Monday, 25 March 2013

Ugandan Kids Write the Darndest Things

The other day, I gave the 99 kids in my Senior 1 class—which equates more or less to our 7th grade, but features kids anywhere from 11 to 16 years old, with one claiming to be nearly my age—a 20-minute in-class assignment. Prompt: Write about someone you admire.

I will probably give them a similar assignment every single day, because I have never understood so much about everything as I did when I was grading the essays. My students recounted moving stories about pop stars risen from poverty, doctors who had saved them, parents that sacrificed everything, and love doomed to be forever unrequited.

They also penned some completely preposterous and hilariously quotable lines Here, for your enjoyment, are excerpts from the top 22.

All quotes are [sic], and all students' names have been changed.

22) “I also admire Michael Jackson because he is a South African, and South Africans are good at singing.”

Have you considered the possibility that Michael Jackson is an atypical South African?

21) “I admire Kendrick Lamar because some people call him the black Shakspear.”

I sort of want to enclose a Tupac album when I give this guy back his notebook...

20) “She said she comes from America. 'And that is very cool of you,' I said.”

I guess that makes me cool, too!

19) “[the girl I have a crush on is] tall and beautiful, but she has a hairly body like a monkey.”

Come again?

18) I admire Oprah Williams.”


“Oprah Williams.”

Tell me more about this Ms. Williams.

“She is a very famus and inspiring television person...”


“who makes me and other woman very proud and says that no matter who we were born as even as nothing we are something.”

I, uh...yeah, go, Oprah Williams!

17) One Bruno Mars fan explains how he was disappointed when his hero joined a group called only “Uruminant,” a move which has left no traces anywhere on the internet. 

“But I want to leave a message it goes like this. Uruminant have taken over the world but don't let them take over you.”

If they can hide from Google, my friend, they probably have taken over the world...

16) “their is one person that is doing to me something greet in the way I speak and write and that person is none other than Alex Black my English teacher.”

This greet person Alex Black has apparently completely failed to teach you English.

15) “and when he speaks English I can just say wow!”

Yeah, this is about me too.

14) “and he is cool yes!”

...and this one...

13) “a good and best America teacher in Bishop Cipriano Kihangire Secondary School.”

Yet more proof that I am miserable as an English teacher, compounded by: 

12) “he does not have lumourmonger...He does not just laugh like holigans.”

I just don't think that's a word, Darius.

I wrote a note on each of these assignments that they should look up the word “flattery” in their dictionaries. I wanted to do “brown-nosing,” but realized just in time that sending my students to look up a word whose nearest synonym is “ass-kissing,” is probably not the best application of a teacherly code of ethics.

11) A student who periodically claims that his real name is Eminem picked an unsurprising choice for his hero:“he does not rest to take a breath, oh ma God his like wow from the whisky tastes of water. Despite all of this he is cute with his aquamarine hair.”

Emmanuel, they're pretty anti-alcohol in this school, but I suppose one reference is fine, as long as you don't...

He has no interferences with other musicians though he had to finish up some shit with Maria Carrie his exgf. he had to be aggressive on her through abusing her in his songs.” 


10) “She has nice clothes and shoes and she is really cute oh my God that girl is really an angel.”

If your sister is an angel, doesn't that make you an angel as well?

9) “...but I mostly admire her because she is my mum and the most woman and figure in my life that is after God of couse.”

I had never wondered about God's figure before this post. First for everything, I suppose...

8) Speaking of mothers: “she has American height and she is portable.”

I understand every word of this sentence, and I understand nothing.

7) “I admire my country because we don't receive foreign seasons eg winter.”

You, sir, are on top of what deserves admiration.

6) A fan of both Nicki Minaj and, apparently, Spock, chimes in:

“I conclude by saying may she and her songs prosper for long.”

5) “Because she has a good finger. Like she has hips and big bams.”

I think you meant to say “figure” and “bum,” but honestly, I prefer this version.

4) An entry from Mr. Nyeko James:

“I like Nyeko because he is smart.”

Really, man?

“I like Nyeko because he has teeth like for a rat.”

Hold up.

“I like Nyeko because he is humble.”

I think I just got trolled.

3I admire Justin Bieber because he is kind hearted...”

I suppose so...

“...but a devil worshiper.”


“I also admire Nicki Minaj because she is kind hearted...”

Have we been here before?

“...but a devil worshiper.”

I think you need better role models.

2) “I admire mermaids because they have powers of making things become ice or anything.”

Wild Mermaid used Ice Beam! It's super effective!

1) “I admire him because though Obama is not an American he is rulling them.”

The birthers have reached Africa. 

The only voice that truly speaks to young Ugandans.


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