Well, this morning, I, Ian Wrangham, arrived in Uganda. Every time I return to this beautiful country I am reminded why my time here was the most cherished from my childhood. As we organize the computers to be shipped down to Kasiisi Primary School from Kampala, Uganda's capital, the clock ticks down to the time when we will be leaving Kigali, Rwanda for a 10 day training session in the mountainous terrain, inhabited by Western Lowland Gorillas. Oh I am excited to see a new country, especially one as beautiful and historical as Rwanda, but how bittersweet that upon my arrival, I will be leaving before seeing my forest home. However, the two weeks will go by quickly, and soon I will be in the heart of the jungle, surrounded by the plants and animals that I have adored whilst growing up; the antelope and the monkeys; the chimpanzees and baboons; the elephants, the crocodiles, the lions, and the hippos; and lest we not forget, the birds! OH THE BEAUTIFUL BIRDS!!! And soon, I will be surrounded by Ugandans that are so dear to my heart that I call them family. From those at Kasiisi, to those at the Field Site where my father works, I will find love among these people.
As a child living in Uganda, I was less than 10 Km from Kasiisi Primary School, and traveling back and forth between Uganda and the United States was more than enough to embolden the stark contrasts that lie within these schools. While Ugandans may be among the happiest people in the world, education, one of the greatest of all gifts, is an underdeveloped, and underfunded commodity especially when compared to the likes of a wealthy Boston suburb. So do I feel a sense of responsibility to the children, and the schools? Responsibility is perhaps the wrong word. I would like to help in whatever way I can. Perhaps it is foolhardy and arrogant to imagine that such a project will change lives, or enhance educational experiences, but if it helps that is great, and otherwise, I love spending time at the schools with the teachers and the students, and I think they enjoy my company as well.