A Ugandan Field Trip

By: ‘Biz’ Alexis Deeb

I was invited to join the primary seven class on their field trip to Kampala to see the King of Buganda’s Palace and the amusement park, Wonderland. “We will pick you up at 8 am sharp” Headmaster Paul told me. Now, on Ugandan time ‘8 am sharp’ can mean anywhere from 9-10 AM, as some of you may know. I was surprised when the matatu got to the clinic at 8:30!

I piled into a matatu with my primary seven class. In a vehicle licensed to hold and carry 14 passengers, we were on our way to Kampala with 30. Most of the children in this class have yet to see life outside of Ddegeya village. It is no wonder that the level of excitement aboard this matutu was riveting. All the students were singing songs in Luganda, talking loudly amongst themselves, and when I looked around the matutu, I was blinded by their bright white smiles.

Our first stop was the King of Buganda’s palace. The entire tour was in Luganda, so I struggled to follow along. Luckily the tour guide came to me after the end of each segment and translated the information to English. I followed for the most part, and it was quite interesting. I looked around at the kids during the tour… some of them yawning and it was easy for me to see that their attention span was fading.

This all changed when we got to Wonderworld. I really never expected to visit an amusement park in my time here in Uganda. This place reminded me of an amusement park from my childhood and it felt like I took a trip down memory lane. It was equipped with a superb playground, bumper cars, a pirate ship, water slides, a monorail (like Disney!), an octopus ride, and a little roller coaster. It was phenomenal.

The afternoon was spent running around the park with the kids having such innocent fun. Headmaster Paul of St. Gertrudes along with three other teachers even joined in on the fun. We got to go on rides over and over, and “fast passes” were not needed, like in Disney, because we mostly had the whole amusement park to ourselves!

Seeing these kids have so much fun made me so incredibly happy. Their eyes lit up like light bulbs and it was clear to see that they were having the time of their life. Let’s just say the trip home in the matatu was much more quiet than the trip out- the kids were completely wiped from a long day!