We have visited many more vocational colleges, some impressive, some less so, all baffling in parts. Off the cuff speaking is very necessary, within minutes of arrival in one college (not this one in the photo) we had been walked into a huge, hot and dark hall, crammed with students, the staff sat in a semi-circle on a low stage, we sat in the centre. The Principal made all assembled vote on how long the meeting should run, they settled on three hours. He then turned to me and said: “Mr Mark will now talk to you”. As I walked to the front of the stage I had no idea about what would come out of my mouth when I opened it. But, we survived somehow, and even had to vote on extra time because we had overrun.
This is day one, lesson one of a bricklaying class carrying out their first task; stack 50 bricks. The bricks are all made by hand in huge mounds you see cooking everywhere. In many colleges the students are actually building their own classrooms or dormitories as part of their training.
In some, because they have no money, the students pay their fees in things like 100kg bags of beans; better than a student loan I thought.
I was in a college the other day that taught motor mechanics to classes of 50, but with only two spanners. Students said they stood in rows and were given 10 minutes each with the tools.
We came across this extraordinary building on the outskirts of Gulu whilst visiting another vocational school. It is next to Caritas which had so much to do with counselling returned abductees (amongst others) during the troubles.