Sunday, January 18, 2009

Boarding School in Uganda

This post has been contributed by my 16 year old Ugandan daughter Christine (actually, her birth name is Christina, like mine, but she's accustomed to being called Christine - which saves a lot of confusion around here.) As I wrote in my last post, Christine left boarding school last year. She has been living at home with us in Kampala since April.

As a proud mom, I just have to mention that I only corrected one very small typo in what Christine gave to me to post - as I'm sure every reader will be, I am so very impressed with her writing style! (Bravo, my dear!)

In Uganda, most parents take their children to boarding school because they believe it is the best place for them in terms of education. I’m not a parent but I’ve been in Uganda martyrs secondary school, a boarding school for about two years and while I was there I didn’t like it that much for various reasons you will get to know. What surprises me most is that some parents take their kids to boarding school as early as when they are just six .To me it seems like they are abandoning their parental duties and paying someone else to do it for them forgetting that this someone is not going to convey equal love to a strangers child and his/her own. Therefore, I think these children end up missing out on something as they grow.

A school term in Uganda lasts three months and for someone in boarding school this means three full months away from home and the people you know well enough to always confide in them. Now that is one of the reasons that made me so glad to leave boarding because in those three very long months, the ministry of education of my country has assigned only one day when parents can come and spend ample time with their children. But unfortunately you still don’t get to go to home unless you fall really sick which means the whole point of going home is destroyed.

In boarding school I usually had a feeling that my brain was being over worked because we usually had like four hours every week day when we were out of class and the teachers strict supervision so this means that we would go to bed at about 9:30 pm or for some classes 10:30 pm and wake up at 5:00 am without fail because failure to do so was equivalent to a punishment for a given period of time. Because of this, I fell asleep during most of the classes therefore missing a lot of important information and thus getting poor results at the end of the year which is totally frustrating. But now that I’ve moved from a boarding school to a day school, I see an improvement in my academic performance and I think this is because I get enough rest.

Last year, many stories appeared in the newspapers about dormitories being burnt by unknown people for unknown reasons too and in one of the stories, twenty girls between the ages of ten and eleven lost their lives because they were locked in from the outside therefore, there was no way of escape. This made many parents worried about their children’s safety and their future as well and when I finally left boarding school I was so glad because I seriously don’t want my life to end just like that before I’ve seen the world, met many people and much more.


Christine said...

I,m subscribing to the comments so that I get them by email

John Powers said...

Christine thank you very much for posting. Something a bit strange about the online world is how friends of friends of friends become visible to us. I always want my friends to be friends with each other, but I know that doesn't always work out. Still I think the wider circle of friends that online makes happen makes people try to be more responsible.

Your post raises so many important topics. Parents send children away to school because it's one way for children to get a good education. Now people can dream up good ways to provide the sorts of resources needed for a top notch education that don't necessarily require students all to be in one place. I'm so happy to hear that you are thinking hard and dreaming about it. You are not the only one.

There are so many challenges connected together in so many different ways that it's always hard to figure out how to do something new. A new way of schooling may take some long time to take effect. But there are steps to be taken now too. You writing a post is one example.

Right now you are making many decisions about how to compose your life. I'm not sure that organizing a new way of education in Uganda is at the top of your list. But I am sure that whatever your interests are there are very many others who share similar interest and are eager to share. So I hope that this will not be your last post.

Peter Eichstaedt said...

I invite you to see my new book on Uganda's child soldiers, titled First Kill Your Family: Child Soldiers of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army. It's available at You can see more at and follow the issue at

Shawn4lia said...

Christine, you are a beautiful person inside and out. I wish you every success in school and in life. Thank you for a most interesting post.

Windmill said...

Hello Christine,

You write beautifully. Thank you for sharing your experience of what it is like living at a Boarding School.

As an orphan, I have had similar experiences. The longest ever was when I was 12 years and lived with 54 other boys at a "boarding house".

The rigours of living in a boarding house reminds me of similar circumstance that your related.

We were so young but forced to wake up at 5:30 every morning. Then we had to attend Catholic Mass at a Chapel, hurry through breakfast and off to school.

Back after school we hardly had time for ourselves. Even our shower time was limited to 5 minutes. Oh there is so much that I could write and it supports much of what you relate.

Anways, be ever so grateful that you have found such a wonderful Mom and brothers. Make them proud of you.

I hope that you will find fulfillment in your endeavours. You must share your strengths with your fellow countrymen. Uganda can only reach greatness when there are citizens like you.

God Bless you Always,


PinkLady said...

Christine, this is a beautiful post. It's so sad how kids there need to separate from their parents to get good education. I can see that you are so beautiful and intelligent. Continue writing here and maybe someday you will have the time to start your own blog.

Christina, I love your site. You have so much love for your children and the people of Uganda. May God bless your good heart.

For this, there are 2 awards waiting for you at my site. Please visit and claim your awards.


RE Ausetkmt said...

I agree with John, it's nice to meet you; as a friend of a friend.

tell me, do you have the same level of classes at your day school ? and are the day school classes crowded ?

I'm glad to see you are getting good grades, because it means you are learning.

Please continue to update us on your progress in class, and at home; as it is an interesting read.

Cheers My New Friend - and to you to Christina !

~RE - in Detroit, MI

Christine said...

Hi I must say your comments are awesome and very encouraging.Hopefully this will not be my last,I'll try writing more.

day boardingschool said...

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