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Nomada lllll africa ll north america l central america l south america

caning children, ju ju magic, ancient sewing

UGANDA | Wednesday, 7 April 2010 | Views [1884]

i wanted to add my final thoughts of uganda as i was rushed on my last entry.

to speak of the caning. we all know this existed in our parents time. you know they say "when i was a kid...they used a big paddle...etc". the reality doesnt quite hit home until you see it in front of your face. there is a certain level of responsibility that i believe can be taken on as a teacher to ensure your students have appropriate respect and dicipline while still allowing their individual growth and neurological neurishment. what i have found is that the children in africa has the uptmost of respect for their teachers. there are several reasons why i see this as being so contrasting to american school.

for example when a child enters a room they only do so after removing their shoes and asking permission from the teacher. theyre also the ones responsible for cleaning and maintaining a tidy learning space. when in the class children only speak when spoken to and never will you find a teacher being called by their common name. if you request a student help you retrieve something, they jump up and run to the destination to complete it as a fast as possible. it seems somewhat dreamy but admittedly a bit overwhelming at times when you want to see their authentic childlike spirits.

i can say tis nice children take their education seriously as they know it is their only means of their families survival and prosperous future. they definately do not take the opportunity for grantid. but i also see this is instilled in them because of a fear of being punished for misdoings. the problem is sometimes their punishments are not deserved. a simple slap on the hand or butt with a cane is seemingly effective if a child violates rules of respect or order in the classroom. however what i witnessed in uganda at a local school was nearly too much to bear...

during on week i saw the headmaster pull nearly 250 students from their classroom to slap each of them on butt with a cane. that was every student and every grade in the school. he didnt do it very hard but when i questioned about the reason i realized there was no reason. the process seemed a device for creating fear and they felt encouraging them to study hard for exams. this wasnt the straw that broke the camels back though. i found out that the following day once again the head master did the same thing for every class. same unaccounted for reason. i also was witness to the headmaster hitting children in the face for fighting back and not taking punishment with full respect. after i had taught grade 6 a lesson on fine art, i made the mistake of asking the headmaster to come in and see their progress. i promised i would never do this again as i saw nearly half of my students get slapped very hard in the face if the headmaster didnt like their drawing skills. but it wasnt even that, i even saw him slap a boy before he had even looked at the paper. this was my fault for bringing him in and i had punished my students to undue violence.

i know running around creating havoc for my parents and being slapped on the butt with a spoon really taught me a firm lesson in dicipline to which i rarely misbehaved in the same manner again. i do not speak out against this action as a means of child abuse nor do i believe it is a process that parents should avoid with their children if they deem worthy, however i cannot handle the idea of a child being beaten for unknown causes. the sadness and anger i experienced during my short time at this school was the effect i saw this process having on the headmaster who gleamed with undaunting dignified stride as he walked away from his child victims. this made me so sad and i can only hope that they can progress to a system of limits as they once had in the past of our american education system.

while leaving gganda village one day i was able to witness the juju magic ceremony i had been waiting for. although i wasn't close enough to the action to really experience the full effects, i felt a passionate mystic feeling fill my body as i watched the juju circle take place. men an women stood near a large circular grass hut. women wore baka cloth wrapped on their bodies as the clotth is gathered from the sacred baka tree's bark for sacred ceremony.a man stepped forward and broke the neck of a hen who flopped around in pain as the magicians and onlookers peered at the patterns the animal created in its final minutes of life. all was silent minus the animals cries. although i was sad at the life of this creature being taken, i could only embrace in that moment the wonder and amazement i felt at being able to see this wonderous connection with natures natural ability to predict or determine our futures. the group continued the ceremony inside the grass hut where i was unable to see the final ceremonies but i felt blessed at least to have been able to get my first taste of this saught after african tradition. i only hope to join in hands on with these juju magicians next time i travel to uganda.

i had a great time working with the kids to create art to help sustain their program at kinhouse. while i was there i was able to connect to a centuries old instrument as i sewed all day and night for a week or two on a hand cranked non electric machine. it was so nice to be able to use this machine that not only weighed nearly 50pounds but also carried the history of ancestors who once cranked the handle preparing ancient textiled clothing and african fibered designs. if i  was going to create anything in a sustainable fashion while i was here, this was a great way to manifest this electric free mannual device of art.

goodbye to uganda for now. my blood pulses with the beat of africas pearled state

Tags: black magic, caning children, juju magic, sewing machine, uganda

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