Friday, March 18, 2011

Red Nose Day

Red Nose Day
Do Something Funny for Money

According to the event's official website, "It's a day like no other when the whole country (The UK) gets together to do something funny for money and change countless lives in the process." Working at a English Curriculum School with an English Head of School with several other British teachers who are familiar with this special day that takes place every two years, we had to make it happen here in Kampala, Uganda. I was very unfamiliar with Red Nose Day. I'd heard of Comic Relief in the past, but I did not know it was such a big, organised event. Apparently in the UK, it is huge.

I love the idea of uniting a whole country in a effort to make each other laugh in order to raise money for charity. It's just a lot of people helping each other out to help other people out.

Being that my school is not in the UK, we did not do anything officially affiliated with anything there. Besides, if we were going to do anything in Uganda to raise funds for charity, we wanted all the money to stay in Uganda. We selected an organisation in Uganda that our art teacher has supported for a number of years, L'Arche Community, which is a community for people with disabilities. Assisting to organise Red Nose Day at school allowed me to become more familiar with L'Arche and get to know it for more than the really great candles they make and sell to raise funds. There is a fantastic documentary about L'Arche called Kampala's Ark on YouTube. It's over 16 minutes (an eternity to load in Uganda), but it's very worth a viewing.

Superficial, I can be. It comes very easily to me. I admit that I'm not as active in any community as I used to be. Yes, I'm on the expressway to becoming a bitter, pessimistic, cynical old man. I used spend a lot of time learning about issues challenging society, and I volunteered enormous amounts of time to many different causes. Oh, I still help organise occasional events to support one cause or another; I freely lend my expertise when invited, but it stops there. Sometimes I feel quite selfish. I hate apathy, and I am becoming a bit concerned that, if I'm not careful, I could turn into the type of person I loathe.

The energy of today was like magic. The kids took advantage of not having to wear their uniforms to school today, and they dressed in hilarious manners: wigs, face paints, oversized and inside-out clothes abounded, as did underpants being worn over pants--even on top of heads. No, we did not have the official Red Noses, and no, knock-off red round noses were not found in KLA, so we opted to paint red noses on all the children, teachers and other school staff.

Even if my red nose looked more like a "bloody nose" or "like someone attempted to bite [my] nose off and failed", even if "... the kids towards the end of the day, after sweating. A lot of the paint had rubbed off by that point and the colours mixed; red and black, it looked like they'd all had bloody noses, and the blood hadn't been washed off and had dried on their faces," days like today inspire in me an ambition to learn more about my present community and find ways to make a difference.

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