On Time [Adult Literacy Programme]

28th July 2017

Time passes slowly up here in the daylight We stare straight ahead and try so hard to stay right Like the red rose of summer that blooms in the day Time passes slowly and fades away

~Bob Dylan, Time Passes Slowly | New Morning, 1970

  Throughout my placement here in Busembatia, Uganda, time has been central to the entire experience. There is something quaintly and quietly off about the time here, in many ways. People keep time differently, even tell time differently than I am used to back home. Moreover, time passes fast and slowly. Days pass fleetingly and weeks last for months and months last forever and are out before you notice it. It has now been six months, almost to the day, since I arrived. Time ground to a halt for the first weeks, when everything was new. I would arrive a little before 2 in the afternoon, fully prepped for my introductory sessions with the women I would be spending months with. Knowing I knew not what to expect, I expected at least that my eagerness would be met. It was, even if it did not take the form of punctuality and a nervous energy to match mine. Joseph and I sat, as we would sit

21st June 2017

written by Meg Beare There are lots of ways in which teaching in Busembatia sometimes seems like an insurmountable challenge. At times the SRHR [Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights] team of Leah and I truly feel like strangers in a strange land. The classrooms we teach in are unplastered with no glass in the windows. Inside they are dark and cramped; desks packed so tightly together that students climb over each other to get to their seats.

“There is little to no formal education about contraceptives, so when they become sexually active, their reproductive control is limited”

But the state of the classrooms doesn’t even figure as a concern here. The girls who pile into our classrooms face sexual health challenges that are immediate and intense. A quarter of girls in Uganda between ages 15 to 19 are pregnant or already have a child. There is little to no formal education about contraceptives, so when they become sexually active, their reproductive control is limited. In addition, poverty makes them easy targets for older men,

5th May 2017

“Many women here are not married and are finding it hard to live a good life.”

Ruth is a mother of 7. She is proud to be. Ruth is happy here in Busembatia. She is glad to be able to further her education. Her mother lives in nearby Namatumbe. She’s still alive and for that Ruth is thankful. “I am happy with my family. I am happy to be married and have a home to live in.” Many women here are less fortunate. They have to raise a lot of children alone, says Ruth, because men chase them away.

“If someone fails to marry, that’s a very big failure. Then you are not a good community member.”

It is a common problem. Ruth has seen it happen to women in her community. Women will have children with a man and believe that to be enough prove of marriage. Men, she says, are desperate and often unsatisfied with their wife. “When he sees a beautiful women he tries. In that desperation he produces a lot of children without self control.” He will then ignore his responsibilities. The women are left to fend for themselves. They will not have a marriage certificate. “They have nothing to fall back on.”

“Women should know how to go into marriage. They should know they are not supposed to be