This afternoon we went to a small school in the Soweto of Jinja. This is one of the two largest slum regions of the city. Help Primary School was started by a man whose name I forget. The meaning of his name will stick forever.
The Traveler.He grew up on the streets of the Soweto. At some point in his childhood living on the streets he contracted cerebral malaria. He walks with a limp and a crutch. He persevered through struggles in a community that is known for disease and poverty to start Help Primary School in order to give the children of Masese an education and help them find hope for their future.
In order to get there, though, you have to travel through the slums. You wonder how people live in a place that resembles the destruction of a tornado. But they do. If they are lucky, they have some form of a store in the front of this building that also serves as their home. If they aren’t, there is no store and no home. Some live in buildings made from cargo containers, setting up shop to sell what they can.
Once you pass through the gates of Help Primary School you would wonder if you are in the same community. Yes, like the entire country of Uganda, HPS shows signs of a poor economy, but they also provide a place for the students that might in fact be a place of rest from the struggles of the outside world.
As I took this picture of the school building it hit me. Everything in Uganda is the color of terracotta. The grounds were not overrun with grass and weeds like outside the walls of the compound. The kids laughed and some were kicking a flattened soccer ball around.
School, Help Primary School to be exact, turns out to be a place where an education, where time in school, may give a chance for someone who started out as a traveler to in fact leave the slum that has been their life with the help of Traveler.