the crunch of taxi travel might be interpreted as forced communality. So, travel in Buseesa is a challenge, an adventure and perhaps a blessing.
Sisters of Notre Dame Mission Office 1601 Dixie Highway Covington, KY 41011
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Please help our mission in Uganda! We are grateful for all the support you have given to the mission in the past years and we ask for your continued help. May you be blessed for your participation in partnering with the Sisters of Notre Dame to support the mission in Buseesa, Africa.
Exploding Water Tank and Earthquake Shake Buseesa Sister Mary Judith writes: “One of the large water tanks on the primary school property exploded recently! This is a 5000-litre tank made of some sort of plastic and filled with rainwater. One evening after dark it just blew apart. Not just developed a tear and leaked. It blew apart, sending pieces of itself along with water all over the place. We are grateful that no kids were yet around because it was very close to the playground. No one (including the company who made it and installed it) has a clue what the cause could be. All they can say is that they will replace it and it won’t happen again. Sister Mary Janet writes: “Greetings from Buseesa! What a day this has been!!! It started at 5:34 a.m. with an earthquake that made us all shake with fear. Usually the quakes are slight, but this one really shook the house, earth and even knocked things over. It lasted a long time. Can you imagine what iron sheet roofs sound like with a house shaking? We had an after shock also. Our St. Julie kids were frightened, but stayed rather calm, but the NDA girls were screaming. Several Sisters went to the primary school and to NDA to check on things. This quake disturbed everyone for most of the day. It was scary.”
Electricity is Coming to Buseesa Electrical power is found in Uganda in the big cities such as Kampala and Entebbe. It has been unheard of in the remote villages like Buseesa. Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, has promised for some time that he will have electrical power extended to rural areas but it seems an eternity since that was first announced. Early on, solar panels were installed on the convent, which was a weak source in evening and night hours. An electric generator was also available which was used to convert chemical energy into useful electrical energy. Although all of these devices are better than nothing they don’t open doors very wide for advancement in modern day education. That time in history is about to turn a corner. Electric poles and wires have been installed in the village. This will allow the possibility of using computers and accessing the internet. This will open a whole new world for the students who will soon be able to communicate with others in various parts of the world. The Notre Dame province in California has received a grant to purchase computers for the school. Research is now being done on the best way to obtain these important educational devices. All are waiting anxiously for this new adventure to begin.
Means of Transportation Reflections on Life and Changes in Buseesa Exploding Water Tank & Electricity in Buseesa