Text: Daniel Todd, ISUs Junior School Principal
The International School of Uganda (ISU) is a not-for-profit, parent owned school, offering the International Baccalaureate programmes for students 3 to 19 years old. As the International Baccalaureate (IB) celebrates its 50th year it is an opportunity to reflect on why parents choose the IB. I have worked with the IB for 13 years, as a teacher, coordinator, college counselor, principal and parent. To answer the question of why choose the IB, I could speak about the rigor and holistic nature of the programmes, or the fact that IB students can be accelerated to the second year of university, or that they arrive at university better trained in academic research, writing and study. However, the reason to choose the IB is more than the academic success its students are known for.
To understand why you should choose the IB, it would be helpful to start with the end in mind. What is our hope for our children at the end of the educational journey? To get the highest grades possible? To get into the best universities? To get a great job? Herein lies the difference between the IB and other curricula. The IB explicitly focuses on learning for life, not just success in the next hurdle. Its aim is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world. In fact, there isnt an end to the educational journey. Its purpose is about who our children will become, not just what they can do or understand.
I was once asked by a prospective family why they should choose the IB over an alternative curriculum offered here in Kampala. I explained that the alternative curriculum would very likely enable their child to succeed in getting entry to a good university. But the IB is not only about preparing for the next step, its about preparing for life. Our students illustrate this to us every day. Yesterday a nine-year-old girl asked myself and my colleague if they could play after eating their lunch. My colleague responded, Yes, its fine even though it is not yet time. The child turned, looked at her own watch, and replied Its ok, we still have five more minutes to eat, Ill wait. This action illustrated one of those ten IB goals of being principled. Even though her teachers said it was fine, she felt she should honour the lunch agreement.
Children in the IB programmes are expected to live out their learning. They are given freedom and encouragement to make choices for the betterment of their society. Not because they have to, but because they want to. The curriculum, the classroom and the school day is driven by the childrens ideas, needs and interests. Education is not something that moulds the child, it is something that they can mould. Their ideas and thoughts are regarded with high respect and consideration, empowering them to own their learning, make decisions and take responsibility for their actions.
Education has often been tasked with the challenge of creating law abiding, disciplined citizens who are trained for the workplace. However, these traditional structures can often just create compliance. And that compliance creates individuals who are not trained to question, to take risks or consider what if?. They are not encouraged to think creatively to solve todays complex problems, nor are they encouraged to take risks to challenge the status quo or take action to speak up for injustices in society or the abuse of the environment.
If you want your child to succeed in education, choose a school that demonstrates successful admission to great universities. If you want your child to succeed in life, choose the IB.
For more information about IB at ISU, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.isu.ac.ug. ISU offers financial assistance for self-paying families. Visitors are welcome to the campus.
Text: Jerome AtugonzaIzumi (a Japanese word which means natural spring) Restaurant & Lounge symbolizes freshness, and opened for business a month ago. It boasts exquisite cuisines of Pan-Asian specialities like Thai, Japanese, Dim sums and Sushi bar entres. Sarika Kapur and Mira Masrani, the proprietors have been in the restaurant business for two decades, operating restaurants like Khana Khazana and Khazana The Verandah. I wandered in on a cloudy Friday; and I was greeted by the security man and the friendly waiting staff, dressed in black. The incredible aroma of savory dishes being cooked welcomes you. As you enter, you immediately notice a lavish setting, a captivating marriage of beautifully cut antique black stones with luxuries of modernity, the lounge with dark gray sofa sets and a glass table plus chairs with gold legs. The fully-stocked bar has variety of whiskeys, drinks, and champagne. The dim brown lights give a romantic impression of comfort as soft fast music is played. The setting is that of Japanese and Thai restaurants, for you cant fail to notice Japanese symbols and themes. The place is cozy with a handful of tables, dark plates, and a set of silver cutlery. The windows are wide allowing natural light to blend in with the recessed bright lights hidden inside the ceiling. The pendant lights over the bar have golden-like delicate necklaces wrapped around the bulbs that emit a mixture of brown and gold light. I watched Mrs. Kapur interacting with the customers. Her warmth together with the openness of the staff created a family feel. The quality of the food matches the positive atmosphere. I ordered a cocktail called, NO IDEA. The maroon iced liquid left a cool, sweet tingling sensation on my tongue. The menu offers a wide range of mouthwatering meals. I ordered Thai lime beef skewers, Thai chicken with cashew nuts and steamed rice, served with fresh vegetables with a sweet sauce. In a few minutes, my meal was ready. The sweet sauce served hot in a dark casserole, was a caramelized dark brown color coated with a little oil that made it glitter and look colorful and appealing to the eyes. The cabbage, fried onions, and tomatoes were fresh and cooked perfectly, the chicken was incredibly tender with a brown smooth succulent rich texture. The cashew nuts had a crispy golden look with a little smear of oil paired with a spicy flavorful scent. The beef was well-seared to help it retain its juice and tenderness. I wasnt disanointed. For health-conscious customers, you can order oriental salads and soups. They also have a good selection of home-baked desserts such as Coconut and Chocolate cakes, Mousse, Lemongrass Crme Brule and many more. The prices are extremely reasonable. I highly recommend going to Izumi Restaurant & Lounge. 38 Upper Kololo Terrace in Kampala. Tel: 0782 503655 / 0795308582 Cuisine: Pan Asian Hours 12:00pm to 3:00pm 6:00pm to 11:00pm
Text and Photos: Laura Wando
Many expats in Kampala who become pregnant find themselves facing some big decisions: what are the best hospitals? Is it safe to deliver here? Should I go home to deliver? What are my birthing options? What if my baby or I have a medical emergency?
Birth Preparation, Support Groups and Labor Support
Kampala has a fair range of childbirth education, antenatal care and delivery options for expectant mothers. Some hospitals offer antenatal classes to help prepare you or you can access private childbirth preparation classes or support groups. The Positive Birth Movement- Kampala is a support group that meets monthly, bringing together both experienced and new moms to discuss a different birth or postpartum-related topic each month in a non-judgemental atmosphere.
You can also hire a birth doula to help you navigate the prospect of birthing in an unfamiliar health system. Doulas provide emotional, physical, relational support to birthing families and facilitate communication between you and your provider. Support from doulas has been shown to reduce the rate of medical interventions and lead to more positive feelings about your birth experience.
Some of the larger private hospitals in Kampala, staffed by OB/GYNs and Midwives, that are recommended by fellow moms include Nakasero Hospital, International Hospital Kampala (IHK) in Muyenga, Paragon Hospital in Bugolobi, Women's Hospital and Fertility Center in Bukoto, Kibuli Muslim Hospital in Makindye, Kampala Hospital in Kololo, and TMR International Hospital in Naalya.
Most private hospitals offer a choice of private or shared labor and post-partum rooms. It isn’t as common to find a hospital that has an “all in one” labor, delivery and postpartum suite. You may have to labor in one room, deliver in another, and recover in yet another room! Some of the hospitals have private baths where you can use water (shower, tub) for pain relief, but none of the hospitals offer water birth.Access to gas and air (entonox) or other short-term narcotic pain relief is limited and not routinely administered. Some hospitals offer epidural pain relief if arranged in advance with an anesthesiologist. Emergency C-sections can be performed if needed. Neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) are available at the larger hospitals -- Nakasero, IHK and St. Thomas Nsambya are just a few that have the ability to care for very premature infants.
If you,d rather give birth in the comfort of your own home, a private registered midwife, Diane Lockhart, offers antenatal care, lactation support, and home birth services (including access to a birthing pool!) to low-risk women in Kampala.This gives you the opportunity to experience physiological birth. Transfer to a hospital is arranged in case of any complications.
Experiences of moms who stayed
Moms who stay in Kampala to give birth do so formany reasons: in order to remain with their spouse and older children, for work reasons, or for financial, or health insurance reasons. Some feel more comfortable birthing here, and want their child to be born here, or want to birth at comfort of their own home. Staying here requires trust and confidence in your chosen care provider or hospital and a having a great relationship and communication with the provider is key.
Some moms share their experiences
Lynne, delivered at home in Kampala:
So when I first got pregnant the whole thought of finding a hospital here was overwhelming because I don't like hospitals. Once I found out about Diane Lockhart (homebirth midwife) and met with her, Diane encouraged me that a home birth was more doable for me.
I recommend home birth if cleared by a doctor and if you have no complications; don't be scared of this idea in Kampala.
I'd advise new moms not to be scared out of the idea of home birth, if that is what you want. I felt really confident that if any complications were to arise that my midwife would catch them early enough to get me to a well-established hospital.”
Arianna delivered at Nakasero Hospital:
I stayed because health care here seemed good enough and traveling back, buying plane tickets and giving birth in US without insurance is costly.
My friends here had good experiences, and I felt confident that I'd be well taken care of here.
Generally I was happy with staying here but would urge communication with the provider and finding a provider that is both a good listener and open minded. Nakasero Hospital wait times are quite long to see the OB and get lab tests done could take all day.”
Stephanie delivered at IHK with an epidural:
I had the best delivery and no pain for my 1st baby (in the US), so I felt brave enough to give birth here. I know a lot of muzungus have babies here all the time and it seems like the majority stay here.
I decided to have my 2nd child at IHK, with Dr. Alex the Russian doctor. I had a great relationship with the doctors and midwives there and really got to know them. My insurance also covered my birth there and we were already going there for primary care.
I wanted an epidural because of my pain intolerance but I was skeptical at first. I had a great experience, in spite of the epidural headache. They were very set up to monitor me and they were amazing and told me all about the procedure. It helped that the anesthesiologist is the brother to one of the teachers at my school.
I had a wonderful midwife. My husband stayed with me and I had a private room and he was able to take a nap in the room and then staff went and got him when it was time to push. They even asked if my husband wanted to cut the cord.
When giving birth in Kampala, you just have to know what to expect and have a good attitude, and ask questions. It's definitely about the relationship you have with the medical people. At IHK, you can request to have a specific midwife to attend your birth and pay extra to stay with you for 24 hours. There is always a doctor on duty and they call your doctor when it is time to deliver.
The decision is yours
Staying in Kampala to give birth will be based on your own personal intuition, comfort and situation. Your birthing options may be more limited and you may have to take extra care to prepare for birth, and make more effort to develop a close and open provider-client relationship and advocate for the birth you want; things that you may take for granted at home. Although birth outcomes are sometimes out of our control, birthing in Kampala can often be a very positive experience!