We Love You, But Good Riddance!

By on January 10, 2022

This week is a landmark week in Uganda. It is the week when expectation and reality finally meet head to head to have that horrible discussion about why they are so far apart. Parents have been looking forward to their little ones going back to school, for different reasons. Some have struggled with the little scoundrels for nearly two years it almost feels like they (the parents) have no life anymore. 

It has become increasingly difficult for parents to have any loud sex in their own houses because the kids have been around all day and all night for such a long time. In addition, it has also become a problem having to feed little humans who eat and drink endlessly with no regard for where the food comes from. Then there is the small matter of running the Yaka meter, hiking the water bill and swallowing Mobile data like the proverbial crocodile. Some of these little humans have constantly fallen sick and needed immediate and often expensive attention. 

It is safe to say that many parents are looking forward to the much-needed break.

Many parents truly can’t wait for their kids to go back to school so that teachers can resume their God-allocated responsibility of raising kids on behalf of parents. Many adults had never figured out what parenting looked like until the pandemic. For close to two years they have been stuck with kids they gave birth to but barely know, trying to survive each day in the same house with the little rascals like it’s the Armageddon and whoever blinks first shall be eaten.

Finally, all this is coming to an end.

Children in Uganda are finally going back to school after what seems like an eternity. Schools in Uganda have been closed either partially or fully for a whopping Eighty weeks! Basically, learners have not been able to properly and fully go to school for 560 days. From the look of things, it seems the pandemic affected us a lot more than it did the rest of the world because nowhere else in the world have schools been closed for this long. 

This week, schools are reopening and it is guaranteed to be one of the busiest weeks in the life of the ordinary Ugandan with or without a child. For those with children, there are obvious sleepless nights arising from school fees, tuition-related issues, requirements and all manner of expenses. Then there are the sleepless nights from worrying about which class/school to take your children to. I mean, if the pandemic found your child in Primary Five, are they now ready for Primary Six or do they just proceed to Primary Seven. Perhaps they should just think about joining Form One altogether. The confusion is going to be quite something. 

And for those of us who are lucky/unlucky not to have kids, we shall equally be struggling with the madness caused by school-going scoundrels nad their parents/guardians. There is naturally going to be plenty of traffic because the days when our parents used to walk 20 Kilometers to go to school are no more. Nowadays, every child must be dropped in an expensive car, some with a fleet of cars and others with an entire car bond in a queue. The roads are going to be a hell of a place for the next week or so. Not to mention the hiking of prices of nearly everything. There is this misguidede assumption that suddenly parents have a little more money than they usually have so prices of things go up. Such madness!

In the early days of the pandemic when things were grinding to a halt, many children were excited that they were going to get a break from school, albeit for all the wrong reasons. Many months later, it seems apparent to most if not all school-going children that going to school is not as bad as they thought it was. Many young folks missed their friends, many actually preferred to be at school with their peers as opposed to being home with abusive, poor, angry, and disillusioned parents. So for such children, a return to school life is not just a relief but a much-needed breath of fresh air. 

In the days and weeks leading up to this week, there has been a lot of talk around the school fees and tuition structures that institutions have put in place for this Back to School season. The general consensus seems to be that contraception needs to be embraced by many more people. The economy is in shambles, schools are charging an arm and a leg for school fees and yet we have barely gotten back to normal operations in terms of business. It is one big regrettable mess. And as such, more and more people are of the rather radical view that bearing kids in this economy is really just an unwise thing unless one has a Gamba Nogu in a high place, a large property they own in Kampala or a well oiled Government job. 

The overwhelming opinion has been that education is slowly becoming something accessible only by the rich but it appears even simply raising a child is going to be something only the wealthy can do. The rest of us who look at our bank balances and cringe in fear and disappointment will do what we do best – be wonderful Uncles and Aunties to all those chubby and shapeless bundles of joy that are proudly shared on Facebook and on WhatsApp statuses. 

For the most part, teachers have been leading lives of uncertainty and near apathy. I mean, if you are unemployed for the better part of two years, it is going to take a whole lot of encouragement and inspiration for you to get back to where you were before the pandemic; spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It would be nice if we all set out to be nice and kind and polite with teachers because they have struggled a lot (just like everyone else) in the past two years and now they are expected to perform at full capacity and ability like nothing happened. Teachers, educators and people in the education sector need a lot more than just niceness and kindness. They need money in their pockets, inspiration in their hearts, willing learners in their classrooms and a supportive Government in charge.

It must also be noted that a good number of students will not go back to school for one reason or another. Some have since lost the people who would have catered for their education bills and needs. Some, especially the young girls, have had to cut their education short because of the patriachial demons of early pregnancy. There are also those who no longer see any purpose in education because during the lockdown, they engaged in business and now the business looks like it will give them a lot more than education ever could. 

A special moment of prayer must be allocated for the children who will stay home simply because they can no longer afford the fees and tuition. For those, we hope and pray the Good Lord or the Government finds a solution for them – whichever of the two is ready and willing. 

I wish all school goers a successful and seemless return to school and I wish all teachers and educators a smooth time bringing their learners up to speed. I also wish all parents who are struggling with fees get some repreive and I hope that those not bothered by fees are not insensitive to the plight of the parents.

Enjoy the week and stay alive as we get ready for the lifting of curfew.

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. – John Dewey

a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
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Beewol - The Talkative Rocker