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Uganda part 3: A day in the life

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By Michael O’Kaneretired primary teacher and Education Officer for HUG

and Liz Humphreysformer occupational therapist and founder of Help for Children in Uganda

In the last of our geography resources, we experience a typical day for two Ugandan school children

This is the third article in our series about children of the Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria, Uganda. So far we have looked at where the islands are and what they are like, and the role of HUG House. We moved on to see how two of the schools are run, comparing similarities and differences. Now, in the final article, we look at two children and what a typical day is like for them.

A day in the life of Caro

My name is Caroline Nakimbugwe and I am eight years old. I live at HUG House and I am in class P2 at Bridge of Hope School. I get up at 6am, when it’s still dark. By the time I go outside to wash my face in cold water it’s starting to get light, so I sweep the compound with a brush made of grass stems. We then have a small breakfast of bread and tea. I leave for school at 6.40 to be there by 7am. If we are late we are in trouble.

Caro carrying a jerry can

Caro fills up her jerry can with water

We start with an assembly where we sing a song, and the headmaster tells us things like ‘Don’t talk to strangers’ and ‘Cut your hair and fingernails short’. Our class teacher is called Teacher Richard. There are 15 children in our class. Our lessons begin with two classes before break – social studies and Luganda (that’s our local language). Then we have porridge (a drink made with maize meal). I play with my best friend, Joyce Namiyunga until the bell goes for our next lesson, which is English. At school we are only allowed to talk in English, and all our lessons are in English.

For lunch we have posho (a thick paste of maize meal cooked with water) and beans. Sometimes we have cassava, a root crop. This is a bit like your tapioca. We are not allowed to play in our lunch hour; we have to read our books. After lunch we have two more lessons – science and maths.

We finish lessons at 3pm and have to clean the compound and the classrooms, fetch water and firewood, and wash the plates. Then we are allowed to play until 5pm, when we go home. It takes about 20 minutes to walk home. I get home at about 5.30 and do my homework. If there are any jobs to do, I do them and we have supper at around 7.30. I then bathe in a bowl outside the house in the dark. Sometimes we have no water supply so we can only bathe in a small amount of water. I go to bed at 9pm very tired. Sometimes I share a bed with Viola, who also lives at HUG House.

In the holidays we have a week off and then we are supposed to go back for holiday studies, which means lessons until 1pm. But I’m tired after so much school, and luckily Aunty Liz doesn’t think I should go in the holidays as I’m too young.

A day in the life of Joseph

My name is Joseph Kato and I am nine years old. ‘Kato’ means younger twin, but my twin died when we were babies. I am in class P3 at Bubeke School. I live with my mother, three brothers and sister in a mud and thatch house; when it rains water comes in through the roof.

I get up at 6am and wash my face in water that we have carried from the small stream near our house. Then I sweep the compound and wash the plates from yesterday’s supper. I change into my school uniform and walk three miles up a steep hill to get to school by 7.30. I am often late because I’m hungry and it makes me too tired to walk. I don’t have breakfast before school because we are poor. This is why HUG and Aunty Liz help us go to school.

We have assembly first, when the headmistress talks to us. Then we go to our classes. Our class teacher is called Mr Matovu. Our first lesson is English; after this we do Luganda and social studies before break. Some children get porridge, but my mother can’t afford to pay for it. Sometimes I play football with my best friend Baseka. We have two more lessons before lunch – writing and science.

At lunch I have porridge, which is the first food I have had all day. We play in the grounds during lunch, and afterwards we have art and reading. Sometimes the teachers are not around, so we play football instead of having lessons.

We have to share textbooks and occasionally there are no textbooks at all. We copy things from the blackboard into our exercise books. We have to buy our own exercise books, pens and pencils. When it rains, the rain comes into the classroom and we have to manage as best we can. Once, in a storm, the roof blew off the classroom. Luckily no one was hurt.

We finish at 4pm and then we have to clean the compound, collect firewood and water, feed the school chickens, and dig the school vegetable patch. We go home at 5pm; I get home at 6pm. We don’t often have homework, but I have to fetch water and firewood and tie the goat up safely. By 7pm it is nearly dark, so to save our candles we go to bed straight after supper at 8pm. I am ready for bed by then anyway because it has been a long day.


  1. Mike Fortsuforgen
    on 8 December 2012

    Thank You

    This will help me with my project.

  2. luke stone
    on 27 November 2010


    this is really great and helpful

    1out of 5