Nyarugunda Secondary School

Update posted by Dean Burgis On Sep 30, 2013

I don't consider myself a natural runner. My normal routine is an alarm buzzing and pulling me from my dream. Part of my brain desperately tries to hold on to sleep while the other half urges me to turn off the annoying noise before it wakes my wife. Moving in slow motion, arms leaden, brain muddled, I fumble with the supposedly "intuitive" touch screen of my phone (while cursing Steve Jobs for not coming up with a device better designed to be used when your still half awake).


Then comes the conversation with myself. I think of all the reasons why I shouldn't get up. I am pretty sure I am coming down with a little cold; I should get my rest. After all what kind of husband would I be if I got my wife sick? If I am sick I can't do all the things I have to do.


Excuses failing, my feet hit the floor. I sit on the edge of the bed, searching internally for... drive? Desire? Will power? Inspiration? As quietly as possible in a dark room with a half asleep body I put on the appropriate attire and tie up my shoes.


Then comes the first obstacle course, a kettle and jar of coffee, smells of breakfast, a chair and book begging me to just take a second to sit and read. I know that if I stop I will never make it- I won't run today. I make it to the door, I click on the timer and off I go. I know the adverts say running is freeing, liberating but for me it is hard.


Having said that all of the above is completely cancelled out if it is raining. If it is raining the alarm is switched off, the cover goes back on, the coffee is made and the shoes remain untied. Today was a rainy run.


Unlike normally when the rain stops me before i start this time it began to rain when I was halfway through my run. I was making good time and was over half way through when I felt the first few drops. Immediately I began thinking of the quickest short cut home, I planned a route, I looked for shelter and managed to convince myself that calling it quits was the best course of action.


Then a thought popped into my head. A memory of a little boy I had seen once. It was while we were teaching in Uganda. The heavens had opened and it was pouring down. As the roof of the school was made of tin it was impossible to be heard so lessons were put on hold. We sat in a spare room and waited. As we sat we looked across to the primary school and noticed all the children running back and forth across the field. They would run away empty handed and return with stick and twigs. They were collecting firewood so they could cook the rice and beans the school provided for their lunch. Even in the pouring rain the job had to be done and so off they went.


For a while we watched this exercise when all of a sudden we spotted him. At first we didn't take notice but then his bright smile and strange movements caught our attention. In the midst of this work, in the centre of the field and in the pouring rain one boy had decided to stop and dance. We don't know what prompted it and had to look at each other to make sure we weren't seeing things but there he was waving arms, clapping and generally getting his groove on in the midst of a storm. We stopped and smiled, then laughed before finally thinking to film him.

Boy dancing in the rain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D255mlfeeyU&feature=youtu.be


I love this memory and as I thought about it I managed to wrestle my mind round to thinking that if this boy could dance in the rain with such joy and enthusiasm then maybe I could manage to keep running. So I did. In fact I ran faster on the second half of the run than I did in the first and the time flew as I thought about this picture. This boy became my inspiration to keep going.


As I ran I thought about what a perfect picture this boy was of life in Uganda. Life there is hard, it is harsh, it is painful and it is like living in a constant storm. However there are also glimmers of light, moments of hope and times when joy breaks through. At the moment you can find lots of places selling plaques that say "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass but about learning to dance in the rain." In Uganda I saw this taken to heart. While there we found that no-one knows if they have tomorrow, everyone is unsure where food will come from or where they will find the resources they need. Yet despite this they have learnt to dance in the rain. They have learnt to be grateful and enjoy what they have in a way that we with our comforts find hard. They celebrate life, they make the most of every day, cherish everything they have and love everyone they know. Strangely it seems that all the pain they experience makes these brief moments of light all the more beautiful.


In a weeks time I am running a marathon to raise money for the school that I spent time in. We can't make the storm pass in Uganda but we can hopefully give a few more children a reason to dance in the rain. Although we have our own storms to face it is a great privilege to be able to help someone else to learn to dance in theirs. 


I hope it doesn't rain this weekend, but if it does the image of this boy and his ability to dance in the rain will be my inspiration to carry on running in the rain, if only to bring a bit more light to one more person.


If you would like to help make a difference than any amount given will be greatly appreciated and you can do so here:


Thank you for your support, you have no idea what a difference it will make.

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Update posted by Dean Burgis On Sep 08, 2013

We were driving back from a long teaching session at Nyarugunda school. As we drove we passed groups of children who were making their way home while chewing freshly cut sugar cane. They were caked in red dust, didn't have shoes and yet all wore the biggest grins on their faces.



Our host, Kenneth, pulled over and asked the kids if they wanted a lift home. They got in and proceeded to giggle all the way home because of the strange Mazungus (white skins) sat beside them. When they got out 20 minutes later Kenneth explained that the chance to travel in any vehicle was a luxury for the children and it was his delight for him to bless them in this little way. He went on to explain that before Nyarugunda school had been built the children would walk 20+ miles to get to the next school. This is the equivalent of a marathon a day and once they got back there is no sports massage or even a bath but instead they would help clean, cook, care for sick relatives and then sleep ready for the 5 o'clock rise to work before going to school again (That's just for those fortunate to be able to afford schooling).


Another time Kenneth explained that before the new school was built two girls who had been making this journey had been attacked as they walked and were raped. Children stopped making the journey and families faced a future with little chance of bettering themselves. It was as a result of this that Nyarugunda school was built to give a safe, local and affordable place for children to be educated. Nyarugunda began with one class  two years ago and now has two classes filled to the brim with children from the area. This little school has brought hope to the towns nearby just by being a place where children can learn, play and grow so that one day they can get jobs and support their families. There are still children who are unable to go to school so Kenneth and his team are hoping to grow the school so that more children are free to get an education and a chance to change their lives. It is a simple hope but one that is having a huge impact on the people around Nyarugunda.


So why am i running a marathon? That 20 mile journey was a daily marathon that each kid willingly walked because it held out the hope of an education and the chance to change the lives of their family and community. The journey is now much shorter but still involves crossing collapsed bridges and dangerous roads. There is also the problem that there are some kids who would make the journey but cannot afford to pay the fees once they get there and in some cases they can't leave home becuase they are the only carer for their sick parents and siblings.


One of the broken bridges children (and 80 year olds) had to cross to get around.


I have chosen to run a marathon because I figured that if these kids are willing to walk 20+ miles a day for the chance of an education then maybe I could run 26.2 miles just once to give a few more children that same chance. I'm certainly not a hero, and in the grand scheme of things this won't change the world but if I can change the future of a few people then I will consider this a success. I am the first to avoid guilt trips in trying to make people give, but if you think the cause is worth it and you feel you can support me in this simple plan then I would be grateful to have your support.

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Backed with £75.00 On Oct 06, 2013


Well Done Dean, I hope this helps you towards your 1000 goal, and for such a great cause!

Unique Fire & Security Ltd

Backed with £50.00 On Oct 06, 2013


Well done Deano for completing the Bournemouth Marothon today in just over 4 hours super proud of you xx

Ali, Luke & Licia

Backed with £20.00 On Oct 06, 2013



Backed with £20.00 On Oct 06, 2013


Strouden Park Chapel Members

Backed with £110.00 On Oct 06, 2013


Well done Dean so proud of you!!! What an achievement! Xxx

Becka & Simon

Backed with £20.00 On Oct 06, 2013


thinking of you today dean! great project to help to support. best wishes from the Downie family xx

tris and Rach Downie

Backed On Oct 06, 2013 Amount Hidden


Come on deano! very proud of you!!!

Gooners 2 win the league

Backed with £50.00 On Oct 06, 2013


Dave & Ruth

Backed with £50.00 On Oct 05, 2013



Backed with £15.00 On Oct 04, 2013

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Dean Burgis

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Rebecca Meddings

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