Kiguli, Robinswood Middle School in poetry collabo


What you need to know:

  • Title: The Roots of Instability in Uganda
  • Author: Samwiri Rubaraza Karugire
  • Pages: 121
  • Price: Shs7,000 
  • Where: Aristoc Booklex.

A few years ago, a rural Ugandan primary school and an urban American middle school broke bread through a series of letters under a pen pal project. 

Then, as their epistolary conversations were in leaf, the two schools decided to write a poetry anthology entitled, “The Songs of Kiguli International Edition.” 

The two schools, Kiguli Army Primary School of Nakasongola District, and Robinswood Middle School of Orlando, US, set their precision passions on the head of a pin and their words burst the bubbles of those who doubted such a collaboration was even possible. 

This anthology was originated by the Kiguli Army Primary Poetry Project.
Teachers of Robinswood Middle School, Cindy Camp and Katherine Rascoe, reached out to Kiguli Army Primary School, which is a school for the wards and orphans of Ugandan soldiers, in order to turn the authorial dreams of the pupils of both schools into reality.  In the process, the marked cultural diversities of Uganda and US were incarnated and projected in primary colours. 

The Ugandan poets favoured a more post-modernist free verse style with clear elements of form while the American poets wrote their verse in Haikus, found poems and free verse. 

Haikus are a Japanese form of poetry written in seventeen syllables using three lines consisting of five, seven, and five-word length. And found poems are the literary equivalent of a collage, they’re made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems.  These different poet approaches were inaugurated with the first poem being written by Jesca Mahoro of Kiguli Army Primary School:
Mother of my mother

You were always there for her. 
Whenever she fell down,
You would lift her up
And wipe her tears. 
Whatever you did to her 
She did to me.
So of proud of you mother of my mother.”
This was the second stanza in a three-stanza poem. Then, Shakeria Bright of Robinswood, changes tack with a less than heartwarming haiku entitled Revenge:
“Revenge, disgusted
Getting back at my sister 
Mubbala Elivis of Kiguli picked up on this rich vein of resentment and thereby attracted the usual suspects: 
“Mosquitoes! Mosquitoes! Mosquitoes!
You have sharp tubes that suck our blood.
You have thin legs and small wings which 
Prevent us from hearing you. 
You carry malaria”. 
Aniyah Hall of Robinswood wielded the poetic baton with a haiku about the deleterious effects of Drugs:
Drain your brain Dull.
Ruin your life forever
Unkind like a storm.
Strong as steel.”
The poems are evocative using imagery “strong as steel” and enjambment “small wings which…” to eloquently express what the poets are saying. Enjambment is the continuation of a sentence without a pause beyond the end of a line, couplet, or stanza.
Enjambment assists in the smooth transition from one line to the next while similes such as “unkind like a storm” paint a vivid picture in the reader’s mind. 
In Uganda, we enjoy a two-season weather pattern, namely the dry and rainy seasons. Whereas in America, there are four seasons: Winter, Autumn, Spring and Summer. 
The sun gives us Vitamin D.
It also gives us warmth.
Thank you, God, for the sun,” writes Remmy Mukisa of Kiguli. 
Kaguta Amon, of the same school, writes: 
“Lightening! Lightening!
Who are you? 
Why don’t you leave us in peace?
You are dangerous. 
You have a friend called thunder.”
Julien Montilus and Kadeem Simmonds of Robinswood write about Autumn and Spring respectively. 
“Another word for autumn is fall
The trees are colourful and tall
The trees are kinda going bald 
This season has people bouncin’ off the wall,” writes Montilus.
And Simmonds says, “Here is a season
To commit no treason.
There are many reasons 
To not be freezin’. 
  The children of both schools ranged from the ages of 11 to 13, all of them writing with an aplomb beyond their years.