Today, all the primary one students…. all 61 of those little ones 6 years of age came to my home as part of their lesson on refrigeration. I have the only functioning fridge in all of Kibaale…. that is what the staff of the clinic told me. They thought that it was funny that there were a few fridges in Kibaale but the only functioning fridge was in my home.

The young girls were all wearing their school uniform of a blue gingham dress with dark blue collar and waistband…. the boys had on dark blue shorts and a blue gingham shirt. As my home is small we brought in a three groups of 20 students each. The student entered my home in a very orderly fashion and stood in a semi-circle to listen carefully to the teaching explaining the function on my fridge in Lugandan.The girls were all listening carefully while most of the boys were looking in every other direction but toward the fridge.

With the first group, I was outside counting off students and the teacher was inside giving guidance and directions to the students….. they made a perfect semi-circle around my stove and not around the fridge….. I did not have the heart to correct the teacher …. so let them know that I have two things in my house which would be new to them…. a cooker/stove and a fridge (pointing to the stove first and then the fridge) so we had to explain what a cooker or stove was…. I even light one of the burners to show them how it worked. Of course, some of students wanted to know if it would burn them like the fire at their house. A few of them had to put their hand right next to the flame and before I had a change to explain….the two students jumped back and made an exclamation of pain. Everyone erupted in laughter.

The teacher tried to explain the function of the fridge…. “it is to keep food good for more than one or two days”… so to prove this a kilo of meat, a litre of fresh milk and a small fresh catch fish were put in my fridge. On Friday morning, A few of the students and a teacher will come back to collect their various items…. and see if the meat is still fresh, the milk is O.K. to drink and the fish can still be cooked and eaten. Yesterday, Tuesday, I wrote my first draft and last night my fridge ran out of fuel and I spent most of this Wednesday morning getting the propane tank changed and the fire lite at the back of the fridge. Up until today, I have always left this responsibility to other but with all the problems finding staff to change the tank and light the fridge…. I have now learned and can instruct anyone how to do it.

The students looked very closely into what I had in my fridge…. they saw that I had eggs…. in fact I had two boiled eggs which I took out and let the students touch; to show them how cold the fridge not the freezer can get. It was like the old fashion game “passing the hot potato” … the egg got passed quickly between the various students and of course it was dropped numerous times with each group. They said it was “hot” … but then they do not really know the difference between hot and cold… other than they both can cause some discomfort or pain.

One little girl asked if I got shocks from the wiring to my fridge…. the teacher had to explain that my fridge work with fuel and not with electricity. Another little boy asked where I kept my milk…. of course, I do not drink fresh milk but use powder milk. The teacher translated as I talked about the use of powdered milk and I even had to show them the box. Another little girl asked if I eat makote and did I kept it in the fridge……..there was a discussion and translation on what I ate and this was demonstrated by what was in my fridge…….. eggs, tomatoes, carrots, green peppers and onions with bread in the freezer.

As each group left, they each thanked me….. but I was not sure what for… was it that they got to see a fridge, to see how a stove or cooker worked, or that they were allowed to enter the “white lady’s” home and see what it looked like or that they got to ask me a few questions.

After the students had departed, the teachers asked a few questions…… one thought that a fridge kept food indefinitely and that the coolness or cold killed all the bacteria, another wanted to know why I needed a fridge, and still another thought that it could work and keep food cold but did not understand how the fuel made the fridge work.

It was an exciting and quick hour…. I am not sure who learned the most… Me, the students or the teachers.