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Guest Blog 2 – Beverley Steensma


This morning I woke up to a fierce thunderstorm with wind, rain and no electricity (a common occurrence in Uganda). I hoped that no snakes had taken refuge in my room as it was casually mentioned to me the night before that they were fitting snake guards tomorrow (eek)… and I should check my bed for snakes every night. I was rather alarmed and hoped that I hadn’t shared my bed with a snake the night before!

I have spent the morning observing lessons and helping in the Training Academy. In many ways there is no comparison with Ipswich School but it’s hard not to compare the two. We met some wonderful teachers and exceptional pupils – all of whom were working so hard. All teaching here is done in English, which for all pupils is their second language. Therefore for many, getting to grips with the rudiments of the complex English language is foremost. The classrooms are large and airy and the teachers have displayed topic work and key vocabulary for the children. This school is relatively well equipped with large blackboards in each classroom and textbooks and exercise books.

However, it made me realise just how lucky we are with resources and the world of information literally at our fingertips via the internet and computers. The children all board at this school and are extremely well looked after by their ‘Aunties’ and ‘Uncles’ – which is what they call all of their teachers. This week, therefore, I have been Auntie Bev to 150 Ugandan children. In particular we got to know 20 of the youngest pupils very well as we were living in their house… the new training academy building. These children are training to be choir 47 and will touring the USA in just a few weeks. We sat in on some rehearsals and they were amazing!

Later this week I am off to Kampala where we will be visiting some of the Music For Life schools held in the slums there… a very different experience I am sure.

You can see pictures from the trip here.

Beverley Steensma - Preparatory School Director of Music

About the Author

Beverley Steensma – Preparatory School Director of Music

Beverley has been post of Director of Music at Ipswich Preparatory School since September 2006. She is currently fundraising for an exciting visit from the African Children’s Choir in May 2017. Follow her journey via this blog and on Twitter @accvisitipswich

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