This was a great week to end on. PSF was one of the main highlights of my trip and this experience reminded me of why that time was so special: working with a motivated, interesting group of people on a project that you care about.
We met up with the volunteering team from Equipe on the Saturday which was headed up by Joe's parents. There were two main projects: one was teaching based at a school and another was a pastors conference. While Joe went to the latter, I spent my time at the school. At Pisco I was involved in 3 different teaching projects which made me interested to see how the system in Uganda compares.
While the facilities were more modest than what I found in Peru, the teaching was more structured and the children were genuinely interested in what you had to say. My work here was also more demanding as I found out when I was ushered into a class of 30 gaping 10 year olds and was instructed to teach them about some obscure part of English grammar that I hadn't heard of. You can do this without a TEFL course but in the future I would try and complete one before I went away as they are a useful tool in structuring information that you can then more easily pass on.
Geography and some pseudo economics were more fun to teach, sport was an easy crowd pleaser and music was particularly popular in the younger toddler classes. One disappointment of the system here is the complete lack of teaching for the humanities and arts. I can understand why you would want to prioritise maths and science but to not have history, geography, English literature, music or art in the timetable is a strange and short sighted decision. Humans aren't machines, they are creative and stretch far beyond the imagination of science and maths. Abandoning these areas of study, which underpin much of our identity, will be to our detriment in the future.
For most of the week we helped the PE teacher with preparations for their sports day which was the following week. Some of the favourites were on the list such as the sack race and egg and spoon race while some more cultural events included the slightly hygienically questionable race of 'bottle filling' which involved the child to carry water in their mouth to fill up a bottle that had been in circulation for a number of years. At least everyone seemed to be enjoying it!
As soon as I arrived into Manchester on the Friday I would have to get a train to London to pick up my accreditation and Olympic uniform in preparation for training the next day. Organising this didn't allow much time to reflect on the past few months but it is something I will consider more over the next week. I really enjoyed spending time with the team in Uganda and it's disappointing I can't stay any longer with them. Africa is a place that I will have to return to in a few years. It was also far more complex than I ever could have imagined. In Uganda, there are 33 tribes which make up the country and they all have their individual chiefs or kings. Combine this with most of the towns then having a separate mayor and finally add the president at the top. You are left with a very difficult power struggle which doesn't look like subsiding any time soon.
I think most humans have an inveterate desire to explore and travel. After 20 weeks on the road it is something that I would happily recommend to anyone. Just don't have a fixed idea of what you want to find.